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Fourth Finger Advice
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damfino
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August 22, 2015 - 9:55 am
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ok, so my homework for the week has been playing Ode to Joy, and exercising my fourth finger. My teacher isn't expecting me to get it in one week, so I'm trying not to expect that of myself, either.

i made this crappy video snippet.. I sometimes get my pinky to the right note, and sometimes don't... Here I don't, it sounds a bit off. The one note I can't go from E to fourth finger A yet, so I just play it on the A string.

my teacher is big on keeping hands relaxed to avoid injury, so I've been trying to... I already have hand issues from an old factory job, I don't need more, lol.

So, here it is, any advice? Should I be holding my left hand different to make the pinky easier to use? Or is the hand position how it should be?

and look at that level of concentration on my face, lol. That's me willing my pinky to do its thing, and yet it failed me, lol. 

 

ps, this is what my pinky looks like when it hits the string:

violinpinkysml.jpgImage Enlarger

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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BillyG
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August 22, 2015 - 12:37 pm
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LOL  - great presentation and question.

OK - I am SO ready to be corrected by those who know more ( or can say it better ) - but although you have pretty much got the idea - the still image of the finger position looks way too flat.    What causes this ?  Well, I know this ( or related issues ) from early days - as you "move across the strings", through G, D, A, E with stopped positions - swing your left elbow towards YOUR right for the lowest ( G ) and "outwards" towards your left for the higher strings - it makes it easier to keep the actual finger curvature "rounded" ( or a square shape as some people describe it ) - rather than "fighting and stretching it way out flat to get down on the damned string" LOL - just my learners observation !

EDIT: I do believe it is often forgotten that the left arm actually has some work to do - it's not simply down to the left-hand finger positions...

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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ElisaDalViolin
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August 22, 2015 - 12:50 pm
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When you pressure your 4th finger the way it is on the picture what happens is since it's curved and tense you can't reach the note by milimetres. The 4th finger should drop naturally and flat/straight and the movement comes from its knuckle. 

http://violinfromscratch.com/u.....r_view.jpg

Don't worry, it takes some time to build some strenght and flexibility on it. Already doing it within a month of playing it's remarkble. I remember that the A 4th was a lot difficult to me to reach than the others so I started with E 4th on A string.

Try to exercitate your pinky by simply hitting the string a couple times before playing. "Attack" the string by lifting the finger and simply drop it without the motion of pressuring it down by force. The weight of the finger is enough to form sound. The lack of flexibility it's the one to blame so take it slow. Tension and force from the wrist without noticing can lead to pain. 

Hope I could help you  and let me know if it worked for you 🙂 

 

Edit: @BillyG You are right!  I almost forgot to mention it too facepalm.  When it comes to talking and playing violin, it's so much motions at the same time that there is always something that is left out XD The movement of the left arm is very important too or else you are forcing your wrist. 

 
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damfino
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August 22, 2015 - 1:07 pm
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Thanks, I'll give that a try today. My teacher wants my finger up higher over the strings, but I can't do that without moving my whole hand. She said to do what ever works for me to reach that spot.. lifting my index finger if needed, but it feels like that creates too much movement in my hand/wrist, and don't want that to make things start to hurt. I'd like to train my hand to reach that space with as little movement in my wrist as possible. Right now I feel like trying to teach my pinky to work is making me lose my original hand position for the first 3 fingers, and I'm ending up with more sharp notes. And I find my hand aches more this week than my previous weeks of playing.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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BillyG
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August 22, 2015 - 2:15 pm
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@damfino - pain / even "aches" is not a part of playing - please take care!   Initial "discomfort" of course, pain, no - do not force anything....    swing that left arm in a bit and get the fingers naturally falling on the strings, final joint almost ay 90 degrees to the string - your left arm position will/should move as you move between the different fingered strings...

Trust me, I'm a beginner as well - LOL

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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damfino
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August 22, 2015 - 4:11 pm
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Thanks, @BillyG I know I need to find a better way to reach that finger into pace. Before this week I just got the normal "I haven't used this before" feeling in my hands, but this week, it's not horrible feeling, but it's uncomfortable, to where I know if I don't correct it, I'm going to hurt myself. I decided I'm giving it a rest today, might do some knitting which loosens up my hands. I think it needs knitting therapy today, lol. 

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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Fiddlerman
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August 22, 2015 - 9:32 pm
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Great beginning Mandy,

As mentioned above, one of the things that make it easier to reach the fourth finger is bringing in the elbow. That brings all fingers closer to the strings. Just bring it in enough that you don't have pain and discomfort and don't use excess pressure.

