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  • #13576 Reply

    Dianne Adkins
    Moderator

    Hi everyone! I wanted to share a few left hand fingering actions that you should watch for as beginning violinists. As someone who has taught violin for over 30 years, and taken students after they have already started, I often see some important left hand fingering issues that make progress very difficult. So here are a few rules you can check while you’re practicing to make sure you learn it the right way first! 🙂

    1) Knuckles apart, Tips together. Try it! if you’re knuckles are touching, your fingertips separate. This usually becomes an issue when you have to play a half step between first and second finger. You can never get that second finger low enough if you are smooshing knuckles together. A good practice for this is to set one, then trill low two repeatedly, making sure knuckles are free of each other and the placement is tips touching (or close enough to be in tune)

    2) Independent Fingers. Place fingers down on the fingerboard independent of one another. This usually happens when you place third finger. At that time, make sure one and two are not placing along with three. So when you play ‘three’, you place only third finger, not one, two and three, together at the same time. If you place all three fingers, they are usually cramped up and will not be in their right places.

    3) Hold Fingers Down as long as possible. Along with this idea of independently placing fingers, you must think of leaving that finger down on the string as long as it is not in the way of any other fingers playing after. An example passage would involve a sequence of notes that go: One, Two, Three, Four. You place One, leave it there as you place Two. One and Two are not in the way when you place Three. All three are not in the way, so leave them down when you place Four. This also counts if fingers are placed on neighboring strings. Leave fingers down as long as possible. If you lift up fingers as you go, that is one extra motion for each finger lifted and that sort of fingering technique will be very clumsy in advanced music.

    4) Round Pinkie at all times. I know pinkie is weak and little, but you must make up your mind that you won’t allow fourth finger to cave in while you’re playing, ever. I noticed this about my playing as a teenager and determined to be strict about preventing collapsing knuckle every time I used fourth finger. In two weeks, I didn’t have to think about this anymore.

    5) Never Smoosh Fingers. This usually happens when a finger has to play on one string, then cross over to another string and play again right after. An easy (but horrible!) solution is to place the finger on the first note, then crook the wrist or flatten the finger to play it on the next string. Nope. Pick up the three, place it again after ‘hopping’ to the next string. An alternative for some situations is to place the finger in the middle of two strings, maintaining a nice square shape to the finger. No rocking in the wrist, ideally. Certainly not in beginning pieces.

    6) Keep Fingers above the fingerboard at all times. This seems obvious, but watch the fingers when you play third finger. Does pinkie go hide under the fingerboard like a little troll under the bridge? This is bad technique so don’t allow it. I usually advise the pinkie ‘cling’ to third finger to maintain a nice round shape and assist third finger in applying the needed pressure this way instead of pulling to the degree that makes pinkie want to hide under the neck of the violin.

    Happy Practicing!
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    • This topic was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  Dianne Adkins.
    #13607 Reply

    William Bickerstaff
    Participant

    Thanks!

    #15780 Reply

    Musicloverk
    Participant

    Dianne I am wondering about what you said about the pinkie. I have very small hands and my pinkie is straight in order to reach the note in tune. Are you saying this is incorrect and if so how could I fix it?

    #15799 Reply

    Musicloverk
    Participant

    Dianne I was relieved to see when practicing this morning that my pinkie is actually not perfectly straight but has a small bend in the last joint. Maybe it just felt straight as it is a reach for me to hit the fourth finger notes in tune. I tend to listen more than looking at my fingers. I got a tuner but am finding it better to listen one only check the tuner when a note sounds off and I’m not sure, to refresh my memory of the correct intonation.

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