Teaching our fingers like children

TEACH YOUR FINGERS LIKE CHILDREN:  give them specific information, repeat the information, be patient, be kind!  I was working on a shift with a student yesterday, and the solution came down to geographical knowledge of the fingerboard, and the hand to measure distances accurately.  It was a simple shift, from first finger C on the D-string, to third finger C sixth position on the A-string.  If one thinks in terms of relative positioning, the distance the hand needed to move was ONLY one whole step.  But several things were necessary for a successful shift.  First, before shifting, the student needed to organize the hand by measuring a minor third between the first and third fingers.  Then, the third finger needed to be resting on the A string in preparation.  Thirdly, the student needs to Have a Specific Thought, “I am shifting one whole step”. Voila.  Success.  This particular student does not have well developed practice habits, and most specifically, relies on the ear to find notes on the instrument.  What we discussed and practiced yesterday I call “mapping” – organizing our brain for geographical awareness and relationships.  This is the information that our body needs – from there, we patiently and kindly repeat the pattern until it is learned.  And success is achieved!

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