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Hi Beth, hope you are feeling better. I understand that you'll be posting some pointers on how I can best tackle the Twinkle versions D&E soon, but if I may impose on your generosity and wonderful teaching skills could I add one more request? ;-)

I'm working on T.H. Bayly's Long, Long Ago (Suzuki Book I) and I'm having a tough time getting measures 9 and 11 when going from B (on A string) to E (on D string) as indicated by the piece. My left index finger is long, narrow and somewhat pointy and I can't quite get it to cover both strings. Not only that, after playing those two notes I have to go back to my 3rd finger on the A string. I've tried several approaches, but my hand and fingers are looking more like a pretzel (lol) and I don't seem to quite flow through those notes. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

2 Responses
Posted: May 28, 2010
Last Comment: May 29, 2010

Posted: May 29, 2010
@ Krista - Thank you for your input and please keep them coming. I don't mind at all to hear or try different techniques that will help me achieve the goal of learning to play a passage or learn how to perform a technique. I'm very appreciative of you taking the time to respond to my posts. Thank you!

@ Beth - I did give the hop a try when I first started to play the piece, but my coordination and speed was not up to par and it was as if I added a hiccup to those measures. Quite odd and funny, actually. Then I tried covering both strings and while I was better at eliminating the dreadful hiccup the tone was totally off and my hands were in total disarray LOL. I will focus a lot more on those measures and try the hopping, as it seems a lot easier and more comfortable on my hand/fingers. I'll pay close attention to the string crossing and simultaneously time the hop as I practice. I will probably slow it down to get the hang of it and then steadily increase the speed until I can play it at or above the correct tempo. Thank you!

Krista Broadway Swider
Posted: May 28, 2010
Hi Jack! Here I am again, replying to your question. Hoping you don't mind a little additional input. It's great that you're aware of needing to place the "B" and "E" down using the first finger, which rests on both strings simultaneously. I think that violinists sometimes have the misconception that every time they place their fingers down, each finger should be curved, and each pitch played with the hand at a particular angle. The majority of the time, this is accurate information. However, when one begins to play "double-stops" or two-note chords, especially when playing fifths, (like your example of the "B" and "E"), the "rules" can bend or even change a little bit. Did you realize you are effectively playing a fifth -- probably the most difficult double stop -- even though you are just bowing one of those notes at a time? It's a very advanced technique that Suzuki inserted there. At any rate, my point is that you may have to re-angle your hand, and slightly flatten the first knuckle on your index finger in order to properly tune the chord. It is actually ok to experiment (within the realm of reason), with the angle of your left hand (it's different for everyone), and also to experiment with how flat to make your first knuckle. Have at it! Enjoy! It's definitely an adventure.