I used to practice 5 hours a day in quite a serious way in my youth, putting in lots of repetitions and being very diligent in following the instructions my teacher was giving me.
I guess I must have been using excessive first finger pressure in the left-hand, because over the years, through repeated trauma exerced on the skin, my first fingertip’s shape has been modified. I have linked a couple pictures so you can see what I’m talking about.
My fingertip’s skin is now permanently hardened, a doctor I have consulted said this was the defense my body hade come up with against a constant repeated attack, in this case practicing the violin, to protect what is underneath, further inside the finger.
The doctor said even if I stop playing, this is likely to stay the same forever.
I never really noticed this problem until my first finger started to occasionally hurt. Especially after I would cut my nails. My reasoning is that the dirt or whatever that comes from the strings and fingerboard would get under the nail and cause an irritation which would in turn make my finger hurt everytime I would press it. When that happened, I would often have a hard time practicing because using my first finger was hurting so much.
Anyway, fast forwards a few years later, and I have greatly reduced the amount of my practice, and got rid of the many tensions I had in my playing as a younger violinist. In the last year or so, I didn’t have any issues with finger pain.
Lastly I’ve committed to practicing seriously again, so the amount and quality of my practice have increased back again.
Today I’ve started to learn the Paganini 24th Caprice. After practicing for an hour, of which about 20 minutes were spent on the octave variation, the finger pain has returned.
I suspect that I am applying too much pressure in the octaves, and that this, along with the continuous shifting one has to do throughout the variation has caused my finger problem to return.
Did any of you ever have a similar experience?
And more generally, what are your thoughts?
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