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Double jointedness is a very common condition. I don’t know the statistic, but I’d say at least 25 percent of all people are double jointed, some more severely than others. I’m so double-jointed, kids used to pay me money at recess just to see the contortions I could put my hands into!
If you are double-jointed, you know it. Double jointedness becomes a problem on the violin in several ways, on both the left and right hand. On the left hand, the base knuckle of our thumb can cave in when we squeeze the neck (which we shouldn’t be doing anyway!) and makes for bad form, affecting our vibrato and shifting.
Also on the left hand, our pinky tends to “cave in,” instead of the nice arched, rounded fingers that are more conducive to fast, clean playing. This caving in is also detrimental to vibrato with this finger.
On the right hand, the same fingers are the culprits. Thumb and pinky. The base knuckle of our thumb caves in, giving us a paralyzed bow hand with no strength or control. Our pinky caves in, making it rigid, and causes it to fall off the bow frequently, and robbing us of the “steering” and “balancing” capability of a rounded pinky.
What You Can Do About It
This video will summarize the exercise described below.
Clothespin Exercise for Double Joints
Fortunately, the cure is the same for both hands, making it a snap to work on. First, borrow, steal, or buy a clothes pin. You can find these near the laundry detergent in most variety stores. If all else fails, buy a “baby clamp” from a hardware store. They will be about the size of a clothes pin, but the angle is not quite as nice, so try to find the clothes pins.
Your goal is to be able to squeeze the clothes pin and open it completely with just your thumb and pinky. This will not be possible at first. You will be tempted to let your joints cave in, or to bend your thumb backwards. NO! DON’T ALLOW IT! You will make the problem worse if you do this exercise wrong. Please read on for an easy way to understand the right way.
You know when you make the “OK” sign, making a circle with your thumb and index finger? Well, make an “OK” sign with your pinky and thumb, and THAT is EXACTLY how you need to squeeze the clothes pin. Any engineer will tell you there is greater strength in a nice high arch than there is in a flat or concave shape. A nice high arch will train your joints not to cave in, and you will gradually build strength.
Like I said, you won’t be able to do this at first. That’s ok. Allow your other hand to assist for awhile. Let both hands sort of share the workload so that you can maintain perfect form (nice round arches). You can push yourself until your joints start to cave in, then back off, and work some reps just under the point where you caved in.
Two minutes per day, per hand, for a month, and you will start seeing real results. But you still have the task of breaking the “habit” of double jointedness, and replacing it with the good habit of nice round arches. It is no longer due to weakness in your joints, because you have strengthened the muscles and tendons. It is now just a matter of awareness and will power!
Yes, you can use the clothes-pin on all your fingers. It’s just that on VIOLIN it is usually the pinky and thumb that are the problem fingers.
Just make sure you go nice and slow, and respect the weakness in your fingers. (for instance, you can go shopping for “stiff” or “soft” clothespins…..and some of my students start on the soft ones, and they graduate to the stiffer ones)
Good luck to you!
My right pinky alone is double jointed. Will the excercise still work?
It will still work.
I would still recommend that you do it with both hands, just for symmetry, and so that your right hand can “emulate” your left hand.
My pinky or hands aren’t the problem.. it’s my arm, I’m double jointed in my elbow how can I fix this??
I would treat your elbows the same way: learn some strengthening exercises for them.
But also, you will have to learn where to “stop” straightening your arm…..so, learn when your arm is STRAIGHT…..memorize that feeling, and you will be fine. You have to learn to not go PAST straight! (I have a young student whose elbow goes past straight….it’s like….CRAZY! It looks positively broken! But she is learning how to stop at straight.
I have not given her strengthening exercises to do….but my GUESS would be push-ups would be good, as well as bicep strenthening.
Good luck. If you discover something really helpful, please share!
Wow, I could not see the video for some reason, but this is the first thing I’ve ever found about my issue. I’m a lercussionist and my pinky is very detrimental to my 4 mallet grip strength…as well as my guitar playing. Fast passages are near impossible if they require my pinky!
I’m going to try this and I hope it helps me!
My pinky locks at the knuckle on the hand.
Thanks for your comment. I had the link to the video entered wrong. You should be able to watch it now, and it is a VERY helpful video.
Watch it, because it is possible to do the clothespin exercise wrong and actually make the problem worse.
