Early finger placement
I recently had a violin lesson recently where I am working on Kreutzer 10. There are many string crossings and arpeggios in this piece. My teacher suggested using early finger placement, which basically means putting the fingers down much earlier on the strings not currently being played. Has anyone else come across this? It's supposed to make playing smoother and quicker but I'm finding it makes me more hesitant. Perhaps it's a question of breaking old habits and learning new, but the process is not as simple as it first sounds. You basically have to scan ahead (whilst playing the previous notes in tune, tempo, articulation etc ) to a fingered note and placing the finger, however if you have an open string between the note your playing and the one your fingering then you can't put the finger down! So it seems like lots of thought and analysis going on that just slows things down rather than speed things up.
Anyone used this method? How did you find it?
Often, slowing down and analysing speeds up progress considerably.
This is common on other instruments and I try very hard to do it here too. In guitar we call it planting and I call it the same thing here.
You have to learn to choreograph your hands, which means doing things in a VERY SLOW TEMPO, so you have plenty of time to think. Don't play through the whole etude. Look at the specific places where you want to place ahead, and then practice the placement.
Yes, it is called prepared fingering, and it has been around for a long time. At first it seems impossible, then it becomes almost automatic. It trains the fingers to move more efficiently, instead of arriving a little too late. For every piece, spend at least one practice session very slowly, focusing on when to place the fingers, when to lift them, and the interval distance for the shifts. If needed, you can mark prepared fingerings as open diamonds, like a harmonic. Sometimes I mark lifting a finger by writing a diagonal line through the finger number. The instrument that uses prepared fingering for every note is; the harp. The instrument that never does that is the piano. Ditto on Adrian's comment; most of our technical problems happen between the notes.
What Jeewon said is what is highly emphasized with my teacher in everything I'm working on now. It's great.
Yes, it's a very standard procedure although different players might apply specifics of it in different ways. Before beginning m1, I would already have my 2nd finger G on the E string together with the 1st finger B on the A string - ready to play a basic G major chord.
You might want to check Kayser. He suggests early finger placement since the very first etude. In order to simplify the work for the student, Kayser notes when preparatory fingers should be placed.
Wow thanks so much for your expansive replies. I will certainly work through them all and I feel very encouraged that it will improve my playing.
There are also instances of
I just played through the Kreutzer #10, that Sonia mentioned, and for that specific Etude I think that lifting the fingers is more important than prepared fingering; so that each finger can get to it's next spot sooner. The goal is; only one finger down at a time. Also, you don't have to use the editor's fingerings, even if they are famous teachers like Galamian or Flesch. jq
I think Sonia's teacher might be wanting her to anticipate the next action during the current one. Since this etude has a lot of open strings, not only can you feel the placement of the notes and finger patterns, you can anticipate the string cross with the rest of the arm (or hand, however you cross strings) during the open string. The bow arm can also anticipate by the elbow crossing slightly ahead of the hand. On a shift, the feel of the shift motion can begin during the previous note. Similarly, all 'new' notes can be anticipated while playing 'old' notes. In the end I don't think I would actually place fingers ahead in performance for this piece; too cumbersome. But by training that way the feeling of anticipations can by ingrained.
Following - up on Jeewon's comment re: "scanning ahead". It's yet another difficult technique that seems impossible at first. It is a mental reflex that can be trained. If your eyes are slightly ahead of notes you are playing, the mind will follow the eyes, think ahead, and the fingers will move a little sooner. This is especially useful in fast passages, where the conscious mind simply can't keep up with the music. jq