Trouble keeping first finger close to second
I am having a lot of trouble placing down my first finger while my second one is holding a low position. For example, when I descend from E string to play D-C-B-A, I'm unable to place my first finger on B while my third and second fingers are holding D and C.
I've also tried getting my hand set up in the correct placement of 12-3-4, on the fingerboard, then loosen my grip, but as soon as my fingers lose contact with the board, the middle and index fingers fly apart from each other. Either the index finger goes flat or the middle finger goes sharp. Is this a musculature/tightness problem, or more fundamental with the positioning of the hand/fingers?
I'm an adult beginner, will be consulting my teacher about this next week.
You don’t need to place the 1 while holding 3 and 2 in a descending pattern. If you’re playing with low 2, you’re ready to work with independent fingers. Place the 3 just before leaving the E. Put your 2 down just before leaving the 3. If you must, you could put 2 and 1 down together though I wouldn’t. You could also put 3 and 2 down together and then place 1 while playing 2.
I am indeed already using independent fingers, but even when I place fingers independently, I am still unable to put my 1 down right next to my 2. I have to place it down in a low 1 position, then slide it up to be next to my 2. All while doing this, I have to press down fairly hard on my 2 to ensure it doesn't slide sharp as my 1 approaches. I don't think this is the correct movement to learn, since it is both very tense and has wasteful motions which would fall apart fairly quickly at even moderate speeds.
Have you fat fingers?!
Wilson when you play "air violin", so just position your left arm, hand, and fingers as if in playing position but without a violin, can you comfortably move your 2nd finger between the 1st and the 3rd, back and forth, without the other fingers moving much?
Check out the video (DVD or whatever) of the Woody Allen movie "Everybody Says I Love You." Somewhere in the first 5 minutes or so is a closeup of Itzhak Perlman playing some simple thing and you can see how a violinist moves his fingers when they are too large to play the violin.
It's possible your left wrist isn't straight enough, or possibly your thumb needs repositioning. I have a similar problem, but with my 2nd finger.
If you put your four fingers on the table in front of you, can you tap your first finger away from your second finger, and then next to it, in succession? If not then this suggests you may have some kind of underlying physical or neurological issue. The first (index) finger should be quite independent of the others.
Finger flexibility and independence is "the" big problem for the adult beginner.
Are your fingers independent when playing the piano ? You don't need any real piano technique to test this, just access to a keyboard.
Adrian wrote, "I ask my right handed beginners to do everything (possible and impossible..) with their left hand for several weeks"...
I am not a beginner, but a returnee after 25+ years away, and I can sympathize that finger independence has been an issue for me too. I've noticed some improvement working slowly through Kreutzer etudes. As a beginner, Kreutzer is not the place to start, though. If you've been playing for a year or so, you might ask your teacher to assign some Wohlfahrt etudes. I wonder if children have these problems, but just don't notice them, or if there is something about adult coordination and neural wiring that makes this particularly difficult?
Nothing wrong with Wohlfahrt.
Here is a link to the video of the Woody Allen movie "Everybody Says I Love You" that Andrew referenced a few posts back, in which Itzhak Perlmann can be seen playing a little tune from the 1920s:
Actually, I got it wrong. It is "Everyone Says I Love You."