Second Finger Sit-Ups
I haven’t written much over the past two years because my husband has been fighting a long illness, and then last May we ended up with a puppy. So free time has been in short supply!
However, I remembered a finger independence exercise from my childhood last week when I was in a lesson with my student Evie. I don’t know what it’s called, so we named it “Second Finger Sit-Ups”.
Evie is at the point in her beginner book when she is playing tunes with both high and low 2nd fingers, sometimes back-to-back or with just a note in between. She has a great ear, but her fingers don’t always do what they are supposed to.
And so, Second Finger Sit-Ups:
With just the left hand (no bow), place your 1st finger on the D string (on an E) and your 3rd finger on the A string (on a D). Then move your 2nd finger back and forth from F# (high 2 on the D string) to C natural (low 2 on the A string) while keeping the 1st and 3rd fingers down.
Go slow at first, and make sure your hand stays relaxed. Tapping your thumb while keeping the fingers down helps release the tension, and imagine your left hand hanging on the fingerboard by the tips of your fingers.
Use your 1st and 3rd fingers as guides for where to put your second finger: high 2s just behind the 3rd finger and low 2s just in front of the 1st finger. And you don’t have to raise the 2nd finger very high – just enough to move it cleanly to the next string.
Be sure to tap the 2nd finger on the tip, inside corner, and keep all your fingers round and relaxed.
Evie had trouble at first lifting and lowering the 2nd finger. It’s like you’re looking at the finger, but it won’t move and you don’t know why. Try touching the top of the second finger to help your brain make the connection.
At first it feels a little like the first time you tried to tap your head and rub your stomach, but if you go slowly and do it a little every day, you’ll get it.
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Quodlibet: A piece employing several well-known tunes from various sources, performed either simultaneously or in succession. (Schirmer Pocket Manual of Musical Terms)