Exercises for Shifting that Create Flexibility in the Hand
Several precursors for shifting were discussed in the section on Left Hand Position, including strumming and tapping exercises in low and high positions, and "chutes" for cello and bass. As students' skills develop, you can present them with more challenging activities that encourage flexibility in the left hand and prepare them for shifting. All of these activities also prepare students for playing with vibrato.
These are the shifting principles that need to be taught from the beginning:
1) Keep finger(s) in contact with string while shifting up and down.
2) The thumb shifts with the fingers
3) Maintain finger shape and shape of hand through the shift (Violin and viola handshape will change if shifting past the neckblock, since the thumb will remain in the saddle. For cello and bass shifting past the neckblock, the thumb will come around the neck and become another finger - this is called thumb position).