But it sounds like you need to learn to relax as you play in addition to doing the clothes pin exercise.
The guitarist in my band has the same problem with a locking pinky. He did my clothespin exercise, but it didn’t help until he taught himself to stay relaxed, even as he starts to speed up. We all tense up naturally when we speed up…..and we must learn to override that natural tendency and stay loose.
Thx for a great article!!! This has really helped me with piano (somehow ?) And I thank you for helping me learn something before I go to bed! ? Ur the best!????????? (If u get a kitty emoji frm me then ur special! U are Special!!! ??) Thx
Thanks for the tips, this should help my left hand when stretching at piano, and my right hand when plucking guitar and double bass, thanks again!
Strengthening can always help us! But also, for stretching on piano, work equally on flexibility and increasing your reach!
My pinky doesn’t lock at the joint you showed in the video. In fact it locks at the joint right before it so I can’t hit a high G on the E string at all in sixth position. I’m not sure that the clothespin would work. Any advice? It’s really starting to worry me.
There are a couple things you can do.
First of all, yes, I do believe the clothes pin exercises will still help you. Pay close attention to your finger arc, and make sure your form is good.
Secondly, in higher positions, a common mistake is that students try to “reach around” the shoulders of the violin, which causes us to approach the higher notes with flat, non-arched fingers, which increases the likelihood of finger joints locking.
To avoid this, bring your hand up and over the fingerboard, swivel your elbow to the right, and elevate your whole hand right over the fingerboard. IF you watch the great violinists on youtube, you will see what i”m talking about. This allows your fingers to be able to just “drop” right onto the fingerboard without reaching.
HOpefully you understand what I”m talking about. This is a good idea for a video…I’ve put it on my “to do” list!
I play clarinet and searched up “easy ways to play clarinet if double jointed” and I get something about violin!!!!
Well, lucky you! The exercise has helped an oboe player, guitarist, knitter, and cellist! Let’s add clarinet to the list! With ANY hand exercises, be very careful with the tiny muscles in the hand. Less is more. Good luck!
I’m sorry but don’t get mad at the author. Your the one that read it ??
Oh my goodness, I wish I had found this video ages ago! I recently started re-taking violin lessons after stopping once I got out of school, and one of the things (if not the MAIN thing) I’ve been working on with my new teacher is how to get around my double-jointedness so I can have proper left hand position and better bow control, with the goal of having a better sound overall. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to look for my clothespins before…
A question: in your opinion, do you think this would also help to keep the fingers “in” their joints, for lack of a better description? One of my huge, huge tendencies is to let my index finger slip backwards so it’s not quite aligned with its joint any longer, and then let the neck of my violin rest on that little “platform” (but only sometimes… and never with arpeggios, which is weird!). It’s kind of like when the fingertip goes into that lovely little 90 degree angle trick, except with the joint where the finger meets the palm. I am assuming that if I can build up more muscle in the “proper” position that it will help keep my fingers disciplined along the whole line, but it’s always nice to have confirmation or correction, as the case may be. 🙂
Thanks for your comment! It was funny to read, because as a double-jointed person myself, I recognize all the jargon!
To answer your question:
YES….strengthening your hands, and specifically strengthening your hands in the nice, arched, proper position will help all aspects of your violin playing.
HOWEVER: Part of the problem with your index knuckle is due to squeezing. And no amount of strength training will help that, in fact it will make it worse, because you have more muscle to squeeze with.
So, it is of PARAMOUNT importance that you be vigilant, and learn to RELAX the left hand TOTALLY (as far as between the thumb and index). That requires that you have the best possible set-up of chin rest and shoulder rest.
That is a hard thing to learn, and takes patience and perseverance. But it’s worth it. It will set you free!
To me, it sounds like you are double jointed to the EXTREME, like, even more so than myself. I have had 2 other students who are EXTREMELY severe in their weak double joints, and they worked on relaxing, and re-training their joints for a year.
Other less double jointed people get results in the first month of clothespin exercises. (lucky us) But just be prepared for a year-long battle to learn relaxation, coordination, and strengthening. Good luck, help your teacher to understand the dynamics, and, of course, keep us posted here!
If you find yourself in dire straits, contact me for a Skype lesson.
