Practicing in the mornings, classical mentality angst

So I’ve started doing it before I even get in the shower. Probably not a good idea, but I can get a little bit in before then. Besides, I like it.

I’m seeing more than a little bit of advice telling me I need curved fingers to play, and I’m just not entirely on board with it. I do it when I can, but when I have my third and fourth fingers on the strings at the same time, curving the middle finger is just not going to happen. Even trying to curve it hurts and requires me to tense up my hand like a metal claw. I’m focusing more on the top knuckle and the next one out, and to be honest, the knuckle closest to the fingertip is not on my radar. (I’ve also encountered some advice to this effect as well, so clearly there’s no one uniform opinion.)

I think it would probably be best for me to not pay mind to too much advice, which sounds like a very flawed approach, but I can sense that old “IF IT HURTS TOO BAD — NO ONE CARES HOW IT SOUNDS IF YOUR FINGERS AREN’T TEXTBOOK” classical overachiever mentality rearing its ugly head, and I’m just going to stomp it dead here and now. I’m picking plastic strings, not performing brain surgery, and no one will die if I stop in the middle or my knuckle isn’t perfect.

I remember something the cellist Zoë Keating once said about how she started busking for rent money and was fearful that the total strangers around her were looking at her thinking, “Her pinky is wrong, and her shoulder is too high,” when suddenly one would come up to her, drop a fiver in her hat, and just say, “That was beautiful, thank you.”

I don’t need that nasty, mean-spirited little bastard voice to follow me onto this instrument as well, and unfortunately, it’s easily set off and by fairly innocuous (and even helpful!) comments. I will play as I play, in the most relaxed way that gives me the best sound, and if it doesn’t hurt and sounds nice, that’s all I’m aiming for. 🙂


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