I think you are advancing extremely well and should be proud. What exactly does that mean that your teacher wants your finger up higher over the string? Which finger and at what point?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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damfino
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August 22, 2015 - 10:01 pm
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She wants me to try to get my pinky finger curved more like the other fingers are when its on the string, I don't think curved as high as they are, but at least so that I'm playing with the tip of my finger, so that it doesn't touch any string other than the one I'm currently bowing. When she had me play the A on the D string in class,my finger was more flat and I think it was probably touching at least the A string, and while I got the note, she said my finger was wrong. She showed me how it should look, but after staring at my finger doing what it has been doing, I can't picture it anymore, but I do remember it wasn't touching the other strings anymore when she corrected it. I do know it didn't look like what I am doing, that's just my finger being crazy and stretched to the limit, lol.

(when she corrected it, she said it should be "up higher", just meaning up on the tip, more curved, so that's why I have that stuck in my head, lol)

She said if I have to, I could raise my index finger from the string, to help make it easier to reach, but at this point in my playing, when I do that, it makes my fingers shift too much and my notes are off.

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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ElisaDalViolin
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August 23, 2015 - 8:05 am
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I'm quite impressed you are saying she wants your pinky to be curved for the reason I stated before: the finger won't reach the note as easily. But the left arm is the one who prevents your finger to hit other strings (the same the right arm does for the bow) and also helps you reach a bit better too.

I think the way is curved on the picture you are tensing up more than you should but we all are different and teachers have their ways and methods, so stick with what you think it works best for you. My teacher's motto is natural playing so when I try to give advice is all based on my experience and learning with her along these 6 years.   

It's normal to be uncomfortable since the body is not used to but if you get any pain, try to talk to your teacher. Ask her for multiple explanations and demonstrations since sometimes it's a matter of word choice (It happened to me several times).

Happy practice! 🙂

 
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Schaick
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August 23, 2015 - 9:14 am
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damfino said
.....

ps, this is what my pinky looks like when it hits the string:

violinpinkysml.jpgImage Enlarger

It appears you snuck into one of my practice sessions and took a picture!!!  I am supposed to be curving my pinky.  

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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BillyG
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August 23, 2015 - 10:44 am
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Out of interest - here's me messing with G-minor-pentatonic, with an unusual view of the left hand fingering....  - the pinky doesn't get a lot of use in it - but where it is I'm just about happy !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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damfino
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August 23, 2015 - 2:52 pm
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@Schaick lol

Thanks for the tips, everyone, and thanks for the video, Billy, that's a big help to see how it should look in action. 

Now that my hand has settled down today, I'm going to give it a try again, see if i can get it right 🙂

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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damfino
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August 23, 2015 - 6:28 pm
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Ok, if I play a little slower, I can manager to get my finger to look like this:

IMG_9866.JPGImage Enlarger

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~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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Uzi
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August 23, 2015 - 6:47 pm
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That's the ticket.  If it gets hard to reach that position (for example on the G string), you may find that moving your left elbow a little more toward the center of your body will roll your entire hand further in the proper direction. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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fulfillingsoul
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August 23, 2015 - 8:15 pm
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Yes! I was unaware about moving left elbow towards the right until my teacher corrected me. It will definitely help in placing the pinky into position.

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

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damfino
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August 23, 2015 - 8:38 pm
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I'm excited, it doesn't hurt to play that note now 🙂 it still feels a little awkward while I get used to it, but it's much easier to do now. Plus, my hand is twisting around easier now that I gave it the rest yesterday. 

Thanks everyone 🙂 

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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coolpinkone
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thumbs-up1st-place Loved this fourth finger convo.  I am glad I got caught up.  Of course I look like a nutjob at my desk playing fourth finger notes with no violin...oh well.. what's new?

Good job and good work all... @damfino woo hoo... you are doing great.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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damfino
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August 27, 2015 - 7:06 pm
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@coolpinkone thanks 🙂 And don't worry, I practice finger positions at work, too, whether by holding my phone, or a pen, lol. violin-student

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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Rob C
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I had some trouble doing 4th finger initially and it strengthened fairly quickly. And then when I went from f sharp to natual second finger I had to really stretch it and it took a couple weeks for my third and fourth to be on and not a little flat. My third just didn't want to go that far to the g. or whichever string I was on. I felt like spock.

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damfino
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August 29, 2015 - 4:57 pm
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Lol, my teacher keeps working on me keeping my fingers in place when I need to stretch to fourth or third fingers, I have a feeling it will be no different when I move to the natural second finger. I'm getting better at it, I think I keep them in place more this week than I did last. 

~ I'm not torturing cats... I'm learning to play violin! ~

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