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Violin Lessons: Finger Motion

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There are three types of
finger motion on the violin.
You can think of them as three axes.
You have the up-down motion of the
which is the one that we think about the
most often.
[SOUND] The way you can develop that is by
practicing trills,
or most of the other left hand exercises
that are out there.
There's the motion that goes across the
[SOUND] And that you can develop by
among other things, left handed pizzicato.
That's an often
neglected motion.
And finally, the on-the-string motion.
[SOUND] Also often neglected,
that you build up by extending the fingers
on the string.
Now, what you like to have for
all kinds of finger motion is only as much
pressure as necessary.
So I like to assign a number from one to
ten, perhaps.
And assign it for how much pressure I'm
putting on the string for
any of these motions.
And then I like to experiment.
I pick a lower number and see what that
would feel like.
Pick a higher number, see what that would
feel like.
What you're after is always the least
amount of pressure necessary to get
the job done, because that's going to keep
your hand from getting fatigued and
hopefully prevent any long term buildup of
tension and injury.
Now, you also want independence of the
fingers in all of these, so it's useful to
practice trill exercises while you're
still holding other fingers down.
Something like that, where other
fingers are forced to stay on the string,
you're still exercising that up-down
Again, take care that you're only using as
much pressure as necessary.
Same with the across motion.
Left hand pizzicato exercises, and
also exercises that have you covering
fifths, the double stop fifths.
That helps you understand that the finger
can be on the string in many
different ways.
Like this, like that, like that, according
to what you need it to do.
Finally, the extending.
When you extend fingers, you want to be
able to
do it keeping the pressure in the string,
[SOUND] rather than picking the finger up.
[SOUND] Because those are really two
different motions.
This extending motion helps develop
strength and
endurance in each of the fingers.
And to maintain independence, you should
do it while other fingers are down.
These exercises can be found in books, but
you can make your own up.
It's not that hard.
Especially with these extending exercises,
you want to limit the amount of time you
work on them.
Your hand may get fatigued very quickly,
and that's normal.
You'll gradually be able to build up the
endurance, but
you don't want to spend too much time at
You wanna hit it maybe several times per
With all three of these types of motion,
dotted rhythms are great.
They give you time to process the motion,
they also force the fingers to work
So trills.
And you can
add another one.
And the same is true for
the across motions, with left hand pits.
And the extending motions as well.
So, when you send me a video about three
different types of finger motion,
first I'd simply like you demonstrate what
the three types are.
The up-down, across-the-string, and the
Then, I'd like you to show me an exercise
where you leave three fingers down.
You'll put them down on these notes.
Leave three down, [SOUND] and lift one up.
[SOUND] One at a time.
[SOUND] And then, if you could show me
different combinations,
that would be even better.
Lift one and three, lift two and four.
One and four.
And then, finally, show me how you might
work on these motions with dotted rhythms.
And then I'll see that you've really
grasped the three different
types of finger motion.