I have been playing violin for many years now but I am still finding it hard to control the placement of my fourth (little) finger when I am playing. I also have noticed that as my other fingers got stronger, my playing got more accurate and cleaner overall. Does anyone have suggestions on how to strengthen my fingers for playing violin?
@dalearn There can be many things which can improve your ability to be good at using the fourth finger. But what is relevant for you? I think it is a good idea to do some research on the net and I will recommend a very good book.
1) Google: fourth finger on violin
You will find that there are a lot out there on this topic.
2) Open YouTube and search: fourth finger on violin
There are many videos about the fourth finger on violin.
3) Get hold of Simon Fischer's book "The Violin Lesson". This is a very good book. In this book there are many pieces of advice regarding the fourth finger plus a lot of other stuff of course. Highly recommended.
It sounds like you do not need "strength", I see this misunderstanding all the time with guitar students (I've played violin, upright bass, and guitar). Strength will not improve control or accuracy. You may need to woodshed your technique. Control comes from training your body to move perfectly. That translates to drilling exercises at a snail's pace, scrutinizing your body movements, eliminating extemporaneous movements and working speed up with a metronome. Even if you are experiencing fatigue on slow notes, say with vibrato, it could be that you are causing your own fatigue by using too much force. In such cases strength will improve the symptom but only because the basic technique is not solid. This is the way I was taught on all instruments. Even the upright with giant strings, when set up and played correctly it takes very little strength to play.
There's an exercise that my violin teacher taught me that can help you strengthen your little/fourth finger. Hold your violin in play position and have your left hand in play position as well. Place your 3rd finger (ring finger) on one of the strings (doesn't matter which) and lightly tap your little finger on the fingerboard. You can also do an exercise, which involves all of your fingers. You just move your finger (one by one, starting with the index finger) across the 4 strings. Start on the G string and work your way to the E string. Put all of your fingers except for the 4th finger on the G string and move your index finger over to the D string, followed by the middle finger and the ring finger. After that, just move your fingers one by one (like that) to the A string, and then eventually to the E string, and you can move backward too. Eventually, you can try to increase the speed.