QUOTE(MollyB @ Feb 7 2010, 07:34 PM)
When I use my 4th finger, my teacher points out that not only do I bring my elbow under (which is good) but I also move my hand (which is apparently NOT so good!!).
Its hard to explain, but when I use fingers 1-3 I just place them on the string. When I use my 4th, I bring my hand slightly over the fingerboard to reach. Not so much on either A or E; more on D and G.
Having played piano for 10 years when I was a kid, I know I have short fingers which is why I compensate by moving my hand slightly.
Is it really so wrong to do that?
My greatest fear is that your teacher is blindfolded to your own physique. No two people have exactly the same hand shape, size or flexibility, however, while there is a basic shape the hand should make over the fingerboard, certain compromises have to be made for those with small hands or short fingers - especially the little finger.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with rotating the hand from the wrist in order to provide additional reach, or indeed opening the hand out more, but, shifting the entire hand would be considered poor technique. This is bacause too much movement of the entire hand will cause issues with intonation.
If you can get your hands on a copy of Simon Fischer's Basics
, you'll find there's a complete section on hand position for those with large hands and those with small hands. A lot of this information has been previously published in the mid-20th century by the violinist Ivan Galamian, so it's not something that's totally new. His work, along with that of Dorothy DeLay, take a holistic approach to teaching rather than forcing all students into the same mold.
It's just unfortunate there are still a lot of teachers who stick to old school techniques.
EDIT: Finger strength will increase with practice and so will flexibility, so don't despair.