Home For Passionate Violin Learners of all Levels
Complete violin learning platform made easy through:
    - Step-by-step lesson modules
    - Instant access to all content
    - All music and resources provided. No need to buy books
    - Private feedback channel with Beth Blackerby

Why Choose Violin Lab
Become a Member
You must be a member to respond to discussions.

Hi Beth,
What I found was that both my pinkies remain straight and stiff - that is, on the finger board and while bowing. What tips are there to relax the pinkies ?!

7 Responses
Posted: September 7, 2011
Last Comment: September 9, 2011

Posted: September 9, 2011

Posted: September 9, 2011
Thanks Beth, I was sure you wouldn't mind.

This is from reddesertviolin.com.  It says in the article that this exercise is for double jointedness...but it will work for general strengthening.  

I found that when I do this exercise as she explains it, that I end up pushing up with my thumb to clothes the pin, rather than down with my finger.  I wanted to be sure that I was giving the finger muscles a good workout rather than mostly the thumb....so I set the clothespin down on the top shelf of my computer stand....about eye level...at the edge and push down with my fingers, making sure they are arched properly...palm close to the edge of the shelf, arm down, wrist straight.   It's hard to do the pinkie as it really smarts on the tip of that finger for some reason, but not so much with the other fingers.  Maybe if I pad the clothes pin with something..might help.

I try to "think" about the muscles that I'm trying to work...it seems to be helping.  Beth, I also do the finger board strengthening exercises that you've provided as well.  I enjoy those much more than the clothes pin...to tell the truth.

I copied the url link in the "link" window, clicked "ok".......but it didin't show up in the "comment" box.  (??)  I'll post this and then type out the address if I have to.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: September 9, 2011
Eileen, I don't mind outside links.  If I think it's bad information, I'll just say so.  But the clothes pin exercises sounds like  a good one, so feel free to post.

Posted: September 9, 2011

Thanks a lot Eileen.

Am practicing now to strengthen the left hand pinky. Actually the pinky seems to possess enough strength, but it seems to be sort of conditioning the pinky to stay curled back. So now trying to give a deliberate attention to that finger. Hope to set it right soon.


Posted: September 8, 2011
Have you tried doing some pinkie strengthening exercises ?   I have a similar issue with both my pinkies.   The first knuckle (from the hand) always locks on me, especially my left one.  It's caused by a weak pinkie. 

I've been trying a clothes pin exercise to strengthen them. I found this at another site which I can link to a page with the explanation if Beth is ok with it.  I'm sure she won't mind but I do like to ask first !   Beth also has some great videos with other finger strengthening exercises as well that I've been making use of.  I've noticed a difference with my right pinkie and am getting better at....#1 keeping that pinkie down....and #2 keeping it bent and not straight.  I'm also starting to see just a bit of improvement with the left pinkie...not much, but enough to give me hope !

I had to make some adjustments with my bow hand for that as well that I think may also have helped with the pinkie.  I have my thumb bent and almost pushed right into the hairs of the bow, which helps to keep me from tipping the bow, which I have a tendency to do. This has helped a great deal with both issues actually and I'm finally getting some things worked out there.   I checked with Beth on the thumb against the hairs....to be sure there weren't any reasons why that would be a bad thing and she couldn't think of any.

I'm sure Bonny that you will find a solution !  But maybe it's just a matter of strengthening that digit....hopefully it's as easy as that !

Posted: September 8, 2011
It happens always! :)

Have to try as you suggested, keeping the pinky down, will practise to lift the third finger. Hope, that will help.

I really like to see the curled back pinky on the finger board, since that really conveys how passionately one embraces the instrument, and that produces good results too. I've seen that in many cases including Beth's. 

One person who really marvels me with the performance is Maxim Vengerov. I'm not too exposed to see many masters playing. Waiting to get opportunity to see them perform live.


Beth Blackerby
Posted: September 7, 2011
Bonny, I don't know any sure-fire solution, but I would start with playing using harmonic tension with the left hand to move the fingers with a completely relaxed hand.  Then slowly add pressure, monitoring when the pinky starts to stick up. Is it when the third finger starts to exert pressure..?

Perhaps, try and lay all the finger down on one string, and only lift third finger, being careful to keep the pinky undisturbed.  Then try lifting and dropping both the pinky and the third finger together.

Experiment with these things and really try and focus in (i.e. play without looking at music). Let me know if anything works. I don't see many pinkies like that...  ; )  I usually just see the curled back pinky (mine tends to even fall into that category)