|Those of you who have been visiting this web site for a while know that I am a big fan of finger exercises. The opportunity to improve my playing by using brief snippets of time, even while I am far from my instrument, appeals to me very much.
I found this exercise while reading Alberto Bachmann's classic, An Encyclopedia of the Violin.
"Open and close the hand slowly, keeping time to a metronome beat of 100."
Properly performed, this is a wonderful exercise. The key here is to keep tension in the fingers all the time in. I usually start by holding my hands as though I were a 5-year-old playing monster and making a claw. Then I make sure that my hand is very tense. Keeping that tension, close the hand all the way to a clenched fist, then open the hand as wide as you can go. Bringing the hand all the way to the extremes is really important so that we can develop FLEXIBILITY as well as strength. I like to recommend 25 repetitions.