When you see a violinist play, it is often awe inspiring – but the most common question people think is; how do they know where to put their fingers?
Learning to play the violin is not easy, it is something that takes time, and violinists know where to place their fingers in the same way as you know how to change gear when driving your car.
The basic finger placements you need to know are taught when you first learn to play the violin, be at school or through private tuition or even online tutorials.
Sometimes when you first learnt to play the violin, the tutor will use sticky strips or dots to mark where the fingers need to be placed.
As you start to learn and naturally move your fingers towards the right spots, you can hear if the note sounds sharp (high) or flat (low) and adjust accordingly.
With practice and patience, knowing where to put your fingers on a violin becomes second nature.
When you start to become more advanced in your violin learning, you will start to learn new positions, the most common positions are first position (for beginners) and third position, which is the natural next step in reaching higher notes.
Once it becomes easy and natural to find third position on the violin, you will start to venture into 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, if you are very advanced, you will also be using 8th position!
Don’t fear though, because by the time you reach the ability to be able to switch between first and third positions easily, as you learn more and develop your violin playing skills, these higher positions will be a natural development.
If someone is playing the violin and using 5th, 6th or 7th position, they are not worrying about where their fingers have to go, the finding of the notes is done by ear in most cases and advanced players are able to memorise these spots and practice hitting the high notes without having to worry about checking their finger placement!