Hopping section in song of the wind

Nora Friedman said: Jan 7, 2013
Nora FriedmanViolin, Suzuki in the Schools
Brooklyn, NY
29 posts

I recently had a very interesting discussion with a parent. He told me that his older son, who did not study with me, was told by his teacher that the hopping section in song of the wind was actually the first stage of song of the wind and that a Rolling third finger was the final goal. In other words, first you learn the hop and then you learn the roll in review, and so did it even matter whether you learned the hop at all? This got me thinking because I had never considered the idea of a rolling third finger as opposed to a hop. I’m curious to know Other teachers thoughts. I Have always taught that the first finger is an anchor, and that third finger lands independently onto the a string and then lifts up and is set down independently on the e string. Thoughts?

Ruth Brons said: Jan 7, 2013
Ruth BronsViolin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

I use the third measure of Song of the Wind as an opportunity to review left hand position rules, and to point out that sometimes rules need to be broken.

  1. Fingers should stay down, lightly, whenever possible, because it’s so nice to have the finger there, ready to play, when you need it. Hence, first finger F# stays down the entire measure.

  2. Our rule is for the third finger be placed like a rainbow, with the finger tip neatly on its nose, with a straight wrist, BUT, when there are two notes on adjacent strings needing that same finger in rapid succession, we can break that rule, temporarily, for the “smoosh.”

Kids love to know the rules.
And they love breaking them!

Michelle McManus Welch said: Jan 7, 2013
 Violin, Viola
36 posts

I thought that was taught that the ‘hoping finger’ was how you taught beginners, and as they advanced they could cover both strings as Ruth mentioned. A rolling finger doesn’t make sense to me technically at all … could the parent (or that teacher even) misunderstood? Or am I misunderstanding … the finger is moved to ‘roll’ or ’smoosh’ as it covers both strings???!

Michelle Mc Manus Welch

JoAnn said: Jan 7, 2013
 Violin, Viola
17 posts

I never, ever want my students to roll fingers across a string to block a fifth. And this should not be an issue—at least for repertoire below book 10 or further level, when a really nasty technical passage may force you to do this.

This changes the position of the fingers and usually results in a change of hand position.
If the fifth is to be stopped without a hop, it needs to be done with the finger blocking across the two strings, but kept in a very upright position, never “smooshed” or pulled sideways.
I don’t ever block the fifth on Song of the Wind as I do want to encourage the ability to hop across a string quickly, and the stop bows allow this to happen, but if I did (and I will probably start doing this as a preview to Waltz) I would make sure to have the student place the finger across two strings and not roll.

I teach a blocked fifth in something like Devil’s Dream fiddle tune in late bk I or early Bk II, where the first finger stays blocked across the E and A while the three bounces up and down and by the time Waltz comes around, the student needs to be able to place the 3rd finger down on the D and A together for the slur from g to d- but I am quite adamant that the hand and finger remain in a good position (more of the finger is on the upper string and just a corner on the lower string with the finger nail facing the students face as much as possible) and do not roll or squash the finger across. This will allow the intonation to be perfect, and not allow the hand to pull out of position.

Paula Bird said: Jan 7, 2013
Paula BirdViolin
Wimberley, TX
344 posts

Absolutely! The hopping third finger teaches the child how to hold left hand up at the appropriate height for the Estring level. If the child uses the rolling third finger technique which shows up in later Suzuki repertoire, the child will be allowed to drop their left hand to mimic the right hand’s dropping to the lower level, and this is incorrect.

Yes, there is a good reason for teaching the jumping finger at this stage in the game. I believe I have written several articles about this on my blog. Let me see if I can find some links to the explanation.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com
http://artisanquartet.com

Michelle McManus Welch said: Jan 7, 2013
 Violin, Viola
36 posts

I agree, I’d never want a student to roll or squash the finger across to cover both strings at an early stage and not have a good position; that was the reason for my confusion. I also agree that there has to be a good position when the VERY ADVANCED student uses a blocked 5th. WHEW, sometimes it is HARD to use words instead of showing to discuss these topics!!!

Michelle Mc Manus Welch

Nora Friedman said: Jan 9, 2013
Nora FriedmanViolin, Suzuki in the Schools
Brooklyn, NY
29 posts

This is soooo helpful and forwards my thinking. I was thinking about Waltz and I think I even hop my third finger there. Thanks for all the thoughts, especially about hopping.

Paula Bird said: Jan 9, 2013
Paula BirdViolin
Wimberley, TX
344 posts

Yes, I hop in Waltz too, but it has to be more subtle and quicker.

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com
http://artisanquartet.com

Michelle McManus Welch said: Jan 9, 2013
 Violin, Viola
36 posts

Never thought of it as ‘hopping’ in Waltz, but of course it is same finger movement. It’s interesting to think of it that way.

Michelle Mc Manus Welch

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Discussion forum posts are public. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.