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How to hold your bow

Now it’s time for explaining how to hold your bow.

To begin, it is more easy if you use a pen or a pencil to practise. The weight of the bow makes if more difficult in the beginning. I also use this method with my beginning students. The bow you hold with your right hand.

I will show you in steps what you should do.

 

Holding pen with fist

 

The thumb position

 

Position of pinky

 

Position of index finger

 

End result for right hand for the bow

Please look very careful to the pictures. This will make sure you learn it the right way. If you do this a lot of times you will get used to it. I think almost everyone who plays the violin find this difficult. So don’t give up if it doesn’t work in the first few times. You will see that after a while it’s getting much better! I give my students the same advises about this. Playing the violin will be easier if you learn it the proper way.

If this is going well you can try it with your bow. Follow again the photos and do exactly the same things. But first! You have to do just one more thing before you can play it.

First you have to do something with the bow before you can use it on the violin. Probably the hair of the bow is not tight. For playing it needs to be tight. So what you must do is using the screw at the beginning of the bow.

Hair of the bow is without tension

On this picture you can see when there is no tension on the hair.

 

Hair of the bow after turning the screw
As you can see on this picture, the hair is now tight. This is how you get that result: Hold the bow like this: [First step for turning the screw.jpg [Second step for turning the screw.jpg And turn the screw to the front. If you turn it to the back, to your side, it will be un tight again. When you are done playing you always have to turn it back to your side. Otherwise there will be a lot of tension on the bow every time. The next thing you do is the same as you did with the pen or pencil. But now you should hold the middle of your bow with your left hand. Otherwise it is more difficult to hold it for your right hand. The next pictures will show you how to hold the bow with your right hand. [Holding the bow first step with fist.jpg [Holding the bow second step round thumb.jpg [Holding the bow third step round pink.jpg [Holding the bow fourth step round indexfinger.jpg [End result holding the bow.jpg [Position of bow on the violin.jpg Maybe you’ve noticed that you feel a lot of tension in your fingers and wrist. That is almost with everyone the case when you first hold the bow. Try to get the tension away as soon as you put the bow on the strings. You have the feeling maybe you’re going to drop the bow, but when it is on the strings it will be save. Are you ready to play the violin with your bow? Put your bow on the A string and pay attention you stay in the area between the bridge and the fingerboard. There you get the most beautiful sound. It often happens in the beginning you also hit some other strings. For a great sound it is better just to play one string. The bow has to be on one string. Almost everyone gets a strange sound out of the violin. If this happen the first time, please don’t think you can’t do it. Trust me, if you just do what I say now, it will sound much better! Bowing: When it sounds a little bit strange, you can try not press too hard on the string or maybe you just play not too soft. Use a lot of the bow when you play the string. Can you already hear some difference? If not, try to find out if it sounds too soft or too loud. And then you can correct yourself. Play every string and you will notice that you have to move you arm differently every time you play an other string. On the G string your arm is much higher than when you are playing on the E string. [Position of arm playing on the G string.jpg This is the position of the bow when your are playing on the G string. [Position of arm playing on the E string.jpg This is the position of the bow when your are playing on the G string. To practise this you can play every string, beginning with the G string, 4 times. Use the whole bow for a nice sound. Still you have to make sure that you stay in the area between the bridge and the fingerboard. Important! Only use your under arm. This will prevent you from bowing sideways and playing on the fingerboard with the bow. The sound will also be better. Play a lot of times and practise the right position of the fingers on the bow. With this you will learn it faster. Tip! If you listen to some violin music, you can hear how it sounds and you can try to make the same clear sound on your own violin.

Hair of the bow after turning the screw

As you can see on this picture, the hair is now tight. This is how you get that result: Hold the bow like this:

First step for turning the screw

 

Second step for turning the screw

 

And turn the screw to the front. If you turn it to the back, to your side, it will be un tight again. When you are done playing you always have to turn it back to your side. Otherwise there will be a lot of tension on the bow every time. The next thing you do is the same as you did with the pen or pencil. But now you should hold the middle of your bow with your left hand. Otherwise it is more difficult to hold it for your right hand.

The next pictures will show you how to hold the bow with your right hand.

Holding the bow first step with fist

 

Holding the bow second step round thumb

Holding the bow third step round pink

 

Holding the bow fourth step round indexfinger

 

End result holding the bow

 

Position of bow on the violin

 

Maybe you’ve noticed that you feel a lot of tension in your fingers and wrist. That is almost with everyone the case when you first hold the bow. Try to get the tension away as soon as you put the bow on the strings. You have the feeling maybe you’re going to drop the bow, but when it is on the strings it will be save.

Are you ready to play the violin with your bow?

Put your bow on the A string and pay attention you stay in the area between the bridge and the fingerboard. There you get the most beautiful sound. It often happens in the beginning you also hit some other strings. For a great sound it is better just to play one string. The bow has to be on one string. Almost everyone gets a strange sound out of the violin. If this happen the first time, please don’t think you can’t do it. Trust me, if you just do what I say now, it will sound much better!

Bowing: When it sounds a little bit strange, you can try not press too hard on the string or maybe you just play not too soft. Use a lot of the bow when you play the string. Can you already hear some difference? If not, try to find out if it sounds too soft or too loud. And then you can correct yourself.

Play every string and you will notice that you have to move you arm differently every time you play an other string. On the G string your arm is much higher than when you are playing on the E string.

Position of arm playing on the G string

This is the position of the bow when your are playing on the G string.

Position of arm playing on the E string

This is the position of the bow when your are playing on the G string.

To practise this you can play every string, beginning with the G string, 4 times. Use the whole bow for a nice sound. Still you have to make sure that you stay in the area between the bridge and the fingerboard. Important! Only use your under arm. This will prevent you from bowing sideways and playing on the fingerboard with the bow. The sound will also be better. Play a lot of times and practise the right position of the fingers on the bow. With this you will learn it faster. Tip! If you listen to some violin music, you can hear how it sounds and you can try to make the same clear sound on your own violin.

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