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choumichou

Help on playing with a "dependent" pinky

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Hello everyone and thank you for the replies i got in the first post.

 

As a self-learning adult the progress i am making seems proportional to the practice time except in one thing : Switching between fingers and relieving left hand tension.

After some dexterity exercises and research i found out that i am among the 20% of the population who don't have the FDS muscle which means : no matter what i do moving the pinky will always bend  the ringer finger and slightly move the middle finger (The research findings were discussed in this forum but not alternative techniques)   https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204102429.htm  .  

I don't want to give up i am ready to do more exercises but i will not do something that harms my hand.

For me most of the time it's 3 or 4 painful notes then a wrong note in the next one.   Something like       Finger3  A  Finger2 A  Finger3 A Finger4 A Finger1 E Finger4 A   or just playing B C D E on A seems very  painful, the thumb also moves toward the body and can't remain stable.  I  have long arms and my hands are not big.

 

Are there any players which such anatomy who can tell me how to overcome this issue ? Do they jump with their hand and thumb in every note to avoid the pain? Do they rotate the wrist and put a finger on the other one when switching notes? weird and slow  ...

Any suggestions from others?

Thanks again

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14 hours ago, choumichou said:

......... i found out that i am among the 20% of the population who don't have the FDS muscle which means : no matter what i do moving the pinky will always bend  the ringer finger and slightly move the middle finger  

20% of the population here in the U.S. equates to over 65 million people.  Maybe I'm included in that 20% also.

From what I read about violin playing when pain is present one should stop for a while.  Now the time period " a while" could be anywheres from 3 minutes upwards to three weeks.

So instead of offering sympathy like the article says to,  let's start here.  Play your a, b, c, d and e notes on the A string like you said you did earlier.  When you get to the fourth finger/pinky e note lift pinky, play the d note with the ring finger, play the e note with the pinky again, lift pinky then play the c with middle finger , then play the e with the pinky again, now play the b note with the index finger.

So here's the sequence simplified...........hopefully  -

   open A, index B, middle C, ring D then pinky E. 

Next is ring - pinky - middle - pinky - index pinky .  Repeat 3 or 4 times and end the exercise with the open A string.  If you feel what feels like forearm pain and possibly bicep discomfort and want to be safe wait exactly 3 minutes, then try the exercise again using the same string or choosing a different string if you want.   Sort of an endurance/flexibility exercise, be careful.  

Learning to play violin can be compared to learning a new foreign language.  You can learn some on your own but how do you know it's really right?  Meaning one can get faster results using a teacher of the violin.                                                                                     

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The usual response to all these questions is that you need a teacher. You also tend to get more replies to technique on violinist.com (where they will definitely recommend finding a teacher). Having got that out of the way, and since no qualified teacher has answered yet, I will make a couple of observations.

First, tension is the enemy, of course. The entire way you hold the instrument is almost certainly wrong--not that there is one right way, though each teacher will have their approach, and many feel strongly for example for or against shoulder rests--rather the point is that any way of holding the instrument which is uncomfortable or exacerbates tension must be wrong, will cause pain, and will cause you to play badly, and will also cause emotional issues (love-hate relationship with the violin) which may hinder progress. And many violinists, not just beginners, suffer with tension, with a less than ideal instrument hold, and with emotional issues surrounding violin.

Second, you may have to work round the physique you have, rather than trying to apply a one-size-fits-all way of holding the thumb, and of dropping the fingers on the fingerboard to stop the right notes. Some players will keep down fingers 1,2 and 3 while stopping a note with the 4th, others will not, and I do not think there should be fixed rules. You have to do what works. Big hands have some advantages on violin but on the whole are more of a problem than small hands, and some of the best violinists in history had small hands. We know that Paganini's hands were not especially large but were super-stretchy, and he actually seems to have played differently than others to turn that potential problem into an advantage.

If you post a video here or on violinist.com sometimes you will get a little free teaching: in some cases from conservatory-level teachers have generously provided guidance.

I am not convinced your lack of finger indepdence is a massive problem near the beginning, though it may mean there are some passages of music with double stops which are difficult or impossible to play. Excessive tension in right hand, left hand, neck, shoulders and elsewhere is always a problem, and you need to find an option for holding the instrument which sort that out.

 

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I could give you some amazing exercises, but if you literally don't have the muscles they would be exercising...   I have a friend with severe birth defect hands who's a rockin blues harp player. 

