Quint Exercise for Well-Formed Left Hand

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Several students this week have been assigned the Quint exercise 1 for The Well-Formed Left Hand.  This exercise is practiced with careful attention to violin posture with minimal repetitions.  The student works to execute the exercise with shoulders aligned above hips and hips aligned above feet, the instrument perched on the shoulder with the weight of the head securing the instrument and with a truly well formed left hand and arm.   The exercises consists of 16 notes played by the 3rd and 4th fingers in first position on A, E, D, and G string. To allow the student to focus on the formation of the left hand and violin posture, it may be helpful for another person / parent to bow.

The purpose of the exercise is to carefully examine how to align the instrument and the left hand so fingers can drop to note positions with ease and to strengthen the forth finger for employment in note execution.  A left hand that can operate with ease will allow for ease in fingering as well as set the stage for development of vibrato and shifting technique.

  • The student’s hips and shoulders are aligned above the feet.
  • The first finger touches the nut on the thumb side between the first and second knuckles.
  • The thumb is bent with minimal index finger side contact on the neck.
  • The student makes an effort to minimize squeeze between the thumb and the first finger joints.  The student can experiment by slightly lowering the position of the thumb beneath the fingerboard to see if this allows the other fingers to hang off the fingerboard with more ease.
  • Check to be sure the left hand elbow is weighting the fingers to the string by ensuring it can sway beneath the instrument as opposed to a locked position.
  • The curved first finger is touching the string on the inside (thumb side) corner of the fleshy base of the fingertip.
  • The curved third and then fourth finger is touching the the string on the inside (thumb side) corner of the fleshy base of the fingertip.

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