Finger speed

February 6, 2020, 8:15 AM · Hello,
I have always struggled to get my bow hand and my left hand fingers in synch. My left hand always lags behind, and as a result it sounds really messy. Does anyone have any suggestions for improvement?

Replies (11)

February 6, 2020, 8:18 AM · Drilling Sevcik and Schradieck will help a lot. Start slowly, fingers should be relaxed and almost percussive when they fall onto the fingerboard. If you can master clean playing with these exercises, speed up. Slow practice on your current pieces also really help.

What does your teacher say or suggest?

February 6, 2020, 8:29 AM · I haven't asked yet
February 6, 2020, 8:49 AM · Definitely something to ask in your next lesson. Hopefully, your teacher will be able to suggest something specific to help you with this issue.
February 6, 2020, 9:12 AM · I agree with that advice. The first two pages, and I think page 4 of Schradieck op. 1 book 1, ought to be drilled daily with a metronome. Hold yourself to extremely high standards in terms of evenness of the fall and rise of the fingers when you do that drill.
February 6, 2020, 10:15 AM · Right and left-hand coordination is easily fixed by practicing in groups and rhythms.

It's not the specific book-- can still practice in a non-productive manner whether it's Sevcik or Schradieck or whatever. It's the METHOD, because once you understand the method you can apply it to anything else.

I've written up and sent the method to a couple of site members, and will sent out to anyone else.
If your teacher is unfamiliar with the principle, show it to him/her, charge them $174, and we can split the fee.

Edited: February 6, 2020, 10:35 AM · First: the left hand must lead the dance: the bow mustn't even think about moving until the string is firmly held down. So as with all multi-tasking we have to separate the component motions before (apparently) uniting them.
Finger-fall before bow motion, even when the two actions are "assembled".

Second: we need to "pop" the finger onto the string , not "jab" it. The difference between a slap and a punch? Only just enough left finger pressure for a clear tone, with just enough "pop" to hear the note without the bow. Pop and half-release.

I warm up with controlled mordants and short trills at the beginning of long notes, gradually increasing the speed and trill length; then, slowly again, with separate bows (à la Jordi Savall!) not speeding up until the the trills are clear.

The time needed for this all foundation work varies from day to day, depending on the weather, digestion, hangovers etc.

PS my remarks will surely apply to Scott's Method, but they will only add two centimes d'Euro to his generously shared 174 USD...

February 6, 2020, 11:30 AM · It's usually the opposite for me, the right hand lags, mainly because I fail to shorten my bow stroke enough as the speed increases or use too much bow arm rather than fingers and wrist. Slow left hand could be because you raise your fingers too high and/or apply too much pressure, hence tension. The more the fingers travel, the longer it takes. Practice subtle finger movements. As always, when it comes to violin playing, less is more, so try gradually increasing speed while using as little finger (all 4) or bow movement as necessary and possible to make a clear sound, then increase one or the other and see where things fall appart and start getting out of synch.
Edited: February 6, 2020, 11:36 AM · Roger, are you left handed?

I have had the best advice on bowing from a left handed teacher, and the best left hand advice from his right handed wife...

I think we teach least well those aspects we find easy!

February 6, 2020, 12:22 PM · The standard exercise for that in Simon Fischer's "Practice" is to exaggerate in the other direction: play each note early instead of too late. So, at the very end of every note, already tie in the next note, and practice the passage in this way. For example CDEFG in becomes (C..D=)(D..E=)(E..F=)(F..G=)G where the notation (C..D=) means a C tied to a very short D so that the total length is the same as the original C in the passage. Afterwards it should feel easier to play the passage correctly.
February 6, 2020, 3:20 PM · @Adrian, Right Handed. Just speaking from my own experience.
February 6, 2020, 4:13 PM · If your left and right hands aren't in sync, slow down. Get both hands working together, then try to slowly increase the speed.

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