How To Train Your Pinky to Play Violin and Viola (left and right pinky) [Pinky Training Program]

by | Jan 2, 2014 | Bowing Technique, Play in Tune | 10 comments

Do you have difficulties with playing the fourth finger? (your left pinky)

Do you have difficulties with smooth bowing, because your pinky is to weak to do the work? (your right pinky)

Ok, let’s get those pinkies into my Pinky Training Program!

In this video I share exercises to train the strength and flexibility of your pinkies:

1) Play piano in the table (until you can crush a sugar cube)
2) Always use your right pinky actively in bowing: your bowing will be more smooth and controlled
3) Don’t avoid the 4th finger (this pinky will not get trained and it will be even more scary in the future)
4) Place your fingers confident, attack the strings
5) Practice bowing movements with a pencil

Is this video useful to you? Please let me know in the comments!



PS: Do you have questions for me on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below!


  1. Amir

    Hi. Thanks for your useful and enlightening tips. I also suffered from the weak bow hand Pinkie. In order to strengthen my fourth finger, I used Yehudi Menuhin’s practices from his book. Your tip on simulating the bow movements with a pencil is very useful and can be expanded to a wide variety of moves using pencil. Again thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

  2. Carolyn

    Well phooy I can’t get your video to play on training my pinky finger. I am 53 years old and just started playing the violin about nine months ago taking lessons through Suzuki method I’ve played the piano on my life but I decided to take up violin and I have very good intonation so it has been not too difficult for me. Except for my darn little pinky that wants to hide in the basement all the time. it’s driving my teacher crazy !! Is there anyway you can send me a link to this video and maybe I can get it to play?

    • Violinist Zlata

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for sharing! When you don’t click the picture all the way on top, but the video player that’s in the middle of the post it will work. If it doesn’t, try the direct link to youtube:



  3. Suze

    lovely video and very helpful. I am playing the viola after a break of many years and my fourth finger keeps lying flat on the string. I will try your exercises. Thank you !

  4. Fiona

    Very helpful video. I have been trying to use my fourth finger to play scales and have seen a little improvement. I have a way to go with the right hand pinky. I am finding it very difficult to keep it from straightening out. I definitely need to strengthen it as it hurts after a short time of keeping it bent and my arm tenses.

    • Violinist Zlata

      Seperate fourth finger exercises for scales can certainly be very helpful. The idea of the right pinky curved is that it should be relaxed and move along with the bowing. Good luck!

  5. Christo

    Thanks for sharing this knowledge with us before all this I don’t know anything about Pinky. But going through this I really understand. Once again thanks.



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