Following are discussions I've had regarding increase one's endurance in
the last couple of months.
I'm having trouble practicing some of the more difficult passages
from my orchestra. My left hand seems to tire easily, and I don't
feel that I have good independent useage of my third finger (especially
when playing notes alternating between the third and fourth fingers).
I bought a set of grip strengthers, Denise Austin brand, since I
thought the lighter action may be more apt to increase endurance
and flexibility. Do you have an opinion and/or experience about
this? Thanks. J.
The most effective thing you can do to increase your hand/finger endurance is
to practice a lot. Do a lots of scale work, including double-stops like
3rd's and 6th's, which provide great hand/finger exercise.
I am concerned about your tiring hand. This shouldn't happen, in general.
Make sure your thumb is not clenching on the back of the neck, and that you
are not "squeezing" the fingerboard between your thumb and fingers. If you
are playing a piece with lots of extended position, like the Gigue of the 4th
Bach Suite, find those precious moments where you can relax your hand,
letting it go back into non-extended position, even if just for a moment.
For instance, if you don't have a B-flat on the A-string for awhile, don't
keep your hand in backwards extended first position; relax.
And don't forget to breathe! This is very important. If you start to feel
tired, your natural reaction is hold your breath. Do the opposite and
breathe naturally. This will tend to rejuvinate you.
If you feel pain, PLEASE stop for awhile and figure out what the problem is.
Make sure your wrist is flat and not bent, or you will risk carpal tunnel
syndrome, and lessen your endurance.
When alternating between your 3rd and 4th fingers, make sure your 3rd finger
is kept down. Don't "type" on the fingerboard, ie. playing one finger at a
P.S. Some advocate practicing the Cossman studies, which use a lot of
repetitive motion in awkward hand positions. Please be very careful with
these. If not practiced in a healthy manner, you risk getting tendonitis,
carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.