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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.
11 Responses
Posted: March 8, 2018
Last Comment: April 16, 2018

Posted: April 16, 2018
Hi Barb, this device is definitely strengthening my fingers. I think it is giving me more 'general' and even strength among the fingers on both hands. But when I put my hands down on a table and tap each finger, the 1st, 2nd and 4th fingers on both hands are strong and the 3rd fingers on either hand are even now, but not as strong as the rest. I'm going to continue to use this to see if I can get even more 3rd finger strengthening. Anything helps!

Barb Wimmer
Posted: April 16, 2018
Good information.   I have this issue and wonder if I flatten my finger too much instead of tapping finger touching nail. I think Iím supposed to touch nail and closer like Beth says makes sense. That is an neat looking gadget- have you tried it? I think fourth finger I may need that for. Iím guessing it strengthens the finger

Beth Blackerby
Posted: April 15, 2018
My 3rd finger trills are often unfocused, especially if there's a whole step between 2 and 3. I recently discovered that if I pronate the arm a little more to bring the bas knuckle closer, and try to get the finger tip super close to the string, I have better results. I too always thought it was a strength issue. But now Im' not so sure. It may be a strength issue, but not because the finger is weaker, but because of it's further away proximity to the neck, it's hammer  strike is weaker. Because when I get my hand hand higher and closer it's immediately better.

Posted: April 13, 2018
I have to say, after nearly 5 weeks of just once or twice a day, this little gadget is slowly building strength into fingers in both hands. I discovered what each finger on both hands is capable of, and which is the strongest and the weakest, and it is surprising! This is only part of the equation though, I still need to drill finger drops/lifts and finger reaches, but I am able to build strength into the 3rd finger.

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 itselfÖ.!!

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...