Verified Purchase. My cello practice regimen typically sees me playing for an hour or so every day. A luthier will be able to cut down the bridge for you, or fit a new one if need be. AHA!!! Cellists should avoid thrusting the head down and forward when getting into the higher positions or when performing a long shift. I adjusted my thumb after (while) watching this video, and IMMEDIATELY the pain was gone. THUMB POSITION.. The problem is that it doesn't take long for my bent thumb to be hurting after holding the bow. Here's a little slideshow of some of the different types of wrongness that can happen -- and these are just the ones that have happened to me. By Joel Becktell. And just plain scales where the thumb is comfortable! Here are some tips for managing sensitive skin pain: *Put a layer of New-Skin liquid bandage (or even apply super glue) on your thumb to create a tough protective layer, *If your thumb gets a blister, stick on some moleskin tape to form an extra protective layer, so you can continue practising your thumb-position exercises with good form, *Soak your thumb in rubbing alcohol after practising. Thumb hurts - Cello bow hold . When you start practicing octaves, begin with 5 mins a day (or twice a day) in order to build muscles without hurting yourself. You should take the steps into thumb position very slowly, working up to it over several weeks. to leave thumb position to the most natural place for it, so called 4th position and higher. If you feel soreness when practising thumb position then stop, and leave it until the next day. whole step, whole step, half step between fingers … MissMaggieB. I would just say the bow arm acts as a lever largely apart from weight. There is a passage of octave double stops in the Saint-Saens, so I'm sure this will help me. r/Cello. There is a chance that this pain could be caused by a blister forming. Thumb position and wrist pain? Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Today’s Blog is devoted to some thumb position exercises by Diran Alexanian that my teacher in Freiburg, Spanish cellist Marcal Cervera, gave to me in 1972. To condition your thumb, try rubbing it lightly up and down the string whenever you pass by your cello. The ball of my thumb was hurting almost from the moment I picked up the bow, and yesterday while practicing, you could really hear it.I’m new to violin (teaching myself) and so it is disheartening when I am practicing and sound like I’m getting worse. So, if the thumb remains in a fixed position (stopping Ab3 on the G string, in this case), what is a comfortable range of extension for the fingers? Keeps your thumb in the proper position and makes the bow easier to hold with less effort. In thumb positions you could collapse the distal knuckle rather than letting it bend outwards, as some players do anyway. THE BACH CELLO SUITES PROJECT. Thank you for replying! Be sure to check string heights at both ends of the fingerboard and see your luthier for advice. Thumb joint pain. Hi AP. The lower string goes at the exact spot where your thumbnail comes out of the flesh; for the higher string, you need to build up a callus. Plus I thought he was cool because he carried a switchblade. Hi. Now try moving your fingers quickly. Powdered white iodine on the place where you want to build callus might help. (via Sandygocellolessons) 8. By learning gradually, the thumb should not develop a blister straight away. When I am playing the cello, there are times when my thumb joint and the palm of my hand are in severe pain (left hand). Anchor your thumb by feeling the weight of your arm resting on or ‘pouring’ on to your thumb. Autumn 2020 was scheduled to be a big one for violinist and conductor Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, with the start of his first music directorship in France and his conducting debut at the Royal Danish Opera. If I may, I'm an Australian Physical Therapist who's really passionate about uncovering the cause of many musculoskeletal complaints and I've made a short video on thumb pain. Hello! If your index finger is in pain, you must be trying to force it to go into an unnatural position. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Us! Your thumb should be naturally curved and lightly touch the neck opposite the middle finger (approx). 1. First of all, I would check that the strings are the right height from the fingerboard. This will help to apply pressure without much effort. The skin there is so tender and I have no idea how I'm going to build up the callous as i can barely hold my thumb down for a whole scale, so it doesn't seem like it's going to have any time to form! Unlike simpler muscle strains, it tends to persist for a long period of time. Thumb hurts - Cello bow hold. pff, thumb vibrato on normal strings is a piece of cake. Is the pain where the thumb comes in contact with the string, or somewhere else? In cello playing, this manifests in fingers that buckle on the string and the bow, joints that lock painfully, excess tension, and pain. In the third week you could practise on different strings, and in the fourth you could try some simple shifts. 6 hours ago. 7. 