One thing that has helped me with finger placement and movement is to get your thumb somewhat centered under your fingers. It will give you the ability to make the move from 1st to fourth finger easier. Also, it could be a matter of time and practice to get your hand muscles to open up and make the stretch easier.
Honorary tenured advisor
Hi fellow cello students old and young!
I have neglected my violin for years now ... life gets in the way etc ... but began on cello a few years ago, then abandoned that too.
Now I'm getting a bit more time to practise and begin again.
I have many problems playing (I'm not young and do have arthritic fingers) and I'm working on them one by one. The thumbs are improving with technique changes, but I'm still having this same problem with the stretch. I find the left hand is having to move more than expected even staying in first position.
I will continue to do the mindful practice technique and hopefully work out the kinks (pun intended).
Thanks for being here!
If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.
I’m quite short and have small hands and short fingers. My cello is size 7/8 but sometimes stretch between the 1st and 4th finger still feels really big. (For example G# on the D-string.) I know the key to the solution is the thumb, it have to be relaxed and move freely. It has taken a lot of time to practice it.
I doubt I would have huge problems with stretching my fingers if I played 4/4 size cello.
I'm not sure how much this will help with cello because it's more of a viola tip, but maybe it's worth trying. Instead of thinking of the stretch as going up from 1st to 4th finger, start from the 4th finger and stretch back with the 1st finger. You may find that you place your thumb a bit differently when you approach it that way. I do this a lot as a violist with very small hands.
Okay, my lessons started again (yippee!) and I have to instantly deal with this stretching. My homework is one etude with a lot of doublestops. One of which is absolutely awful, Bb on the A string and G on the D string. Who in the earth does compose etudes like this? 😂 I have huge problems not to press also the A string with my 4th finger when trying to reach to G.
My teacher noticed my left elbow is a little too down when I'm playing in the first position, so I need to pay attention to that. Lifting it a little up would probably help. Let's see.
Answering to myself: Lifting the elbow really helped! 👍🏻