Hi! My brother just started to take piano lessons, and I think he might have the same problem as me: his fingers collapse when he attempts to play forte. Will the clothespin exercise help with his weak fingers on piano? By the way, I play violin, and I will definetely try this exercise!
Yes, the clothes pin has helped a bassoon player, guitar, and clarinet, as well as someone who was a craft enthusiast….and had problems with joints collapsing when she……oh, I don’t remember. Cross stitching or something!!!!
Weak joints is weak joints! Clothes pin will help, regardless of what activity you need the strength for!
I was about to ask if it would work for clarinet. I figured it would, but nice to know it’s at least worked for oboe. I have 3 clarinet students right now (and 2 flutes) with double-jointed thumbs and one (soon to be two) is having a really hard time with playing over the break. I’m so glad I found this! I can’t wait to try it out next week. Thank you!
This exercise will work for ANY activity, because it’s not “violin-specific”…..it is “double joint-specific”.
Just make sure you do it carefully, ensuring that none of the finger or thumb joints collapse while doing it. Good luck!
I actually play guitar. I was wondering if you have to use a clothes pin. Can I use a spring?
Nick– You can use anything you can find that will give your fingers resistance. Just make sure you keep your fingers rounded, as shown in my video, and you will be fine! And be careful not to overdo it at first….it’s easy to strain those fine muscles. Good luck!
I am not a violinist but I had bee having trouble with knitting and making chain maille. I was having a lot of pain in my hands because my pinky joints were collapsing when I would work. I have been using the clothes pin exercise for about a week now and have noticed that even my typing is getting better. Thank you so much for posting this.
Thank you for posting! It amazes even me to hear from people about how they apply these exercises! I’ve heard from a clarinettist, a bassoonist, and now a master-knitter!
Take care! –Lora
I’m very happy!
I managed to open the clothespin at the first attempt with fingers round.
Less of a problem …
São Paulo, Brasil
Way to go, Luiza!! Seeing a noticeable improvement is an exhilarating feeling!! Sounds like it’s coming along great, so keep it up!
Wow! This wall exercises is really awesome! Please, keep the great work Ms. Staples !
Also, is it possible for someone to be double joitned ( in your oppinion ) and not to suffer from nearly ( and i say nearly because i did face a problem with my bow hold in the beginning ) any of the above problems?
Thanks once again about the wall exercise !
Maybe the biggest problem i’ve been facing so far has to do with spelling, rather than doublejointness. My english begins to become rusty lately.
Anyway, thank you ones again.
Practice and persistence. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
Although my fingers are Over flexible, i never faced any of those problems ( except the one with the thumb and the bow, i fixed that ones easely though ) and the closepin exercises are pretty easy for me. I am not getting it though. Despite the fact my fingers are over flexible, i can easely lock and the problems i face are minuscule compared to what you are discribing me. I’ll see if i can upload a video showing you my case later on. Thanky ou for your advice ( the wall exercise is cool by the way ) 🙂
OMG! I am so sorry! i accidentaly send you a wrong messege ! Sorry… i thought this message’s purpose was to be published on my profile upon creating my account! Im so sorry ! ( message ”learn how to listen, then you can play :)” ) oh my god, please forgive me i didn’t meen to send it to you !
Lol… if stupidity was talent, itzhak perlman would be polishing my shoes by now :p
My goodness! If beating yourself up for a silly mistake was a crime, you’d be serving life! HA HA !!!!
No worries 🙂
I do stupid stuff all the time….Itzhak Perlman already has a job polishing my shoes. Maybe Anne Sophie Mutter can polish yours! 🙂
Oh and by the way, my doublejointness only concerns my hands, as they are extremely flexible in all possible way. Should one handshake me while my hands are loose, he will sense my fingerbones ”floating” ( this is how bad it is ). I can touch the back of my hand with all my fingers ( especially with my right hand ) and unfortunately, i can also turn my fingers sideways. It cannot possibly be worse. When i saw this page i was so excited and at the same time frightened, for i didn’t believe this could possibly cause me problems. My bow hold is perfect but the biggest problem i encounter has to do with my left hand. My teacher says that i may vibrate too much ( low on the violin he doesn’t mind, but high up on the strings it can get pretty irritating at times, since i can get a 90 degree angle with my fingers bent sideways easely ). He tells me not to put so much pressure on the violin but frankly, i do not even know what is makeing me press the violin so hard. It may be because i don’t feel as i am vibrating when not moving my hand and fingers to the max, and so i put more pressure so that the violin doesn’t move because of my wide vibrato. Also, when me vibrato is not wide, i press the neck too hard and of course my neck follows my hand. Any ideas?
