pinky training

August 23, 2012 at 02:59 PM · Does anyone know some 4th finger exercises

I'm a beginner violist and my 4the finger doesn't collaps anymore xD i'm happy about that.

but i want to train my pinky

Replies (11)

August 23, 2012 at 03:17 PM · One word: schradieck, book 1. I had the same issue. Do the first few excercizes on page one first slowly - by first I mean 10 minutes slow a day for at least a week. Make sure you get a clean note with every finger placement - if its not clean go slower. You don't have to use a single bow for each line (but eventually you will) do say 4 notes a bow. And do them on every string. [I think you can dowload this study collection.]

And DO talk to your teacher!!

August 23, 2012 at 03:54 PM · If you don't have Schradieck or it's over your head, the first exercise I give my students when introducing fourth finger is very simple and effective. On each string, first make sure your fingers are in tune, and check your fourth finger with the open string on the right, if there is one. Then, play 2-3-4-3-2-3-4-3 in a loop, beginning slowly for accuracy and gradually speeding it up. As you speed up, be careful to maintain accuracy and the exact same amount of tension you began with. In other words, don't let your fingers squeeze just because you're going faster.

That's all we do, exercise-wise, for a couple of weeks while the muscles develop. Once you've mastered that pattern, make up a new one. This is all Schradieck basically is.

Don't forget to keep track of your bow arm while focusing on the pinky. It is the culprit of many a foul note. You can practice using separate bow strokes as well as slurring, if you already know how to slur. If using separate bow strokes, they should become smaller and smaller as you gain speed. In other words, keep your bow speed the same, not your bow length.

August 23, 2012 at 05:48 PM · I will third Schradieck with the caveat that I am currently doing just this work. As my teacher recently explained to me, the fingers travel back from the big knuckle and behave like a piano's hammer action. Before, I had been pulling my fingers up, which didn't give them a chance to strengthen, and it messed up the articulation. It is important in the exercises to articulate cleanly and strongly with this hammer-like action, and pull the fingers back quickly and decisively in the same motion but in reverse.

With this said, it is very important to not bring other parts of the hand/arm into this motion, leaving it to the finger (really the knuckle specifically). This will help keep tension away, which is really important in doing these exercises. Watch for tension, which starts to creep up when speeding up and doing more notes per bow. It's best to not jump to a greater speed if you are tensing.

I find that you can get a good idea for the action by doing the exercise without the bow and getting good articulation from just the action of the fingers. Just be careful with tension, and be patient with the pinky. Mine really likes lift up instead of back, and it takes a long time to strengthen underutilized muscles.

If you have a teacher, then consult about Schradieck.

August 23, 2012 at 06:33 PM · I would second Emily's suggestion.

If I may add, when doing 2-3, 2-3,3-2,3-2 exercise (and other different combination of fingerings), you may expand it by using tone-tone interval, semitone-tone, tone-semitone intervals as well.

And do it in different division, start slow and increase speed as you go.

August 23, 2012 at 07:17 PM · Then when you're too sick of Schradieck to even think the name you can switch to Sevcik's opus 1 book 1! It's similar, but adds accidentals to the mix. If you are working in positions, Kreutzer etude #9 takes you through this same stuff in several positions- important, as the spacing changes as you move up the fingerboard.

August 24, 2012 at 12:40 AM · Hi Annemarie, the following exercises by Bytovetski are really good for the fourth finger. I think the book is out of print so here it is:


You can also make it more difficult by playing all the chromatic notes in between; on G string: G,G#,A,Bb,B,C,C#, each to the 4th finger D, and also add C# to D# (even C# to E) to work out the pinky in extensions.

Also take a look at Kayser Op. 20, Nr. 4.

Hope it helps,


August 24, 2012 at 10:39 PM · I would practice Schradieck until you simply cant stand the monotony of the sound anymore, which, for me is about 30 minutes. It's like a hardcore muscle head workout for the pinky.

August 24, 2012 at 11:09 PM · I wonder about thinking in terms of strengthening one finger specifically; I know it is something we all do at some point or another, but now I try to approach it in terms of finger "groups". This helps the pinky from hanging out by itself as if holding a teacup elegant-style.. :)? Be careful with the Schradieck if you are repeating a single excercise such as one and two for very long, you can actually strain yourself in a bad way. The fourth finger is especially prone to causing problems in the tendons and muscles in different parts of the hand and arm (the top of the hand and also areas of the elbow) if consistently overstretched or tensed. Or..plain overuse. I like to use the Sevcik Op.8, which is generally used for shifting, but it helps me to not allow my hand to revert to bad habits as you must keep your whole hand frame loose to execute those exercises well. If you have a good hand frame from which to base your finger action and a loose thumb to keep from absentmindedly "anchoring" the hand (causing bad stretching and shifting), then your fourth finger should fall where it should and as such, be as strong as it must.

It must also be noted that although strong fingers are a good thing, their dexterity is a better thing. We want to be able to articulate the beginning and ends of each finger motion well, but over-articulating them (as mentioned in an earlier post) is going to cause tension somewhere...that tension IS SOMETIMES desireable if controlled, but if you are hearing your fingers slamming onto the fingerboard in excess, strength is going to be a drawback (when one muscle gets TOO strong for it's own good, the opposing muscles become weak).

Oh, I can ramble like nothing else. If I'm not careful, I can talk about playing more than I actually DO it, so I'll be picking up my own instrument soon and checking that I'm "practicing what I preach" while my brain turns into Mahler oatmeal. Mahler equals intervalic gymnastics for the brain.... and turns mine to mush when not reinforced by my good friends of the orchestra. My poor neighbors must be putting on earmuffs wondering what is wrong with me (out of context, orchestral practicing can be one of the worst things you could inflict upon others, in my opinion!!!!).



August 25, 2012 at 01:12 AM · The strength you need is not in pressing but lifting.

Put all yr fingers down. then lift yr fourth up and relax it down a few times. Lift slowly , relax quickly - spring back without forcing,

Do this a few times a day

Do it with other fingers too.


August 25, 2012 at 01:53 AM · Great exercise, Graham!

August 25, 2012 at 02:20 AM · Hmmm. Graham: my third is poorer at lifting than my pinky - does that mean anything?

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