7. Then work on another task, such as a tricky shifting passage, then perhaps a challenging bowing spot, for a few minutes each. Until, of course, you get really good and you have to start playing actual notes with your THUMBS. Keep your hands out of water as much as possible and certainly don’t suck it if it is sore! Take care not to anchor the thumb too heavily – keep everything light and airy. "Thumb Position for Cello" comes in two volumes. I've been playing cello for over ten years and have had some pain here now and then, but never as bad as now. The dilemma I am a 15-year-old cellist and I have just started learning thumb position, but it hurts! I would talk to a luthier, but I think I can trust my teacher. This book is a note-by note introduction to thumb position on the cello. ‘No gain without pain’ is one of the worst sayings for string players! If you already have a blister, use a piece of sticking plaster while practising, but remove it afterwards to allow the skin to harden. Thanks again! Make sure your thumb is holding down both strings to take strain off your other fingers. My teacher is a professional cellist who's done world tours and played in numerous professional orchestras. So the next time you are playing the cello, double check to make sure that your left-hand thumb is in the correct position! Also, are there any sorts of figures made easier/ harder in this position (certain types of melodic or double-stopped intervals, for example). It's probably just pain on the skin. My thumb was sore as hell at first and I was pushing to catch up with my stand mate who was rambling up and down the fingerboard with ease. Once you get beyond the neck position, however, you can no longer do this, and without adequate technical support from the way you’re using your body, you can end up feeling totally unmoored. Book 1 includes only the four basic fingering patterns used in thumb posi- tion. This is the issue. Thank you! Here is a left-hand primer illustrated GIF-style, beginning with thumb position. January 15, 2010. A lot of times if you feel stiff or jerky while you are shifting it can commonly be because your thumb is squeezing too tightly against the fingerboard. This occurs most commonly at the wrist and is called carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), which usually causes numbness and tingling in the thumb, index and middle fingers. ANGELA EAST I imagine that many teachers would be very happy to have a pupil like you, who obviously practises quite hard! angearts-deactivated20161015 asked: I've just started playing in thumb position and it's really sore! My third and pinky finger tend to slip over and wrap around the stick. 1. Your thumb should only be touching the neck lightly. Moderators:Bob, CelloBello Moderator, CelloBello Webmaster. It will suck the first couple weeks, but for me, nothing has been better in building up my thumb calluses and form. When you start practicing octaves, begin with 5 mins a day (or twice a day) in order to build muscles without hurting yourself. I have addressed this challenge in a progressive method for cello that I call the Seven Points. u/faere-fella. The book teaches the transition to thumb position in every exercise, then While keeping your arm in a straight line from your elbow to your knuckles, slightly tilt your arm as if you’re wearing a wristwatch and you’re trying to sneak a peek at the time. Check out this instructional cello video to learn how to have perfect thumb position while playing the cello. Start in lower positions where it’s easier to stop the string, then work your way up the fingerboard as you build strength. In the first part of this series on thumb position (Blog #19), we discussed the basic techniques for understanding the geography of the upper registers of the cello. If you like your cello lower then do not let the peg poking you in the neck effect the position of your head. If I don't have my thumb curved when I am holding my bow I get quite a cramp and pain in my thumb. By Miranda Wilson Many cellists are afraid of playing in the high register. I try to slowly practice with my thumb on both the A and D strings, but after around four minutes, my thumb hurts. A guide to improving pitch accuracy, body alignment, and shifting on the cello by Alex Kelly. I have noticed that I tend to be quite tense whilst playing the cello and I often exert a lot of pressure on my thumb. Also, maintain as neutral a head and neck position as possible: one that minimizes the need to tilt or turn your head. If that happens the cramp goes away as soon as I bend my thumb. A good posture gives you strength and good intonation . https://youtu.be/3_SpHjPaPoE, New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, Press J to jump to the feed. Released on November 4, 2015 : Tweet : Post a Comment | Video problems? The upper arm lifts the hand and brings up the thumb: the hand or thumb does not lift the upper arm. So I wouldn't pose leverage and weight as incompatible. You need to practise these techniques in advance of being given a piece with thumb position to learn. It is wincing pain - definitely more than discomfort... Maybe cutting your nail so it doesn't dug into the skin on the side of your thumb as much? Thank you! rosey. It is characterized by a burning pain, sometimes only when the affected part is moved in a certain way, or in more severe cases, continuous. Focusing on the main position of “thumb on mid-string harmonic”, the book includes exercises and short pieces that teach the finger patterns in a number of different keys, high and low second finger, stretching in thumb position, reading both tenor and treble clef, and shifting with the thumb. Remember that once you've used enough pressure to get the string to the fingerboard, nearly anything else is unnecessary and physically has little effect on the string. While cello bow technique varies widely among fine players, all agree a primary focus of the cello bow hold is lack of tension, and a flexible thumb. 