Wow, holy cow, it sounds like you set a new record for double-jointedness! But, don’t despair! It sounds like you are learning to work pretty well with it.
Still, I HIGHLY encourage you to get some clothespins, and do the double jointed exercises faithfully . You will start to notice improvements in your joint control in less than a month. With your extreme case, I would guess that you will not have all the strength you need in your joints for about a year of doing the exercises.
The exercises build STRENGTH, but you also have to learn what the problems are that come from double-jointedness. Your problem of squeezing is not due to double-jointedness. It’s just a bad habit that will have to be broken. It’s no biggie. It’s a hard habit to break, but you will prevail, I’m sure.
Now, about vibrato: I answered it pretty much in my other comment to you. Economy of movement, watch the TRAJECTORY of your oscillations. Pretend your finger is like a train on the tracks……there is no sideways!!!
But you are correct: Squeezing and pressure from your thumb will destroy your vibrato, so pin your scroll against the wall, and start learning to relax as you vibrate, and enjoy the feeling of a stationary scroll! It will feel so good to have all that extra motion go away, you will remember how it feels, and you will figure out how to achieve it without the wall.
Good luck. Share all this info with your teacher so he can help you to explore and correct. Even if he doesn’t know the answer right off the bat, he can be watching and thinking about it.
Keep us all posted on your progress with those double joints!
P.S. I want to make you aware of the most common issues that come from double-jointedness, so you can watch for them.
1) Left thumb likes to cave in at the base knuckle. This fights our vibrato, shifting, and agililty.
2) Left Pinky Base knuckle likes to “snap” in and out of position when lifting him up from a difficult position.
3) Left Pinky tends to go very “bow-legged”, and curves away from the ring finger, causing it to hit the string with the wrong corner of the finger pad. All fingers should contact the string on the THUMB side of the finger pad, not the pinky side.
4) Left pinky caves in and gets locked when playing a note
5) Right pinky likes to cave in and get “locked” on the bow.
6) Right thumb base knuckle caves in and gets locked. This is horrible for bow control.
6) All base knuckles tend to “wobble” giving us a general instability when playing notes with left hand. Strength, relaxation, and learning to contact the string with the fingers consistently in the correct corner of the finger pad will help with this.
Good luck! –Lora
thin sponge *
It’s those double joints! 😉
Hey there ms. Lora
I have to admit, it is the first site i see EVER giving advice to us double jointed people. I have been playing the violin for some time now and i have managed to build up on a great vibrato BUT… but i tend to curve my thumb under the neck. This way, i get a better vibrato motion but i press too hard on the violin. In the early beggining i tried using a shoulder rest but i felt as if it limited my vibrato and also, i tended to put so much pressure that my wolf shoulder rest would come out and scrach the bottom of my violin ( !! ). Fortunately, i changed to kun a while later. Now i have ended up using a shoudler shrad pad ( a very thing sponge, or two to hold the violin higher ) so that it does not slid off. Yes, i may get pretty uncomfortable while playing at times and although my vibrato on certain fingers is great, in some others i struggle to get it out because i move my hand, not my fingers that much. I have now tried to place my thumb next to the neck and i realize that i can now use even a wolf shoulder rest while playing. What is your advice, shall i continue what i used to do ( placing the thumb under the neck ) or try to ”invest” on this new way of playing?
Also, are double jointed fiddlers equally good to the rest of the fiddler population? What is your oppinion? Is there some way we could use our special fingers in a way so that it makes our playing better?
Thank you for your time.
Hi there, Argy!
That is tragically weird. I used a Wolf shoulder rest, and I too CRUSHED it under my shoulder and made a big gouge in my violin from that metal bar. Yeah, that’s a sure sign of a problem. And you know what my teacher told me when I showed her the problem and told her my shoulder was stiff and sore? She said to go work out at the gym and get STRONGER!!!!!!!!!!!! AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!
