I am an intermediate violinist and I have an audition excerpt that is not too difficult; it is all in first position and there are no tricky rhythms, but it is a little fast. There is one section in particular where I have to play a B on the e string (using fourth finger) a few times in a row. I have found that when I play it, I sometimes play the B in tune but sometimes I don't. I also find myself trying extremely hard to play that fourth finger and reaching for it. I don't really know what to do, but I really have to get it in tune since my audition is in 2 days. Does anyone have any suggestions?
My guess is that you are practicing in tempo. If this is the case, slow down! You need many slow repetitions in which you have enough time to be conscious of what must happen for your fourth finger to land in the correct spot every time.
Fourth finger rules!
Ms. Goree: Since I have just been practicing at tempo, will it be difficult to fix my mistakes? I have not been learning the music for too long (2 days) but will I be able to get it in tune if I slow down and do a lot of slow repetition?
I had a lesson with my teacher today, and he found the solution to my chronic intonation problem was 4th finger position.
DONT, Op. 35, No. 6 !
Mahika, yes, you can fix these, but the number of slow repetitions required will have been increased by the number of too-fast repetitions you did incorrectly before you were ready. However, two days is not a long time and I think you can fix this without too much trouble.
Mahika, try the following (but don't overdo it!)
Lots of exczllent advice here.
Sometimes I think we should teach the fourth finger first, comfortable, curved, matching the adjacent open string. The other fingers are then pulled back from there, the thumb placed wherever it is most comfortable. This version of first position looks slightly higher on the neck then what we usually do.
I could hardly disagree more with the idea of teaching the fourth finger first. It is the weakest finger and the hardest to learn to keep curved with a correct hand position. Much better to teach the first three fingers first and introduce the fourth finger only after a correct hand shape has been solidly learned.
I actually second Joel’s view.
I agree with Mary Ellen. You can do fourth-finger studies like the Bytovetski study Jeewon showed. Likewise some of the lines of Schradieck No. 1 are fourth-finger heavy. But please know that you can also really hurt yourself (all the way up into your forearm) if you do too much of that stuff at once, especially if you try to take the tempo too fast. I suggest you just focus on your audition excerpt for now. (The first piece in the Suzuki sequence that has a serious workout for the fourth finger is at the end of Book 7).
Thanks, Mary Ellen, et al, What I actually do is start with the third finger at the octave above the open string, then 2, 1, 4th finger last. If we start with 1st finger the wrist often collapses and the 4th finger lands flat. ~jq
Really, arcane? Balancing left hand and finger exercises are pretty basic solutions to the problem of developing an accurate, fast pinky. Nothing mysterious there.
My point is that all the exercises in the world aren't going to do any good if the OP doesn't slow down.
When I wrote "Fourth Finger Rules" in the first post, I was referring to a hand placement which, as joel suggests, allows a curved fourth finger. When the other three are placed to allow this, we will of course use their strength as a base for patient work on the fourth.