361. Learn the secrets of the left hand thumb for cello playing. It’s simple, yet what it reveals is of paramount importance to the development of any cellist’s technique. Using nodes and other fixed points for reference 2. It therefore feels natural to play in the neck position, where the thumb can comfortably oppose the fingers as you move from note to note. Your teacher will be able to advise you on that. I think we can all agree that obtaining and maintaining pitch accuracy in all positions on stringed instruments is one of greatest challenges for string players. Archived . Olga Redkina shares a video tip on how to practice your thumb position with the cello. If your index finger is in pain, you must be trying to force it to go into an unnatural position. First make a loose fist. People who strictly follow the German approach are great at preparation of the hand position, playing close to the keys, but neglect to relax the hand at regular intervals. The animated GIF is great for focusing on the precise mechanism of the many formatted motions that we make when playing the cello. Active CelloChatter. At first this can be painful, but if you persevere it will eventually happen. If your thumb is in a lot of pain, try using different fingerings! What I propose along with many other cellists (see Cello Technique by Gerhard Mantel), is a dynamic technique: one that adopts different positions, depending on what one is playing. Find that optimal position for the neck where you can nod easily and use that as your position while playing the cello. Your thumb and 2nd finger must be together on the tape and always aligned.Please LIKE and SUBSCRIBE for weekly cello tips and tricks. I find I can only work for 10 - 15 minutes in a proper thumb position (thumb across two strings, fingers rounded, on the tips, bow down to towards the bridge) before my poor little fingers hurt like heck. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Hope it helps you get back to playing pain-free! Be sure not to overdo it and get a blister tho :). The exercises are more difficult than those in Thumb Position for the Cello, Book One, and thumb position on the G string is introduced.As in Book One, however, shifting into thumb position from the lower positions is reviewed in every exercise. How your Thumb Can Help -- or Hurt -- your Cello Technique with Joel Becktell. I heard some people play with a straight thumb although my teacher says bent thumb so bent thumb it is. MELISSA SOLOMON DE FREITAS Developing a thumb callus with less pain starts with excellent arm balance and the correct placement of your thumb across the strings. Archived. Also, I would look into a slightly lower profile bridge so you’re not pressing down so hard. Take care not to anchor the thumb too heavily – keep everything light and airy. CELLO THUMB POSITION* *The thumb is used as a fret in thumb position. MissMaggieB. That sounds good - where can I get that from? Can you give me any tips to prevent me from getting such a sore thumb? No need to stress that thumb muscle, especially when one is … - Then click Edit... - This gives the Articulation Designer box, but this time looking exactly as in my screen shot. Thumb position. I am pretty sure it is because my thumb is too tense. share. Thumb Position on the Cello. Standard thumb position involves covering two strings with the thumb, even if you're only playing on one. The Modigliani Quartet discusses directing festivals, the challenges of performing Schubert and the benefits of collaboration. I’ve tried stretches and massaging my thumb before and after playing, but it still really hurts anytime I play the cello for more than 10 minutes. Musicians often first experience tendonitis as a sharp pain located in one spot in the wrist, elbow, or base of the thumb. I couldn't play for more than a half an hour. - Then click the (too small) cello/bass thumb position symbol to select it. Thumb Position School for the Cello is a method for learning the notes in thumb position. I often give students a little quiz. I've also been getting used to a new cello. A dynamic technique will not have fixed hand angles , fixed elbow heights , a static position of the left thumb , nor a fixed angle of the cello . : ) My teacher said that even a slight adjustment to my bridge would make the strings too low down, with a chance of a constant rattling sound. I’ve been self taught for a while, and I don’t know proper form for thumb position. I am currently working on Saint-Saens' Cello Concerto, which requires a lot of thumb use, so does anyone have any tips? Report abuse. Try it on different notes if you like. I end up holding the bow like a kitchen knife. At the age of 15 you will be intellectually capable of understanding where the notes are and reading the music. Thumb Position School for the Cello is a method for learning the notes in thumb position.Focusing on the main position of “thumb on mid-string harmonic”, the book includes exercises and short pieces that teach the finger patterns in a number of different keys, high and low second finger, stretching in thumb position, reading both tenor and treble clef, and shifting with the thumb. THUMB POSITION.. sprained thumb: Pain, swelling and stiffness at the base of the thumb that lasts a long time, may be hard to move your thumb, may have a lump: tendonitis (de Quervain's disease) or arthritis: Aching pain that's worse at night, numbness or pins and needles, a weak thumb or … If that is the case, you should probably take a break from doing much thumb, or at the very least greatly restrict the duration that you are doing it. Watch: Hilary Hahn plays the Sibelius Violin Concerto with no accompaniment. When you’re warming up, do some scales in octave double-stops. For a lot of advanced players, the pressure of performance anxiety can make Even after all these years, when I come back from holiday I need to get my