Expanding the Hand Frame: Reaching Back with the 1st Finger

In our previous lessons, we’ve touched upon the concept of reaching back with the 1st finger while building a reliable hand frame (search for ‘reach’ in search field to find these lessons). This is essential for creating a comfortable and relaxed hand position, ensuring that the fingers fall naturally into their correct places on the fingerboard from their base joints.

A well-established hand frame accommodates the easy and comfortable placement of the little finger. For most players (depending on hand size), this means slightly reaching back with the 1st finger in general. Additionally, there are many instances where reaching back to play notes with the 1st finger can help avoid the need to shift the entire arm (and hand) to a new position.

To develop this skill, we will practice an exercise that focuses on reaching back with the 1st finger while keeping the hand as stable as possible. The goal is to let only the 1st finger reach back without involving any movement of the entire hand or arm.

Keep your hand as relaxed and still as possible, including the 3rd and 4th finger. Feel how your thumb supports the violin and does not shift down. The 1st finger touches the fingerboard very lightly and releases even further when changing notes.