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Adult with kid-sized hands. Help!


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I was thinking you were farther along than you are, and that you needed exercises to get better reach with your hand,  For "improving the 1-2-3-4 locations", do you have Schradieck book 1?  The first couple pages of that are the standard thing for getting the fingers working in 1st position.  The Flesch-type things are necessary latter on to get more strength, or whatever it is...just call it ability rather than strength because how much strength does it take to push a little string down.  I think Dounis called it a "feeling of balance" in the hand.  But do the first couple of pages of Schrad.

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49 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

I was thinking you were farther along than you are, and that you needed exercises to get better reach with your hand,  For "improving the 1-2-3-4 locations", do you have Schradieck book 1?  The first couple pages of that are the standard thing for getting the fingers working in 1st position.  The Flesch-type things are necessary latter on to get more strength, or whatever it is...just call it ability rather than strength because how much strength does it take to push a little string down.  I think Dounis called it a "feeling of balance" in the hand.  But do the first couple of pages of Schrad.

Yeah, not so far along, yet.

I do have Schradieck and I've at least fingered through I: 1-12. The ones I've bowed have been at one note per bow, until I get more confident. I'll add notes per bow as I go along.

I don't think I'll drop Urstudien I A at least on the G string because I think that will help me get to the point where I can get that ring finger moving more independently.

I really wish my teachers had at least told me about Schradieck way back when.

I think that with the limited practice time I have available to me I'm going to concentrate on Schradieck I, scales (D Maj, G Maj 2-octave, C Maj), my Rhythm a Week unit and Urstudien on the G string for the next couple of weeks in the mornings. Then in the evenings, if I have time, I'll work in my method books and on old stuff I remember or new pieces I've already started to learn.

It's clear to me that I won't be able to enjoy this as much or move ahead until I develop some hand dexterity and strength. I certainly don't enjoy not being able to keep my fingers in the right place to get the right tone.

It doesn't take strength to hold a string down, but it does take strength to not move any finger but the one that needs moving! Strength and flexibility!

Imagine this: You have short, stubby fingers. You place your hand flat on the table and independently lift each finger in turn. Index comes up at amost a 45-degree angle, tip of finger over 2 1/2" off the table. Middle finger about 30 degrees and 2 inches. Ring finger barely 10 degrees and one measly inch odf the table, then pinky again almost 45 degrees and almost 2 inches off the table ('cause it's very short). Obviously, I need to train my ring finger. It's not strong enough to lift very far. And I think that's what is causing my middle finger to slide out of place when I reach.

We'll see what progress I make in the next couple of weeks.

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There's as much reward in becoming able to do 1-2-3-4 as there is in anything else so enjoy the progress.   You could add Kreutzer #3 played colle slowly, which helps right fingers and also lets you listen for the ring from the fiddle when a note is in tune. 

3rd finger is the roughest since it doesn't have its own muscle or something like that...I'm not an anatomist :)   Dounis Fundamental Technical Studies will be valuable in a year or two

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1 hour ago, Bill Merkel said:

3rd finger is the roughest since it doesn't have its own muscle or something like that...I'm not an anatomist :) 

Thank you SO much for mentioning this! I did a quick search, and the ring finger doesn't have its own extensor! It shares with the middle finger, so it will never get as high as the other fingers. Now I don't feel so much like a freak. I figured there was something wrong with me that my ring finger on both hands was so weak, relatively speaking.

Then I also found out that some people don't have the ability to bend their pinkies independently. Luckily I can do that. So other than having short, stubby fingers, if I just work on it, I should be able to get much better.

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Schrad starting on page 3 has the 3rd finger sliding between low and high.  The Dounis I keep mentioning has a lot of that too, and he believed finger independence comes from practicing that motion (rather than raising and lowering, and he was an anatomist).  Also trains your ear for chromatic scales. 

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On 1/10/2021 at 11:44 AM, deans said:

It takes a long long time to get your hands to do what they need to do to play a violin. Too many people are too quick to assume they have some physical disadvantage.