One advantage to being double jointed is the extreme flexibility that comes with it. So, that is one good thing to enjoy for all of the other problems that come with it. I can stretch my fingers wider than people with hands twice my size…and it’s a good thing, because my hands are very small, and I need every speck of stretch I can get!
Regarding your THUMB question:
The teacher in me says, “Do as I say, not as I do.” See, I play with my thumb under the neck too, because of my small hands, it helps me to reach around, and it also prevents me from squeezing the neck and getting tendonitis. The important thing to ensure, if you choose to put your thumb UNDER the neck is to MAKE SURE you are not doing it to support the violin.
If this is the right position for you, it will not inhibit or hold you back at all.
With that said, I would encourage you to give it a try to put your thumb to the side of the neck. Give it a good MONTH. During that month, focus on relaxation, posture, shoulder rest, and VIBRATO.
Speaking of vibrato, it sounds like you need to work on EFFICIENCY of motion. Learn to oscillate smoothly, along the string, and do NOT vibrate at a slant to the string….this causes the violin to shake. In other words, if you are a rocking chair on the string, make sure your fingers are oscillating exactly up and down the string, not at an angle. (yes, your fingers are at an angle, but your vibrato needs to find a trajectory that is exactly up and down the string. )
That is one of the biggest sources of the violin shaking during vibrato. Another cause is squeezing and tension….so your thumb tosses the violin around because it is pressing and fighting the instrument.
One really good way to help you eliminate this is to put your scroll against a wall, (put a cloth on the wall, and “pin” it there with your scroll) then work on your vibrato. It’s a GREAT sensation to vibrate with your violin remaining stationary, stable, and still. It will really bring your vibrato into alignment, it will teach you the sensation of aligned, stable vibrato, and eventually, you will be able to do it without the wall as a crutch.
Ok, I’ll go answer your other questions now! See you up above! –Lora
Oh my gosh I am so unbelievably grateful that you have written this. I’m double jointed at the base of my thumbs and as you said this makes it very tricky to play vibrato plus other violinists look at me strangely.
I’ve just recently started playing again regularly after a 10 year break and this problem has been really bugging me.
I’m gonna try this clothes peg thing and tell my new teacher about it so she can pass it on.
I am so glad you found me! I have pretty mutant hands that bend every which way (except the way I broke my finger, I found the ONE WAY it wouldn’t bend….in a car door!!!)
YES, share with others. You can link my YouTube video to your channel if you have one.
Let me know how it goes in about 2 weeks….you will be seeing a difference. (don’t strain your muscles)
Good luck! –Lora
I just discovered your article and it has been a godsend! I’ve been playing violin for about 10 years now but no teacher has really been able to give me a way to fix my double joints (which are pretty bad, might I add!). My question is in regards to vibrato. Towards the beginning of your video you showed us what the fingers look like when caved in. My problem is that towards the higher end of the fingerboard, vibrato becomes very difficult due to my fingers caving in. This is more prevalent in my 3rd finger and pinky where finger vibrato is extremely hard. I see it all the time in videos of violinists, where they shake that top joint of the finger to vibrate a note and I just wish i could do it! It’s been ‘okay’ in previous years but now that I’m doing some big concertos that require a powerful vibrato, I’m becoming very concerned. Will the clothespin exercise help with this or is there another exercise that can help with the control of the top joint?
Love the article and video!
Hi Alex! I’m glad you found me!
First of all…..I do have a REALLY simple exercise for developing strength in your “DISTAL” joints….but the clothes pin will definitely help.
Do you know why your fingers cave in worse in the high positions? I do!
It’s because you have to reach ACROSS the bouts of the violin, forcing your fingers to approach the fingerboard on a “flat” arch, rather than a nice tall, strong arch. As we know, a flat arch is not as strong as a nice tall arch.
The exercise is hard to describe, but I will try, until I get a moment to do a video:
The exercise is done on a table top.
Place your left hand so that the heel of the hand is resting on the table, and curve your fingers very naturally, so your fingertips are also resting on the table.
Start with 1 finger at a time, and slowly apply pressure to your fingertip as you simultaneously roll it back on the pad, until the joint is caved in.
Then roll it back onto the fingertip WHILE APPLYING PRESSURE.