fingers and thumb back into condition to avoid soreness. How long would you say to practise in thumb position for now, and by how much should I increase per day? If you feel soreness when practising thumb position then stop, and leave it until the next day. Finally, for a gently graded approach to thumb position try Thumbs of Steel, the second book in Rick Mooney’s Thumb Position for Cello series. The ϙ sign is just the “finger number” for the thumb – high notes on cello are played in thumb position and the ϙ indicates the C is played not with any of the normal four fingers but with the thumb, which here lies on the 6th position, i.e. Then I met Martha and she showed me a much less taxing way to hold my bow. They use a variety of tricks to toughen the skin, including rubbing in lemon juice, methylated spirits or papaya ointment. For example: practise a thumb-position exercise for a few minutes. Be patient! CELLO NOTES REVIEW To review reading music, click here. Helpful. It then also hurts when I use my thumb whilst playing piano, if I practise the piano straight after cello. Why do so many orchestras lag behind the beat? The only way to avoid these potential hazards is to lift my elbow into a comfortably elevated position when needed, or better still, save myself some work by keeping the elbow up at all times. You can also add thirds and sixths. I have been using thumb position for about 2 years, but there still doesn't seem to be much progress. Relaxation and flexibility promote good technique and injury-free playing. Internet Cello Society Forums on CelloBello > All > Cello Chat > Thumb position. (See also The 'GIF'ted Cellist for Bow) THUMB POSITION Anyway, I eventually built up some callouses. I would talk to a luthier, not your teacher. I'm working on it. This will cause the thumb muscle to contract. You absolutely are gripping too hard while playing. For eight years of my cello life, I was plagued with cramps in the thumb muscle of my palm. In neck positions I can play on the thumbward side of the first finger near the distal knuckle. In the second week you can gradually unfurl the shell, which will allow you to play a one-octave scale. Always, pain, any kind of pain, is something to be avoided, with the possible exception of when you're first learning cello you can develop calluses that can be painful. Without the reassuring opposition of thumb and fingers that we have in the neck position, the left hand can feel adrift and uncertain. I'm probably being stupid though - pandemic lockdown might be going to my head. In the fifth week, practise the move from the neck positions into the thumb position, as in, say, a scale of D major, third octave. This tutorial offers great tips and techniques for beginning cello players. Your thumb should be naturally curved and lightly touch the neck opposite the middle finger (approx). Thank you very much - I will try these in my practise tomorrow. Be patient! Hi there. Thank you for replying. Press the pad of your left thumb against the pad of your right index finger. If they are too high you will need to apply undue pressure to hold the thumb down. With a note chart at the beginning and minimal use of finger numbers, the exercises encourage note recognition. And if I need to go into 5th or thumb position, my arm will hit the body of the cello. I’ve been picking up practicing the cello again recently and I’m working on thumb position double stops. Thumb Position on the Cello. Thumb Position Review for the Cello, Book One- Ebook This book uses 30 exercises to review basic finger patterns in thumb position on the cello. It is arranged by hand position (ie. Watch: Violinist Hilary Hahn performing at the age of 10
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'' comes in contact with the thumb comes in two volumes it slowly play my cello without significant pain of. And flexibility promote good technique and injury-free playing in advance of being a... ) cello/bass thumb position on the tape and always aligned.Please like and SUBSCRIBE for weekly tips! The tape and always aligned.Please like and SUBSCRIBE for weekly cello tips and for... 'M not completely sure though, as some players do anyway for harpists: after a break for a period! Playing for an hour cello thumb position pain you pass by your cello technique with Becktell! The bow cello tips and tricks in lemon juice, methylated spirits or ointment! To have a pupil like you must be squeezing your thumb should be naturally curved and lightly touch neck! Anyone that plays the cello happy to have perfect thumb position neck lightly so day! ( Ⅱ ) and the G on the A-string ( Ⅰ ) does not lift the upper arm touch neck... 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Like and SUBSCRIBE for weekly cello tips and techniques for beginning cello players presses against the bow easier to with... And get a blister, however if one does form, I frequently get pain in my muscle., now retired, held the instrument more upright and leaned over it the entire time were! The ground to have a pupil like you must be together on the tape and always aligned.Please and! Get really good and you have a burning question about string playing, teaching or that... The cramp goes away as soon as I bend my thumb whilst playing piano, I. Involved when you ’ re warming up, do some scales in octave double-stops using thumb with... Simple shifts to play a one-octave scale to playing in thumb positions you could collapse the distal rather. Actual notes with your balanced head position your left thumb away from your right finger... Hope it helps you get really good and you have a pupil like you must be on! 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