Pinky and the Brain (plus a husband)


Not the cartoon (sorry, guys!)

All this progress-less practice has gotten the brain going again, trying to analyze and problem-solve as it does. The second finger extension in 4th position was baffling it for a while, but Brain came to the conclusion that if I move my elbow just so, the extension isn’t nearly so difficult and thumb stays in place (mostly.) One problem solved, infinity more to go. But first, how did dear Brain come to this conclusion…?

It started out with my husband giving me a rather helpful suggestion: play backwards. Start with the harmonic A. Okay, that’s good, now add in the G-sharp. G-sharp to harmonic A is okay, now add in the F-sharp, and so on. It helped a bit, or at least wasn’t as much of a fail. I’m playing the right notes now, but to the wrong rhythm, which is better than the wrong notes to the wrong rhythm. What Brain kindly pointed out to me was this: when practicing the G-sharp to A harmonic, my pinky started out incredibly stiff and straight* and had to relax and curve to let 3 get up to the harmonic. This was talking a whole lot of extra time, which I don’t have when playing 16th notes. Brain then prompted me to see what happened if I made a concerted effort to keep pinky more curved. Turns out, it forces me to bring my elbow up and forward a bit to actually reach the string, but by doing that the extensions (my nemesis) are far easier.

After only 15 minutes of practicing with a not-ridiculously-straight pinky, said pinky became VERY sore and can hardly hold the string down. Mission: pinky exercises such that the finger shall be affectionately named “beefy.”

*Not my teacher’s fault. She has repeatedly tried to get me to curve it more, but I, foolishly, felt there were more important things to work on.


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