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Left Hand Pinky Locking up
Difficulty in adjusting my left hand pinky
Topic Rating: 4.3 Topic Rating: 4.3 Topic Rating: 4.3 Topic Rating: 4.3 Topic Rating: 4.3 Topic Rating: 4.3 (4 votes) 
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absolutebeginner
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March 21, 2015 - 6:42 am
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Hello, 

     I am a beginner violin learner(Started only 4 months ago).While playing ,my ring finger and pinky tend to move together.This creates a real problem when I try to use my ring finger.My pinky automatically tend tends to coil to the base of my palm.And as such it is difficult for me to use my fourth finger.

Can you people suggest me some exercises for getting rid of this problem?

Thanks for reading smile

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DanielB
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March 21, 2015 - 10:44 am
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First question would be if there's anything wrong with that finger like an old injury or something.  Are there any other activities you do, like touch-typing for example, that use it at all?  And does it work normally for you in those other activities?  Sorry if that may sound like a bunch of obvious questions, but it would be good if you are sure there isn't a medical cause for the difficulty.

 

If the finger is actually ok and all that, well it's not that unusual for the 4th finger to need some extra work for a lot of people.  From what I can tell, there are even books of violin exercises or etudes just for developing "finger independence".  It's not just violinists, either.  Guitarists, pianists, flautists, lots of musicians end up having to do some extra work to get the pinky to work for them. 

I also know an exercise that I learned many years ago that you can try.  Excuse the video quality though.  It was taken a few years back with a really crappy recorder.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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absolutebeginner
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March 21, 2015 - 9:22 pm
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DanielB said
First question would be if there's anything wrong with that finger like an old injury or something.  Are there any other activities you do, like touch-typing for example, that use it at all?  And does it work normally for you in those other activities?  Sorry if that may sound like a bunch of obvious questions, but it would be good if you are sure there isn't a medical cause for the difficulty.

 

If the finger is actually ok and all that, well it's not that unusual for the 4th finger to need some extra work for a lot of people.  From what I can tell, there are even books of violin exercises or etudes just for developing "finger independence".  It's not just violinists, either.  Guitarists, pianists, flautists, lots of musicians end up having to do some extra work to get the pinky to work for them. 

I also know an exercise that I learned many years ago that you can try.  Excuse the video quality though.  It was taken a few years back with a really crappy recorder.

Aha! This was what I was looking for! Thank you very much DanielB!

No,I didn't have any injury in my pinky and I do touch type.I do admit however that I don't use my pinky that much daily.

The exercise you suggested is awesome.It is quite difficult for me to do it correctly right now,but I guess it is a matter of practice as you said.

Many thanks!!smile

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DanielB
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March 22, 2015 - 8:17 am
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Glad if it can help.  One pointer I'll give you is that keeping the hand relaxed makes that exercise easier to do.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
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April 1, 2015 - 11:54 am
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Experiment with your elbow angle under the violin to see if one position (more under or less under) makes it easier to use the ring finger without the pinky coming all the way down. I'm guessing that having the elbow more under the violin to the right will simplify the reach thus the independence.

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

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absolutebeginner
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April 2, 2015 - 12:37 am
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DanielB said
Glad if it can help.  One pointer I'll give you is that keeping the hand relaxed makes that exercise easier to do.

Fiddlerman said
Experiment with your elbow angle under the violin to see if one position (more under or less under) makes it easier to use the ring finger without the pinky coming all the way down. I'm guessing that having the elbow more under the violin to the right will simplify the reach thus the independence.

Thanks Guys! I can't believe how much these tips really work. My fingers are quite small,so the the adjustment of elbow really did the trick.In my old holding position I used to struggle to balance the violin and ended up clutching it.There was extreme tension in my fingers,hence I guess that made them respond the way they did.It also fixed the problems I had due to thick fingers.
I just can't believe the sound my violin is making now.I am so happysmile.Thanks guys you are really helpful! 

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Fiddlerman
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April 2, 2015 - 6:20 am
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Happy to help whenever I can. :)

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

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RedViolin
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May 19, 2015 - 6:00 am
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Great video @DanielB thanks for sharing!

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Jim Dunleavy
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May 19, 2015 - 6:13 am
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Nice video! I thought with all my experience on other instruments I'd have no bother doing that, but it was really hard! lol

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DanielB
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May 20, 2015 - 10:26 pm
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Glad if anyone finds it useful.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Schaick
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I am amazed at the ease and how smoothly these fingers are moving!!

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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coolpinkone
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May 21, 2015 - 11:41 am
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Nice Video Dan.  I am not very good at it. 

Thanks for sharing. 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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sus49
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May 21, 2015 - 1:38 pm
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@DanielB WOW!!  Great exercise.  First time I had to use my right hand to make my left hand do it, but after just a few tries, they started to work. THANKS @absolutebeginner for asking such a great question because I am just in the middle of my third week of violin and I don't even know all the questions to ask yet!!!!

Thanks everybody!

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DanielB
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May 21, 2015 - 9:18 pm
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I have found it a useful exercise for many instruments, and nice because it can be done when there isn't an instrument handy. 

Now for violin specifically, I use one sometimes that I got from a book by Leopold Auer, one of those "old masters". 

Put your first finger down on the E string at F.  Then without taking the first finger off, put your second finger down at C on the A string.  Then put down your third finger at G on the D string.  Then the 4th (pinky) finger down at D on the G string.  

Just getting all 4 fingers in those places at once is some "exercise" at first.  LOL

But after you get that, then you lift each finger and drop it on the note several times.  Then the next step is to do each one while plucking the string, so you can hear if you're getting a good note.  Then try it with the bow.  

Later, you can try playing those notes (with the fingers down and then trying lifting and dropping them, as above) but doing it in the order A string, G string, E string, D string, so you can practice skipping over strings with the bow while changing notes.

That whole routine will keep you busy for a while.  But it gives a lot of basic abilities a nice (I didn't say easy) little workout.  I have a little 5 minute routine I do with it.  But at first, just getting the fingers all down in those spots without muting other strings and etc is definitely enough to be education.  Add the steps after that one at a time as you get more comfortable with it.  Might take a few days or a couple weeks of trying it every day before you feel ready to move on to the next stage.   That is just fine, though.

Be gentle but persistent with yourself, and you'll get places.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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