I have a student who I am going to be photographing and modifying in terms of her left hand technique, but I invite you guys to send me your own queries.

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7 Responses

  1. I’ve got a student who’s left wrist collapses when she stops the A string. How do you keep that from happening in your own students, short of maybe taping a metal rod to their forearms? 🙂

  2. Hi Emily!

    My problem with the left hand these days tends to be keeping the thumb down and in place when doing extensions in thumb position. In Haydn C mvt 1 (in the first major thumb position run), the one that gets me is (on the D string):

    thumb on B
    first finger on C
    second finger on D
    third finger on E

    Thumb likes to roam…it’s hard for me to keep it in place. Once it roams, it’s game over for that run.

    Any suggestions?

  3. CG! I’ll be happy to help, although I would appreciate a measure number, because if you are talking about the place I think you are, I have a different fingering for you to try, if you and your teacher are open to the idea. 🙂

  4. Hi Emily –

    Measure 42. I’m open to new fingerings for this but I would love some advice on this position anyway. I’m bound to use it elsewhere. Main problem is keeping the thumb in place. It slides around a bit. Do I just need 10 more hours of practice on this measure? 🙂

  5. Ok. Measure 42.

    I have that whole passage in standard thumb position with my thumbs across the D and A harmonics. So first off, the fingering becomes

    1 T 1 2 3 T 1 2 3 3 3 3, etc

    I’m not one to run from the sound of open strings or harmonics…call it the Jacqueline DuPre school of thought. So try that. And then, as with any thumb position passage, play the entire thing with both strings sounding at the same time. So when you’re on the D, you’re droning on the A, etc. This will not only help you to tune the excerpt, but also has a way of keeping your thumb in place. This is about playing in position. Keeping your fingers over the notes is desirable in about 95% of what we do, so while you’re at it, think about keeping half steps between your fingers when you’re in 1st-4th positions as well, unless you’re extending. Also, I am willing to bet that you’re not practicing slowly enough. If you are aware of a problem, but it doesn’t get any better, the answer is usually because you haven’t given it enough super glacial-speed practice. This is a simple, physical change, so thinking of it won’t do it. Slowing down and staring at the thumb lying in place as you play a scale for about 10 minutes (not 10 hours) should put a huge dent in the issue.

    Remember, if you make a change in technique with any anxiety or incomplete intention, you take those things with you as you implement it in your work. If you learn something calmly and carefully, you again import those characteristics into the actual use of it.

  6. Thanks! My problem definitely is staying in position with the thumb. It just starts to wander and slide around. I’ll practice with both strings. Thanks for posting!

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