Violin Tip of the Day
For Violin Students of All Ages
Practice and Rehearsal Tips.  Technique Pointers.  Violin Care Guidance. Exercises and Motivation for Violinists, Fiddlers or Anyone Interested in Stringed Instruments.
Today's Tip
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 for me to improve my playing by using brief snippets of time, even while I am far from my instrument, appeals to me very much.   The exercises are not much fun, and you may get a strange look or two from folks who watch you do some of them, but the benefits far outweigh the trouble.  If you do them often enough, you will actually find that you do them unconsciously.  That is even better.  Improving your playing without any perceptible effort on your part!  With young students, these can even be made into games or challenges.

I was reading Alberto Bachmann's classic book, An Encyclopedia of the Violin when I happened across this simple finger exercise.

Bachmann writes:
"
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.  When you reach the extreme point, stretch or clench just a little bit harder for just an instant.  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.  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.
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