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In this episode I’m chatting about the one thing I seem to be repeating A LOT in lessons lately. The left-hand thumb is SO important when it comes to having good and consistent intonation. If you have been finding that for some reason your extensions just are never in tune, or that your pinky is generally out of tune make sure you double-check the placement of your thumb. Teachers often chat about this in the beginning, but over time we tend to “forget” to mention it. But I have been noticing students even in only Book 2 of Suzuki really struggle if they have not addressed this. 

Of course, if you have a giant hand (aka Rostropovich, Starker, to name a few) then by all means you probably don’t have to worry about this. But for myself and most of the young students this is something to address especially as we reach for large intervals or extensions. To keep it simple I say keep your thumb ALWAYS under your middle finger. But if you can make a giant number 4 by tucking your thumb in and extend out your fingers that is actually a far more efficient way of doing extensions. There I notice my thumb is more under my ring finger!

Try this out and see if this will help you. Remember every hand is different, and ultimately you always have to use your ears to let you know you are playing the right note.


Have you been noticing anything odd about the form and shape of your left hand? Join in on the discussion!