What is Shifting and How to Shift on the Violin

Playing the violin requires us to move our hands from one position to another; this movement is called shifting. The idea behind shifting is two-fold: sliding our hand so smoothly you can't tell there was a shift and occasionally shifting in a way so you can hear the slides. Our goal with shifting is the ability to do both. 

Shifting is a lot more difficult than it might appear. Begin by sliding your wrist first then your hand follows, this helps guide your hand to where you want it to go. Move your thumb with your hand as you shift. 

 

Lift your finger up slightly as you slide, but don't take it completely off of the string. Practice getting your shifts completely seamless so that you can’t hear the shift. Then, go back and practice having an artistic slide, where you can hear the shift. Just remember it needs to sound beautiful and smooth.