D String Finger Fun

Good times ahead!

This article is going to be centered primarily around finger exercises and a video to help you play along. The goal of these exercises is to help you get comfortable with using your fingers to make notes on the violin, as well as memorize where your fingers are placed. Additionally, these exercises will help build dexterity in your hands.

As we previously discussed, don’t use your 4th finger just yet. We will have another post that features and focuses on the 4th finger in all it’s glory. So follow me along as we further discover the violin and create muscle memory.

A string finger fun

Once you’ve gotten comfortable with these fingers on the D string, use them to practice your fingers on the A string. You will do this after you are finished here and you have gone through the article “Notes on the Violin: A String”.

Once again for reference, the fingers on the violin are as follows:

  • Yellow=1st finger
  • Red=2nd finger
  • Blue=3rd finger
  • Orange=4th finger

Muscle memory

This term refers to something that happens when we perform an action often. Our bodies begin remembering it! In that way, we will one day get to the point where we don’t even have to think about our fingers and where they are supposed to go. However, this requires practice and a whole lot of it.

With each exercise, I want you to perform them fifteen (15) times in one sitting. Then, I want you to do 3 “sets” of the exercise. So for example, you would perform the exercise 15 times, then rest 10 seconds. Then pick up your violin and perform it again 15 times, then rest 10 seconds. Then pick up your violin again and perform the exercise another 15 times.

Exercise 1

As a reminder, “0” means for you to play the open string. So when you see “0”, play the open D string. For this exercise, I will be using finger numbers followed by the letter names for the tapes. Refer to the reference for location of said fingers and which color they are:

Fingers        Tapes

00001111     0000 YYYY

11112222     YYYYRRRR

22223333    RRRRBBBB

33332222    BBBBRRRR

22221111     RRRRYYYY

11110000     YYYY 0000

0                  0

Exercise 2

The same rules apply here, we’re just going to play them in a different order to keep your fingers guessing and to help improve your dexterity.

Fingers        Tapes

00110011     00 YY 00 YY

11221122     YYRRYYRR

22332233     RRBBRRBB

33223322     BBRRBBRR

22112211     RRYYRRYY

11001100     YY 00 YY 00

0                   0

Exercise 3

Again, same rules. Here’s another exercise to keep you growing!

Fingers         Tapes

01010101     0Y 0Y 0Y 0Y

02020202   0R 0R 0R 0R

03030303    0B 0B 0B 0B

12121212      YR YR YR YR

13131313      YB YB YB YB

23232323    RB RB RB RB

30303030   B0 B0 B0 B0

0                   0

Exercise 4

And finally, we have our last exercise. We will be using these exercises for other strings as we learn their names and practice playing on them, so log these fingers and tapes away in your mind for use later.

Fingers         Tapes

01230123     0YRB0YRB

12301230     YRB0YRB0

23012301     RB0YRB0Y

30123012     B0YRB0YR

01230123     0YRB0YRB

0                   0

Final thoughts

TIP: Start out slowly, do not rush through these exercises. The most important thing is to build up your muscle memory and that requires slow playing. Once you can remember the fingers used, where they are placed, and the order in which they are played during the exercises, you can begin to pick up the speed. If you are practicing every day for about 20-30 minutes, you should be able to speed things up within a week or so.

I hope this helps everyone! Practice every day and always remember to have fun!

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