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I'm an adult beginner, living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Learning since sept 2012 (6 months). I've been following the Suzuki books with my teacher, and am currently working on the three Bach minuets near the end of book 1.
One concern I have (and I guess I'm looking for some advice/reassurance here) is that my 4th finger on my left hand is a bit short and bent, meaning I have trouble reaching the string. My hand is also currently lacking in flexibility, and these two issues combined mean I cannot currently put the 4th finger down on the string while keeping the 3rd in place (e.g. playing E on A string while keeping 3rd finger on D). I'm approx half a semitone short.
I *can* reach the correct note with my 4th finger. To do so I need to bring my elbow a little further under the violin, and turn my palm more towards the left. This obviously introduces tension to the wrist, but I'm hoping time plus some stretching will help with that.
However if reaching the 4th finger, the 3rd finger is dragged away from where its meant to remain. This will be an issue if, for example, I ever need to do a fast D-E-D on the A string.
And in Suzuki book 1 there is a transition from 3rd finger on D string to 4th on A string, where the book says to *keep* the 3rd on the D string!
So I think I can get around my short 4th finger *if* I could get it to separate further from the 3rd finger when the fingers are curled. I'm hoping time and stretching might help a bit with this.
You dont have to keep the third on the D string its only a suggestion not a rule. Id love to skype chat with you sometime for sure! I have a slightly bent third finger and its always trying to sharp the notes on me. The forum chatango window is where we all hangout. you have to join it separately though. its up there to the right.
"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.
Hi, Ian, Welcome to the forum!
I have a short pinkie too. It makes several things tricky.
I had many complexes because of it, like: "I'm not reaching that E!!! NOT REACHING!!!" XD And actually it happens every time, when i start practicing. And i stretch it and stretch again.... And at the end of the lesson my teacher always yells: "Stop it! Your E is almost F already!!!" hahaha!
So i can tell that it stretches quite good if one makes some work in that direction! Don't worry, You can do it =)
If You have some problems between 3rd and 4th, also try to work on combinations: low 2nd (C natural) + E; and low 1st (Bb) + E.
But don't try too hard - be careful with it!
Hello! Like a violin, don't fret! (Heh heh.) I also have a very small hand, and being able to reach with the fourth finger was something that took a lot of time to do. Hitting the fourth finger at exactly the right spot on the string without overshooting or undershooting while maintaining my other fingers in their right positions is still one of my biggest hurdles in intonation, but it has gotten significantly easier over time. Your fourth finger and hand in general develop and strengthen these skills with practice. I can even pull off a decent vibrato on the fourth finger now.
Bah, don't let your reach bother you. Most of us here play because we love the instrument and the fact that we make music with it. Like people have said, just keep working on it. You will find a way. I have seen really young children actually slide their hand and "jab" their pinky to the spot. It is quite amazing how fast your fingers will move once you gain muscle memory. Keep working on your reach, slowly to not damage the tendons and muscles. If you get to a point you no longer can stretch them without discomfort, then try the poke method of hitting your spot. Remember to always work on tone whatever you do to get their. If you train your fingers to hit the wrong spot, then none of it will be beneficial. Oh, welcome to our home. do post some of your play and even slowly playing so we can see and possibly offer more assistance.
"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader