How to Get a Strong Left Pinky for Violin Playing?
Violin Lounge TV Q&A about training your left pinky:
“What can I do to have a more flexible pinky? Exercises maybe to make it stronger, instead of just tapping it down repeatedly as a 4th finger while playing? When I tap it down, it’s not flat but a rather rounder shape like it should be but it feels so weak!Actually applys to other fingers too, to make them more flexible but the pinky is yet the weakest of all :(I’m even thinking about buying a finger exerciser on the internet haha :)”
In this blog I will answer Bianca’s question who asked: “What can I do to have a more flexible pinky? Exercises maybe to make it stronger, instead of just tapping it down repeatedly as a 4th finger while playing?“
So…what to do about a weak left pinky? Should you get that finger exerciser? Let me share a few strategies below!
A weak left pinky is completely normal
For all of us, the pinky is our weakest finger and one that we don’t use that much in daily life. Therefore, it is completely normal that you have trouble using your pinky when playing the violin.
For this reason, some people even avoid using their pinky. However, this of course doesn’t make it any stronger.
Don’t avoid playing with your pinky
So what to do about a weak pink? First of all, don’t avoid playing the fourth finger and train it just as much as your other fingers. Also, tap your finger down (you’ll hear a tap sound), as this will make it stronger.
But also, don’t let your pinky do too much work
Secondly, don’t let your pinky do all the work. While some people move their entire hand or arm to get to the fourth string, this is very heavy and unnecessary for your pinky. Instead, just move your pinky and put it down to the string you want to tap. In this, your hand needs to be in the right position already so your pinky only has to touch the fingerboard. If the string is on the board, this is enough. No further pressure is needed.
How to get your pinky stronger?
If you want to train your pinky (or your other fingers) to become stronger, hold your violin in the way you would hold a guitar. This way, you can lightly press the strings on the fingerboard, which will make your muscles stronger. In this position, you can make up all kinds of exercises to train your fingers and to make them stronger without having the (unnecessary) weight of your violin on your shoulder.
Hold your hand in the in right position
If you put your violin on your shoulder, hold it again like you would hold a guitar and put your hand all around the neck of your violin. Leave the hand in that position and then put it on your shoulder. This is how your hand always should be like, regardless of the fact that many people hold their hand more flat on the violin. While this will make you feel a little stretch in your lower arm, your fingers will only need to be tapped down to play the string- which therefore releases your finger muscles.
For these exersises, you can create your own variation. You can do it for example with bowing or without (in this way your focus is entirely on the exercise).
Should you buy a finger excerciser?
The short answer is yes, you can. However keep in mind that your pinky has to be both strong and flexible. When you use a finger exerciser, you might make your pinky strong, but not flexible. Therefore, be a little bit careful when using a this tool to strengthen your fingers. You don’t want your finger to be like a body builder (having very short and strong muscles), but you want it to be lean and flexible too. So, don’t use it too often.
These where my tips on how to train your left pinky and how you can reduce its burden a bit when playing the violin or viola.
Is this useful to you or do you have any further question about this or another topic? Please let me know in the comments!