Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Worst Bad Habits

There are certain bad habits some of my violin and viola students have that drive me batty!  These are the bad habits I harp on in lessons, and these are some of the first things I try to fix.

  1. Bent left wrist- intonation will suffer if the player lets his/her left wrist bend inwards. A straight wrist will allow proper alignment with the fingerboard and proper finger placement.
  2. Bad posture- this just shows laziness, and I will not tolerate laziness from my students. Stand up straight, respect your music, and play with all your heart.
  3. An "in between" 2nd finger- either have a low 2nd finger or a high 2nd finger. When it is in between than all 2nd finger notes are wrong. At least make a decision and follow through.
  4. Bowing in an X pattern instead of a + pattern- When you place the bow on the string, you need to make sure it is placed in a + pattern with the strings. When you bow, it should run perpendicular to the strings and parallel to the bridge. If it is on an angle, the bow will go up over the fingerboard and the sound will suffer. Easy fix- bow using your elbow (open and close the elbow joint NOT the shoulder joint).
All of these bad habits can be easily fixed if the student has the desire and motivation to fix the problems. I try to only work on one goal a week for younger students because too many goals will just confuse them. As they get older they can handle two goals or more.

The best time to work on goals?  While they are practicing scales and arpeggios. They don't have to read music, so they can focus on the technique I want to fix. It also gives them something to keep their mind active during the scales.

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