You will notice on your weakest finger (for you, your 3rd) your distal joint will want to SNAP in and out of caving in. You MUST NOT let it snap. The object is to ONLY APPLY AS LITTLE PRESSURE as your distal joint can RESIST SNAPPING. Once you snap, you have to back off with the pressure, and try to ROLL your fingertip smoothly.
Try this on your INDEX finger. You will have more success with your index, because that is our “tool” finger, and we ALL have more development in the distal joint of our index finger than in other fingers. Compare it with your weakest finger, and you will be able to see what the objective is. You will be amazed at how hard this is…..but you will get results and strength in just 2 weeks if you do this daily.
Do this with the clothespin regime, and you’ll be playing vibrato in the upper positions in no time!
PLEASE let me know if the instructions were clear. Good luck! –Lora
I also have another question: this one is about my left hand….when i’m reaching for notes on the fingerboard ( i have pretty short fingers)…my thumb always bends back (i mean really back!!) when i’m reaching for notes with my other fingers………is there a way to correct that?….
ps. This happens a lot on the G string….its almost like my thumb is moving away from the string to make room for my fingers………i’m just confused on what i should do
Rosie–I’m not sure which way your thumb is actually moving when you say “away from the string”…..but I will tell you, I’m awfully short, although my fingers aren’t stubby. I have to tell my students to do what I say, and not what I do, because my thumb flattens out, back towards the scroll, and sometimes even UNDER the scroll. It is worst when I am playing a G-string passage, or when I really want an intense, focused vibrato. I suppose I could “unlearn” it, but none of my teachers ever “busted” me on it, I have a nice vibrato, shifting isn’t a problem….so I just “let it be”.
The way to correct it would be to just focus on that issue while playing EASY stuff, and then start playing harder and harder stuff, until you don’t have to concentrate on it any longer. But before you go to all that trouble, figure out if it’s a problem first. There are several acceptable positions for the thumb to take, because our body type plays a part in determining the position of the thumb. Taller people will have their thumb sticking up higher, shorter people will barely have their thumb sticking up. Some teachers teach the thumb to sit in the middle of the hand, others teach it to sit back by the nut. Clearly, there is some flexibility.
To me, the MOST important thing is a relaxed left hand, with no squeezing. The second most important thing is a balanced hand. I teach my students to put their thumbs back by the nut (behind the first finger tape) and they have all developed nice vibrato and shifting and left hand freedom. There have been a couple students who have really struggled with that position, so I sort of “got out of the way”, and their hand found the position that was best for them.
Thanks for the question! Good luck, and let me know if you need further clarification.
You are really good explainer. I have seen some of your videos and they are really helpful! I am a violin student. I have played for about 6 years but…every time i pick up the bow..my thumb automatically caves into the frog and I just can’t seem to fix it. I just started doing the clothspin exercise and still waiting to see results, but I just wanted to ask if the weight of the bow has anything to do with my caving of the thumb. I feel that maybe i have a heavy bow??…
Rosie– I don’t see how a heavy bow would contribute to your thumb caving in. Do the clothespin exercises….everyone who tries them starts getting results in less than 2 weeks. Make sure you are doing them CORRECTLY, and do not allow your joints to cave in on the exercise.
Also, try doing the “Windshield Wipers” exercise. Put your bowhand into a PERFECT hold, then extend your bow arm straight out front. You will move your bow pointing right, then pointing left by rotating your bow arm. Focus on keeping your thumb and pinky BENT. As you get stronger, do this exercise faster. Good luck! –L
LOL!! I know all about going too far with a new “hobby!” I’m a computer drafter by day, so my hands are very important and I already have some issues and can’t do everything that I want to do every day. I know when to take a break and promise not to overdo it 😉 Baby steps…
Hey Mary! Keep in mind that the Colle’ motion is a pretty advanced concept. For now, I would focus on teaching your pinky to balance on the frog, and keep your thumb bend, and work on strengthening those double joints. The Colle’ motion will become important a bit later, and when people try too hard too soon to do it, it just gets confusing. So, promise me you won’t jump into the deep end before you can swim!
After watching the colle and advanced bow hold videos, it’s very clear that I need to spend quite a bit of time with the clothespin 😉 The jellyfish without the pencil is easy enough, but add the pencil and my thumb goes back to its lazy ways. The advanced bow hold is easy enough until I try to apply bow to violin 😉 I’m going to spend the next week or so working on my thumbs and trying to develop some better habits and then I’ll check back.
