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Ordinarily, the 4th finger needs a lot of attention, but I have been able to make good progress on the instrument with finger taps and/or trill exercises. However, with the third finger, I have tried these and other exercises away from the instrument to little or no effect, so am looking for ideas for help. I found this hand exerciser at the lightest tension offering. Do you think it might transfer well to the instrument? Thank you.
7 Responses
Posted: March 8, 2018
Last Comment: March 12, 2018

Posted: March 12, 2018
Hi Kara, my trillling w/3rd finger is luckily ok, it is in just bringing the 3rd finger to the level of strength of the 1st and 2nd fingers if that is possible. The only technical indication of a problem I have with the 3rd right now is playing a 4th finger followed by a 3rd finger on the same string. The 3rd finger does not have the strength of separation that it needs to be able to do that, and keep the hand frame quiet. This is what I hope to fix with this exercise. I'll report back if it works!

Hi Inge, yes, definitely there will be some small sympathetic movement of the 3rd and 4th fingers.

Hi Steph, there is a tiny part of my warmup that came from Red Desert as well. Just the gentle bending back of the fingers I think it was. Very helpful. And I did start out initially unable to separate the fingers in different combinations, but now thankfully I can do it!

Posted: March 11, 2018
Hi Dianne,

I included the exercise, you're describing in my daily warm-up routine, too. (Usually, I tap out Mississippi Hot Dog).
Mostly I follow the suggestions by Red Desert Violin I found on youtube. 
Especially interesting for this discussion is the section following 6:55 min. 
But I wouldn't recommend it, before doing the other exercises.
Also; the "Vulcan" greeting helps a little. 

Inge Black
Posted: March 10, 2018
I have looked at that finger more in the context of piano, since that is what I've been doing the last years while not touching violin during that time.  I have found a cross-over between the two instruments in the sense that we use the same hands.  The ring finger has shared tendons that are sort of tied together with the finger next to it.  One idea I've learned is to not take the idea of "finger independence" too literally.  One can try to hold the other fingers still while moving a finger, instead of allowing some co-movement which is how your hand naturally function.

Posted: March 10, 2018
This discussion includes members-only video content

Hello, I have the yellow gripper and it is very nice. It comes with a brochure containing 6 exercises. This video is what inspired me to get the gripper to see if it would help me further strengthen the 3rd finger. It is lightweight enough that I think if I do some repetitions each day over a long period of time it might help me. Glad I got it!

Posted: March 8, 2018
Hi Janice, thanks, I did adopt an exercise of drops and lifts of the 3rd finger from my teacher, and it is part of my daily warm up. These are as you describe and also trills. It did improve to a point but there is still improvement needed there. With the 4th finger, the exercises show good improvement. I see that there are occupational therapists using this, and one stringed instrument player for whom it was suggested, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Janice Branley
Posted: March 8, 2018
Hi Dianne, could it be a matter of finger independence? (or interdependence) preventing your third finger from doing what you ask of it.  You can easily see an example of this issue, by laying your hand on a flat surface and lifting your fingers separately.  The first, second and fourth fingers all behave, but when you try and lift the 3rd by itself.!!

I sometimes add to finger tapping, keeping the 2nd and 4th down and tapping the adjacent string, sort of dancing the third finger back and forth.  For real mental effort, again with the second finger down, pluck the string with the 3rd, rhythmically.  It's more of a mental effort to separate the finger actions. ps. I only include keeping the 4th finger down myself because I am trying to establish a hand balanced more towards the pinkie (after years of streeeeeeeetching

Posted: March 8, 2018
Interesting you say that Dianne, because I too find that trilling with my third finger to be weak! Hmm...