Index finger's nerve annoys me when I play
Hi, I'm having this problem lately. My index finger touches the bow normally before the first "line". These lasts weeks I don't know why I've started to feel discomfort when playing forte because the bow must be touching a sensitive area/nerve in that part of the finger and it is annoying. I don't think I'm over pressing, although last week my teacher said I should play baroque with martele stroke, and I was playing the baroque piece with too much "air", she said "like romantic pieces, and this is not romantic".
I know I've used more "force" since then, like rude bow strokes.
Have any of you experienced any kind of discomfort in the finger's because of the bow, specially the index finger?
What can I do?
Maybe place your index finger on the bow so it doesn't touch the nerve. Or maybe try not to press too much and use arm weight more often.
I suspect that you are trying to produce all of your sound by pressing your index finger. Doing this will not only get you a pressed, and not very resonant sound, but also cause pain as you are seeing. More efficient would be to use arm weight and also make sure to look at other parameters which contribute to volume production, such as posture, and contact point.
Alright, I want to address this whole "arm weight" fallacy. It's a great cue and obviously almost every teacher uses it, but at the end of the day it is the INDEX that presses down, acting as a lever against the fulcrum that is the thumb. There is no such thing as being able to ONLY bow with arm-weight, since that would just be a string-change. We can use the arm (specifically the tricep) to press down, but we still have to lever the index against the bow to counteract the moment-arm that is created by the weight of the arm. It's simple physics.
My admittedly amateur view of "arm weight" is that it is a convenient mnemonic device to guide the player toward coordinated/distributed muscle motions that generate better tone and control while also possibly relieving harmful strain. Therefore while I agree with Erik, I wonder if thinking about "arm weight" might actually be what Tim really needs. I also wonder whether the OP has possibly bruised himself a little and might need a cushioning device for a week or two. A bit of moleskin? A "corn cushion"? One of those rubber jobbies that covers the whole frog (which I have seen on the bows of pro cellists)?
I vote for the moleskin - a great idea, Paul. it simulates the feel of your own skin on the bow while cushioning your flesh.
Perhaps a good start is to name events properly: it is your nerve, not a nerve of a foreign object (a.k.a. IT).
Thank you all, specially Erik, my teacher precisely last week asked me to use "arm weight", and I was thinking...
Your English is perfectly fine, Tim.
Sorry to disagree with you Erik, but I don't think arm weight is a fallacy. In fact, I honestly don't press with the index, or any other finger. I actually feel that the arm/hand/all fingers weight participate as one in sustaining the sound, not the pressure of the fingers into the bow. And I don't press down with the arm muscle, it simply sits on the bow, which sits on the string.
The index finger should be touching the bow between the first and second knuckles. From your description, you seem to be holding the bow with your fingertips.
Christian, with all due respect (because clearly you are a good player), what you are stating is against the fundamental laws of physics.
Where the index finger should contact the bow, depends on your anatomy, and your bow hold.
When we speak of using arm weight rather than pressure we're talking about refining eccentric contraction (deltoids) in applying the weight of the arm. When we speak of avoiding pressure from the fingers, again we're talking about eccentric contraction of the lumbricals. Everything depends on context. In the loudest, most vigorous playing there is in fact quite a bit of tension everywhere, but you want to use only what you need. In normal conditions you want to use the weight of the part of the arm you need for your size and proportions, and make sure you're not unnecessarily using pressure from the fingers into the stick. For example if you "bow in the air" too much, i.e. bow with concentric shoulder abduction/flexion + press with too much pronation of forearm and/or too much flexion of the lumbricals at the baseknuckles, or if you are seizing the shoulder by fighting concentric shoulder abduction/flexion by concentrically contracting the latissimus dorsi, thereby 'holding' or antagonizing shoulder movement, you're wasting energy and possibly taxing weaker muscles, or applying too much pressure to a very small area on the forefinger. Instead learn to regulate the weight of the arm and avoid pressing the fingers as Christian suggests.
Ms. Goree, this image shows my bow hold:
Might be useful to use common terms:
Tim, you might try practicing without the forefinger for a while. Simply lift it and apply leverage through your middle finger. Once you put the forefinger back on, allow its baseknuckle (MCP) to extend immediately upon starting a down bow (baseknuckles open/extend as the wrist opens/extends, and the fingers themselves curl/DIP and PIP flex.) The more weight you pour on, the more pressure is exerted through the fingers, the more you allow the 1st MCP to extend, regardless of how you hold the bow or where the stick makes contact.
In simple English, Tim, I believe jeewon is referring to a "jellyfish hand" in her second post :)
Nope. Not really.
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