Thanks for the VERY kind comment, Mary. I know the feeling….sometimes the language can make all the difference in the world! Even if 2 teachers are teaching the SAME principle, the language and delivery make all the difference. I’m so glad I speak your language!
So, I watched your YouTube video response on Bow Speed, and sent you a message on YouTube regarding your bow pinky. I’m anxious to hear back from you after you watch the Colle video and the Advanced Bow Hold video. Until then………….
Funny thing, I was just talking to Hubby about filming a response to your video about bow speed on YouTube 😉
I found your site this long Holiday weekend and finally I feel like I can understand the language of the violin, if that makes sense. I ordered Suzuki book 1 on your advice and will continue to read the articles here. The practice guide is wonderful, as are the YouTube videos.
I’ve only had my (cheap Chinese) violin since August, and was pretty happy with my progress. Then I started to watch your videos and made a big leap forward in progress in just one weekend. That sounds crazy, I know, but your language “clicked” for me and some issues that I’ve been having that seemed insurmountable are suddenly within the realm of possible correction.
Thank you so much for the great info!
Thank you so much for this video! I’ve been having the hardest time with my double jointed right thumb and now I think I can work towards strengthening it and getting better tone and flexibility with my bow.
I’m glad it was helpful, Mary! Keep us posted on your progress if you like. Also, speaking of tone, what do you think of the three tone videos you signed up for?
I just had my 2nd violin lesson. I think I have double joint problem on my left index finger. As a result, it gives in very easily and I can’t feel relaxed and my whole hand becomes tense. Would the clothes pin help in this case? Is there any easy fix? I do havd double joint on my left pinky as well, but my teacher told me to curve and try to press from sort of an under position as oppose to over on top arch. That fixed the problem instantly but I have to constant remind myself. I don’t remember that it was such a problem when I started violin at 6 and all the way till 18, but this apparently is a problem now.
Hope– The clothespin exercise will most DEFINITELY help! (and that is the easy fix you asked about….plus you get results very quickly) One other thing to help your pinky: Try to move the work load from the middle joint to the BASE joint of your pinky, thus recruiting the muscles in the heel of your hand. While you are using your base knuckle, train your pinky to stay arched. You will be amazed at how quickly this can become habit, meanwhile, the clothespin will solve the problem from a physical standpoint. Good luck!! –Lora
Hi.i just started taking vilon lessons and my teacher says that when my fingers on the fingerboard that they need to point twards you.my fingers are double jointed so doing this is REALLY hard. i will defanitly do this clothes-pin exersise but do you have any other things that could help!?
Actually, your fingernails don’t face you, they sort of face your left shoulder, so they are on an angle.
What exactly do your double-jointed fingers do? Is your pinky the problem? Or your thumb? Which way do you feel your fingernails face? If you can answer these questions, I’ll probably be able to help you.
Great info, thanks!
I just began taking violin lessons a month ago.
I have a connective tissue disorder and I am really struggling with my darn joints. I do think the clothes pin activity will help with the problem I am having with my thumb, but I am also having trouble with my wrist & shoulders.
In general they both sublux easily … especially my shoulders. I keep hearing relax more re playing the violin and I get this but sometimes relaxing my shoulders will slip out of play and I naturally tighten up to prevent it. OR my shoulders which happen to be in a permanently subluxed position will feel uncomfortable in certain positions during bowing.
Do you have any advice on joint issues of the wrist & shoulders? Also do you have any information I can give to my music instructor on this matter?
It sounds like you are being smart and pro-active about your disorder. I’m afraid I don’t have any information for your music instructor on this specific issue.
I would offer 2 main suggestions, recognizing that I’m no doctor or therapist: 1) Strengthen your muscles surrounding your weak joints. 2) Do some research on Feldenkrais Therapy….it’s sort of a “body awareness” type therapy which can help you to overcome the “urge” to tense your muscles to compensate for the tendency to sublux. I have heard miracle stories of musicians whose careers were saved by studying and applying this therapy to their conducting, violin playing, and piano playing.
It also teaches us to focus our motion on LARGER body parts rather than the LOCALIZED, SMALL body part which appears to be doing the work.
I’d love if you’d come back and share with us what you learn, because obviously, I know very little about it.