Ask the Experts: helping double-jointed students

crop double jointed

Five teachers and health specialists respond to a reader's query on how best to teach a double jointed student.

The dilemma I have a new student, quite advanced, who has a double-jointed left thumb, and plays with it in a locked ‘L’ position (pictured). I am afraid that this may affect shifting, intonation and vibrato, and I feel she should relearn her left-hand position with a relaxed curved thumb. Would you agree? If so, what would be the best way to encourage her to practise in a different way? One curious thing is that in moving to third position, she will actually go to fourth position, and play with the hand leaning back to get the third-position notes.

MIMI ZWEIG The double-jointed thumb is always a difficult nut to crack. On the positive side, double-jointed students have the advantage of flexible knuckles that facilitate a warm vibrato. If the thumb can remain loose and slide gently along the fingerboard during shifts...

Subscribe now to keep reading …

This article is available exclusively to subscribers – subscribe now

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Strad subscription

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. To access this content you need to be a subscriber.

As a subscriber you’ll receive:

  • Monthly issues* packed with news, interviews and features
  • Special supplements including Accessories, Degrees, Cremona and String Courses
  • A monthly digital edition and an archive of online issues going back to January 2010
  • Full access to all premium online content on
  • Two posters a year and the annual Strad Directory*

*To receive the posters, the Strad Directory and issues and supplements in print, you will need to take out a print + online package

 If you are not ready to subscribe, register now to enjoy a selection of free content (excludes premium subscriber-only articles)