Adult with kid-sized hands. Help!


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This is a real good video dealing with Schrad and left hand in general

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9TiCZMENWI

I learned this when I was little but over the years (50), have redone and reanalyzed them.  When you do Schrad pay extreme attention to intonation. It is drilling in everything and it's fastest to be right from the start.  Guitar players aren't used to listening for intonation.  Violin players use very light pressure, and you want the richer sound of soft pads, not calluses.  The pressure can be so light the guitar string would just buzz probably

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12 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

This is a real good video dealing with Schrad and left hand in general

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9TiCZMENWI

I learned this when I was little but over the years (50), have redone and reanalyzed them.  When you do Schrad pay extreme attention to intonation. It is drilling in everything and it's fastest to be right from the start.  Guitar players aren't used to listening for intonation.  Violin players use very light pressure, and you want the richer sound of soft pads, not calluses.  The pressure can be so light the guitar string would just buzz probably

I don't have small hands, but I do play a 16 3/4" viola. I strongly second Schradiek. I ate these up when I was young and it really built my technique. Now that I am much older, I find that my 16 3/4" viola grows when I take too much time off. To get back in shape, I do my calisthenics: the Schradiek first position exercises, to stretch my hand frame and increase left hand strength and fluency (--and to keep my first and fourth finger intonation honest); and select Kreuzer exercises for bowing patterns and intonation. 

By the way, my teacher also recommended taking up guitar (standard accoustic) to help develop the left hand. I never did, however.

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40 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

This is a real good video dealing with Schrad and left hand in general

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9TiCZMENWI

I learned this when I was little but over the years (50), have redone and reanalyzed them.  When you do Schrad pay extreme attention to intonation. It is drilling in everything and it's fastest to be right from the start.  Guitar players aren't used to listening for intonation.  Violin players use very light pressure, and you want the richer sound of soft pads, not calluses.  The pressure can be so light the guitar string would just buzz probably

Thanks!

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I know of several women of petite stature who play 7/8th or 3/4th violins.  One woman played a full size violin professionally but tried a 3/4th testing the sound and setup for a student and found that she liked it so much she kept it for herself!   I'd also say that you have to be very careful with exercises to make your hand do what it doesn't want to do.  So many musicians have injured themselves doing hand stretching exercises, even ones from famous methods books . If it is painful don't do it is my recommendation.

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On 1/10/2021 at 5:22 PM, Rue said:

THIS!

I’m a “senior” (+50) first year, very enthusiastic student. One thing I and my instructor noticed early on was my pinkie finger would flag up when all other fingers were down. I’ve worked with it and have successfully retrained it. Recently, I was practicing a piece for a “challenge” and I evidently over practiced and hyperextended my ring finger. It happened very quickly and took me by surprise.

This article clarified the mechanics for me. Thank you! 

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Did you ever consider to attack the problem from the other end? There are some pretty descent sounding 3/4 violins around. 

Otherwise a skilled luthier can mitigate the problem pretty easily on your instrument by shortening the stop length. This doesn't even require an expensive neck graft or neck reset. I would shorten the fingerboard at the top nut 2mm and move the bridge 3mm up. This makes the bridge slightly displaced but not so much to be completely out of balance. 5mm less is a lot for hands of your size. 

 

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On 1/11/2021 at 9:48 PM, Mystic said:

One thing I and my instructor noticed early on was my pinkie finger would flag up when all other fingers were down. I’ve worked with it and have successfully retrained it. Recently, I was practicing a piece for a “challenge” and I evidently over practiced and hyperextended my ring finger. It happened very quickly and took me by surprise.

This brings up an important issue with the principles of "ideal technique" put down in books as compared to the realities of competent playing.  Many books recommend keeping your fingers floating low over their notes when they are not able to be put down on the string.  But if you look at great players you find that even in fast passages this is not always what they are doing.  I mentioned this issue to a friend of mine who played in orchestras all his life and had studied with some important names and he said that's not really the priority in advancing technique, that lack of tension is more important than the finger floating in exactly the right position before playing, as far as fluency and speed are concerned.

Unfortunately this means it's important to have a really good teacher at formative phases of one's progress, as it is very easy to go astray and end up with a faulty technique that has to be fixed.

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15 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Did you ever consider to attack the problem from the other end? There are some pretty descent sounding 3/4 violins around. 

Otherwise a skilled luthier can mitigate the problem pretty easily on your instrument by shortening the stop length. This doesn't even require an expensive neck graft or neck reset. I would shorten the fingerboard at the top nut 2mm and move the bridge 3mm up. This makes the bridge slightly displaced but not so much to be completely out of balance. 5mm less is a lot for hands of your size. 

 

I will probably have a luthier look at it eventually, but right now money is a problem, and since I'm coming back to violin after a lengthy hiatus, I'm thinking technique and flexibility have a lot to do with my issue. I've been following along with the Nicola Benedetti video that @Bill Merkel suggested, and I think that I need to stick with building up good habits, for the moment. I've been doing this as my practice time in the mornings this week, and I think I'll keep doing it for a bit longer. I definitely have neck, shoulder and hand tension issues that I need to work through (not only on violin). I have more time to play around with things on the weekends, so I'll probably make progress on Saturdays and Sundays than I do during the week, but I think at the moment working on being relaxed, yet also working on my reach like in the video is going to help me immensely.

I've also taken a look at what I can do to improve my shoulder rest, as I don't think it's set up right at the moment. While I don't have cash to buy a new one, we do have an ample supply of scrapbinium (name we use for scraps of metal, wood, and plastic at our shop) that I can use to alter the shoulder rest if I need to. I also have plenty of other things I can use to make my collarbone more comfy. I think this will help my problems, too.

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I've been working on the Schradieck Volume 1, Part 1, and it's helping. I haven't gotten to Part 2, yet, but will, eventually.

I'm also making myself work through the C Major exercises in my method books, and I've started learning Elgar Op 22, No 1 and Küchler Op 11, Part 2.

Particularly with the Küchler, I figure that as long as I can find finger 2 when I need it, on time, and with correct intonation, it doesn't really matter whether it's down when finger 4 is down, right?

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