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  • #2527

    • Contribution Score 6

    I have a pretty small hand in general (i can barely reach a 9th on the piano, which I majored in). So naturally the fourth finger gives me grief. I suppose it’s a bad habit I’ve gotten into, but my pinky consistantly locks up if I have to play fourth for an extended period of time. I’ve watched videos and tried different exercises and differnt hand placement and I’m still struggling. Any other suggestions? It’s killing my tone quality, mention my hand.


    Michael Sanchez
    • Contribution Score 567

    Great question. It is not ideal for any sort of tension to pop up in the hand even if the case is necessary. Sounds like that might be what you are doing here. This causes restriction in the rest of your hand to play fast, do vibrato, and become fluid to play the violin in general (can actually translate to difficulty keeping the right hand relaxed as well). My suggestion would be to work on exercises where your 4th finger is not being forced to find the note, which typically requires a higher hand. I’ve had at least 3-4 students before with a short pinky and this has always been helpful. The other thing to work on is not reaching for notes, and focus on keeping your hand back while placing each note. This might seem impossible if your hand is tense, but dooable if you have no sort of muscle restriction.

    The biggest thing with 4th finger efficiency is flexibility and hand height. Forcing the reach/stretch is only going to make things worse. The other suggestion I would make (if nothing else works) is to get a smaller sized violin (3/4 size). A few of my students have done that and found that the smaller distance that is required makes a difference for them. Hope this helps!


    • Contribution Score 32

    I also have a small hand, and can barely reach a 9th on the piano. Fourth finger was hard for me at first, as it is for everyone else, but eventually I obtained strength in my pinky and am now at the point where my 4th finger vibrato is noticeably better than 1st finger!

    Perhaps it is the distance between the third and fourth finger that is really the hardest thing for you. Would playing in the key of A on the G and D strings help?

    Otherwise, switching instrument sizes is probably in your best interest. In case you’re not aware, 7/8 is a size often used by petite adults.


    • Contribution Score 205

    I have extremely small hands, can barely reach an octave (7th) on piano with fingers and thumb completely extended, no bend in fingers or thumb. Realizing now that this is probably contributing to my difficulty relaxing my left hand. I’m thinking that focusing on learning higher positions better may help, since the distance between notes is shorter. Wish I’d realized this when I was younger! I learned a bit of 3rd position then, but got overwhelmed and avoided it because I didn’t see any purpose to it except on the E string and preferred the sound of pieces focusing on the lower register of the violin spectrum. Then it seemed like a lot of work to learn new fingerings. Now, after learning some piano, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming, but I know it will take some work. Am I the only one who needs to know the reasons for changes in order to stay motivated to make them?

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