Thank goodness for opposable thumbs! One of the key components to a good forward extension, happens behind the cello… and I don’t mean you, I mean your thumb. Having flexibility in thumb movement is essential to a good forward extension especially if you have small hands. Why is this? It is because the thumb is responsible for balancing and supporting your hand and if it remains too far back the 4th finger goes flat. Too far forward the 1st finger goes sharp. This is true in first position and is as well for forward extensions. So can you guess what I’m going to say next? You got it! The thumb must move forward when executing a forward extension otherwise the 4th finger will be flat. I typically try to keep the thumb in relation to the second finger so that they move forward together. This is why I placed this video AFTER the shifting video , I wanted you to have a bit more experience and develop thumb flexibility to make it a bit easier to learn forward extensions. The beauty of extensions, is that they give us the opportunity to reach forward or backward a 1/2 step thus eliminating the need for a shift. Woohoo!! There is a purpose to this madness after all! While they feel a bit difficult at the beginning you will come to feel at ease with them and love the usefulness that they provide.
Today’s tutorial walks you through the basic steps of how to execute forward extensions and I’ll be using an A major one octave scale and D major two octave scale to introduce them. I hope you enjoy!
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