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Drew Lecher

Feather Fingers

September 15, 2008 at 2:46 AM

Perfect Balance, Perfect Form, Perfect Action

Agility and flexibility perfectly balanced are your goals.

Initially do this in 1st through 3rd position. Everything is to be beautifully curved and proportioned.

1. Design and shape your left hand — palm/back of hand, knuckles, fingers, thumb all in relation to the string(s) being played and the given position, i.e., 1st, 2nd position, etc.

To begin with, place all your fingers on one string using the “Beginning Hand Group” (BH) — whole, half, whole / Major, minor, Major.

2. Now make them as light as a feather and without bending the string.

In particular, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th finger knuckles should line up with the given string and portion of the fingerboard being used. The knuckles will be at a varying diagonal to the neck.

The hand and forearm will be rotated clockwise and the side of the 1st finger, between the knuckle and the middle joint, will lightly touch the Eing side of the neck. The left thumb will touch the Ging side of the neck with its pad or fleshy part — when the fingers are on the lower strings there will of necessity be a greater clockwise rotation, causing the inside portion of the thumb (nearest the 1st finger) to be in contact with the neck, whereas when playing on the higher strings the counter-clockwise rotation required will bring the thumb rolling more toward the center of its pad. This will vary based on the hand size and finger length.

3. At this point, the violin/viola is to be resting lightly on the left hand and collarbone — shoulder rest, if used — preferably with the jaw/head off and free from the chin-rest. Slowly raise and lower the scroll of the instrument until you feel an ease of balance. The strings are to be parallel to the floor and ascending further from you as you raise the scroll.

Your left hand will be approximately mouth/nose height.

STOP. Do not go further until the above is accomplished.

4. Remember your fingers are as light as feathers. All fingers are to be kept in light contact with the string excepting the chosen finger that is to be moved.

Release the 4th finger and tap it down without bending the string and without the other fingers releasing or sliding. The release will cause the finger to float up off the string — no need to lift. Keep it hovering over its note. Then add a simple rhythmic tap/hit such as 2-8ths and 1 quarter.

This is the light version of Repetition Hits. (Fewer calories and no fat.:-)

Do the above with each finger making sure that the others hold their place — good luck with the 3rd finger:-)

Also, vary the interval patterns, i.e., Low 2, High 3, Open, etc. Notice the subtle adjustments for balance that make the moves easier — include movement in the forearm and upper arm.

5. Now bring strength into the hand with various degrees and grouping of fingers — singly and in combinations. When adding any degree of strength, it is best done in slow motion. There must be no loss of the quality and proportion of shape or in your own posture and balance.

At the moment of collapse and/or distortion due to increased strength, the finger must instantly be released and returned to the desired form and balance.

This also works well sitting in a chair relaxing and simply holding the instrument like a guitar.

Piece of cake.

Hope this helps—
Take care and God bless,

Author of
Violin Technique: The Manual, How to master…
Viola Technique: The Manual, How to master…

Everything affects everything.

From Royce Faina
Posted on September 15, 2008 at 10:21 AM
I've got to get your book/s!
From meir sinetar
Posted on September 15, 2008 at 11:57 AM
bought the book a month ago
very thourough much experience is seen from it.
From Ray Randall
Posted on September 15, 2008 at 6:54 PM
I'll have to reread this carefully with the violin in hand. A lot of information there.
Thanks, Drew.
From Drew Lecher
Posted on September 16, 2008 at 2:16 PM
Hi Meir,

Glad the book is continuing to help you:-)


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