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1 hour ago, John_London said:

The usual response to all these questions is that you need a teacher. You also tend to get more replies to technique on violinist.com (where they will definitely recommend finding a teacher). Having got that out of the way, and since no qualified teacher has answered yet, I will make a couple of observations.

 

Now At least i can eliminate the teachers who have never worked with students having naturally dependent fingers.

It would have been a very bad choice to get one.

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Only 20% of people can't move the pinky independently of the ring finger?  That sounds wrong.

Is it only the sharing of an FDS muscle?  I've been telling students for years that they (pinky and ring finger) share a tendon.

In any case, I can't bend my pinky without my ring finger bending right down with it (and slight flex of the middle finger).  I thought that applied to virtually everyone.  Weird.

But I've never noticed it hindering me in particular.  My pinky is reasonably strong.

For pinky strength and stamina, practice the first two pages of Schradieck Book 1.  If you can play it in tune with clear sound at 120 bpm, you're in pretty good shape.

For independent motion, check out some of the Dounis etudes in The Artist's Technique.  He will have you attempting to hold with one finger, trillling with one finger, sliding with another finger, and left hand pizz. with the remaining finger, all at the same time.

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2 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

Only 20% of people can't move the pinky independently of the ring finger?  That sounds wrong.

Is it only the sharing of an FDS muscle?  I've been telling students for years that they (pinky and ring finger) share a tendon.

In any case, I can't bend my pinky without my ring finger bending right down with it (and slight flex of the middle finger).  I thought that applied to virtually everyone.  Weird.

But I've never noticed it hindering me in particular.  My pinky is reasonably strong.

For pinky strength and stamina, practice the first two pages of Schradieck Book 1.  If you can play it in tune with clear sound at 120 bpm, you're in pretty good shape.

For independent motion, check out some of the Dounis etudes in The Artist's Technique.  He will have you attempting to hold with one finger, trillling with one finger, sliding with another finger, and left hand pizz. with the remaining finger, all at the same time.

To do the test you have to hold the other fingers.

My parents and siblings can all bend it , i can't

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22 hours ago, choumichou said:

Now At least i can eliminate the teachers who have never worked with students having naturally dependent fingers.

It would have been a very bad choice to get one.

Possibly. The most famous violin teacher in history (Auer) was noted for encouraging his students to find their own solutions as far as possible, and his results speak for themselves. Personally I'd rather have a teacher who does not have experience of my specific kinds of needs but really 'gets it' than the other way around. What do I mean by 'gets it'? I mean, someone who has a deep grasp of the violin sound and style which speaks to me. Such a teacher should be able to adapt to the student's needs.

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I think this hand problem is rather common, it is always up for discussion around any instrument that all of the fingers are used on..

Notice the article,,,Capture.JPG.a3b22da386abe98fc3fcd3210bb8a443.JPG

Usually not always,,, there are great players with this problem, they work around it and through it.. I have this in both hands, yes it probably took longer for some things to develop, I can trill with any finger, vibrato on all four, it can be a real hassle, the last two fingers can get tired long before the others, but if I stay practiced up then they are almost a good as the rest of them,, it just takes time and consistent practice, as Steven stated, the first pages of Schradick Book 1 are fantastic for finger dexterity.

And a get a good teacher,, I self taught after the age of 30, then a good teacher got a hold of me, it took several years to start to undo the bad habits, it literally destroyed my playing for a while.

You mention pain,, there should be no pain,,,you might have something else wrong, but this hand problem will not cause pain, unless you are stretching the last two fingers apart further than they were designed to go, they will stretch far enough to play, and with time they will stretch further.

Exactly where does it hurt,, which joints, wrists? Elbows?

Eddie Chen covers a lot in this video, make sure that you understand what he is describing,,,

 

image.png

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On 2/9/2018 at 9:41 AM, choumichou said:

To do the test you have to hold the other fingers.

My parents and siblings can all bend it , i can't

If I hold my other fingers, my pinky is immobile.  I cannot bend it at the second joint.  That's the test?

Again, I will be amazed to learn that this effects only 20%...

I agree with John and Evan.

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If you can play alternating 3rd and 4th you at least have something to work with.  I think Schrad. is good for intonation if you use it right and some other things but not so much for strength and independence.  For that all those silent exercises where you lift some fingers while keeping others down are real good.  It's important to develop a sense of equal  strength in each finger.      A famous teacher says the 4th finger is the strongest one.  Of course it isn't but it's a good thought to have sometimes.   If you practice thinking of expanding toward where you want the fingers to go it can help you avoid tensing the hand and actually fighting the movement.

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