Exercises for Strengthening (do just a little each day!)
- Kreutzer #9 using 2-4 instead of 1-3, every time. Lift and drop cleanly and quickly for maximum articulation. Build speed slowly.
- Simon Fischer Basics pp. 126-127. You’ll be amazed how quickly your finger gains strength and therefore speed.
- Sevick Opus 1 Part 4: Numbers 19 and 20. Left-hand pizzicato, with as much 4th finger use as possible.
Exercises for Loosening (be gentle and light!)
- Practice entire concerto ONLY vibrating on 4th finger. Vibrating makes you connect the finger back into the elbow; thus you are encouraging ONLY the 4th finger to feel its balance and connection.
- Dounis Artist’s Technique: shifting exercise on pp. 37-40 – the pattern using 123 (4-1-4) – 1234; 423 (1-4-1) -4321.
Do this exercise ppp in both hands at first, so that your shift into the 4th finger lands softly, lovingly and easily.
- All the Simon Fischer Basics vibrato exercises are good; pp. 213-226. Especially note Numbers 275, 277, 279, 285, 286, 289, 293, and 299.
- Place all fingers on string and lightly slide the 4th finger up, keeping the lower fingers still. If you need to help the finger move at first, use the right hand to train it. The more it can separate up from the 3rd finger, the more open the webbing between the fingers will become.
- Keep heel of hand (the fleshy part underneath the fourth finger, on the left side of the palm and hand) as soft as possible, especially while putting pressure on 4th finger.
- Experiment with where you put the pad of the finger – on my hand, placing the 4th finger with as much flesh lying on the string as possible (ergo, a flat pad and fingertip) automatically softens the heel of my hand; playing on the point, with a strong square shape, hardens it. (You can feel your left hand with your right hand to find out.)
- Feel the 4th finger going up and over a large soft space (I think cloud) as you put it down for a lyric note. You can shift from each finger in each low position into the 4th finger. Loosen everything and keep the inside of the hand relaxed as you land.
- Try playing on your right arm with the 4th finger; vibrate, feel the softness of the contact, and feel the connection from the 4th finger all the way up into the elbow.
- Lift the 1st and 2nd fingers and see if the hand opens up to vibrate more freely.
- Eventually, see if you can feel the 4th finger all the way back into your freely sliding left shoulder blade!