So whenever I'm doing an exercise like this:


My pinky moves upwards as I'm doing the first/second/third frets. Is this something I should fix?
The entire purpose of these sorts of exercises is to allow yourself time to consciously remedy these unintentional movements; they're non-musical, but can be effective mediums for refining technique. It's absolutely worth investing time in minimizing your pinky's involuntary movement to ensure that you're not wasting any energy and can play as efficiently and effortlessly as you are capable of potentially doing.

First, break the exercise down into the smallest possible source materials you can; at the moment you're covering 6 strings, which is enough to think about on its own. Try the exercise on only your first - thinnest - string for now.
Secondly, divide each of your fingers off into pairs, and practice moving only one finger at a time - that is, the one needing to move in order to fret a note; practicing a string of four notes is too much to gain any sort of benefit.
For an example, fret with your index finger, sounding a note, and then your middle finger. At the same moment your second finger is fretting, your first finger should relax, relieving it of effort exerted on the string. By relaxing fingers not in use, rather than lifting them, you're not exerting a conscious force which will result in extraneous movements in both that finger, and those not currently in use. (Also remember to keep your motions small for the purpose of accuracy and to conserve energy). This is to say that your ring and pinky fingers should stay relatively still when endorsing this method.
The aim here is to ''pivot'' between two fingers, which is a repetitive, easy-to-digest motion, allowing you to integrate the movements and make them passive in a short span of time. Your active attention can then be more diligently dedicated to your two fingers not in use (the aforementioned ring and pinky), which should stay relaxed, hovering above their respective frets and ready to play; consider them benched baseball players prepped and ready for a signal from the coach.

You'll want to adopt this same strategy for each pair of fingers, being mindful to practice as slowly as need be to ensure small, controlled, relaxed movements from fingers in use, and stationary readiness from those not in use. ''Slow'' means comfortable, and so long as you do so, you'll be setting yourself up for success.
Once you're comfortable with pairs, try sets of three fingers across all permutations, including different orders of fingers (1-2-4, 1-4-2, 2-1-4, 2-4-1, 4-1-2, 4-2-1, etc.), endorsing the same methods and mindset.

10-15 minutes a day is all that's needed to set yourself up for drastic improvement by week's end, so long as you practice slowly, and by paying active, conscious attention to your movements. The aim is to develop muscle memory, so that every movement you enact is passive.
Last edited by juckfush at Dec 12, 2012,