With that said, violins do come in many shapes and sizes. Many old violins, including GDGs are on the "petite size" have dimensions between a 7/8 and full size and often with a shorter string length. I have a Mittenwald violin at about 353 mm  and a slightly shorter string length, sounds great but feels like a 3/4 in my hands. There is no shame in playing a smaller violin, we are all different sizes, no reason we should have to play the same size violin, violists dont care. But for now keep working on your full size, I suspect you are not technically close to having to make that decision yet. 

I agree with deans regarding entertaining the possibility of looking at slightly smaller violins. I had an adult lady student who was miserable with her 4/4 since it was such a struggle to reach common intervals. She tried a 7/8 she liked better and finally purchased a very nice 3/4. She was happy as a clam.

There are also tips that a teacher can show you how to maximize the reach you have. Not sure if you are taking lessons but if you are not, you may want to see if a professional can give you some suggestions.

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I've also come across an adult playing a 3/4 that said they were very happy with it.  But if I recall correctly (no promises there), it was custom made and sounded very good...and was very expensive.

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

I've also come across an adult playing a 3/4 that said they were very happy with it.  But if I recall correctly (no promises there), it was custom made and sounded very good...and was very expensive.

Yes, this one was definitely not a workshop fiddle and ran around $5K a few years back (IIRC). Nice violin!

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Yes. And as a rule I agree it's best to adjust to size rather than have the size adjusted to you, but...

If it's not a critical choice (no plans to be a world class soloist), and makes playing more comfortable and enjoyable, then why not?

Ex. The first guitar I bought (on the advice of a teacher) is a full-sized classical. The fingerboard is just too wide for my large, but stiff, hands to manage. I tried, was too discouraged and I stopped playing.

Two years later I bought a nylon-string cross-over with a narrower and radiused neck.  Been playing ever since.

Sometimes the better choice might not be the most recommended choice.  

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12 minutes ago, Rue said:

If it's not a critical choice (no plans to be a world class soloist), and makes playing more comfortable and enjoyable, then why not?

Why try to play in tune if playing out of tune is easier?  Why try to do anything right?  lol

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19 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

Schrad starting on page 3 has the 3rd finger sliding between low and high.  The Dounis I keep mentioning has a lot of that too, and he believed finger independence comes from practicing that motion (rather than raising and lowering, and he was an anatomist).  Also trains your ear for chromatic scales. 

Part 2? Where there is a B natural followed by a B flat, for example?

I'll add Part 2 when I've gotten Part 1 more or less going. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

Thanks!

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4 hours ago, Spelman said:

I agree with deans regarding entertaining the possibility of looking at slightly smaller violins. I had an adult lady student who was miserable with her 4/4 since it was such a struggle to reach common intervals. She tried a 7/8 she liked better and finally purchased a very nice 3/4. She was happy as a clam.

There are also tips that a teacher can show you how to maximize the reach you have. Not sure if you are taking lessons but if you are not, you may want to see if a professional can give you some suggestions.

Thanks. I want to stick with my full-size.

I do not currently have a teacher, and can't afford one at the moment. I'm a bit disappointed that my previous two teachers didn't work on this with me, and that I wasn't aware enough to know that I needed to work on it. Perhaps back then I didn't need to work on it because I was younger and more flexible.

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

Yes. And as a rule I agree it's best to adjust to size rather than have the size adjusted to you, but...

If it's not a critical choice (no plans to be a world class soloist), and makes playing more comfortable and enjoyable, then why not?

Ex. The first guitar I bought (on the advice of a teacher) is a full-sized classical. The fingerboard is just too wide for my large, but stiff, hands to manage. I tried, was too discouraged and I stopped playing.

Two years later I bought a nylon-string cross-over with a narrower and radiused neck.  Been playing ever since.

Sometimes the better choice might not be the most recommended choice.  

I have a smallish classical guitar. Well, it's really weird, kind of a cross between classical and non-classical in that you tie the strings on like a classical, but the tuning posts stick up through the head like a steel-string acoustic guitar. I have no idea how it compares to a standard full-sized classical, but I like it. It's just under 2 inches wide at the nut.

I have problems with reach on it, as well, and I do remember that it was easier when I was younger and more flexible.

IMG_OC_Mg7_20210111_173044.thumb.jpg.3382a9b93d265536ad50c7d44e46d64b.jpgIMG_OC_Mg7_20210111_173211.thumb.jpg.be07142a191add33c13b0323719590dd.jpg

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