Mind the Gap

As I move my fingers around the strings, I have a tendency to lift them way up high and then pound them back down. Such behavior has some consequences.  For one, simply being way up in the air over the strings with my fingers means that it takes time to get back down to the fingerboard; sometimes I can end up feeling in a hurry to find the note, especially in long slurs of sixteenth notes, with which my current concerto is replete.  Another problem with the finger acrobatics is that I tense up my hand and fingers to get the fingers back down onto the strings in time – being tense impacts the melodic flow of the music, and of course being tense also means instant death for any vibrato dreams!

I had a bit of a technical breakthrough in yesterday’s lesson when Teacher pointed out this flying fingers situation.  Overall, I need to relax more in my left hand – the relaxation impacts all elements of tone production – yesterday we were talking in particular about the melodic flow of the music.  Gently skimming from string to string is a much better way to go than flying back down toward them at breakneck speed from 30,000 feet to hit a note in time.  We played through the whole Seitz concerto slowly, section by section, focusing on keeping my fingers low to the fingerboard as we went along – it was a great way to practice, and I really started to absorb this lesson.

Indeed, Teacher and I have talked about this big gap between fingers and fingerboard issue before, but for some reason until yesterday I was not able to process the message very well. I see this type of delayed learning happen on the karate training floor with students quite a bit too – I’ll give them feedback a million times, I’ll even hear other teachers give them the same feedback, but then one day they are ready for it –  something inside finally shakes loose from the wrong spot and then sticks back in the right spot and they really get it.

I’ll see if I can keep this lower fingers orbit thing going here in a bit.

Thanks for reading.


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