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Tips & Tricks: The one-minute bow

The one-minute bowWhen playing the fiddle, most of us tend to think about our left hand far more than our right hand. At first glance it would seem that the left has a lot more to do since it is in charge of playing all the different notes. My university violin teacher mentioned to me that the typical split is about 80% thinking about your left hand and only the 20% that is left over for you right hand. His point was that your right had creates the sound, and even if your left hand works perfectly, if your sound is awful, it will not be pleasing to listen to, or for you to play! You need to think at least 50/50, or maybe even more about your right hand!

So, here is a simple exercise that you can do to help your bowing in only minutes a day! You will need a clock with a second hand for this exercise.

Each day, play long bows, making sure that your bow is not bouncing and that your sound is even and not stopping and starting. Play a long bow on the first day, and take note of how long you were able to maintain a clear sound. Let’s say that you took 5 seconds to get from the frog to the tip of the bow. The next day, try to take a longer time to play your bow stroke, say 6 seconds, or maybe even longer. If you find that the sound is starting and stopping as you play, go back to each bow taking a shorter amount of time. Your aim is to work up to taking a full minute to play one bow stroke with even tone. Try not to tense up as you do this exercise as it will cause your bow to bounce!

It will take some time to work up to a whole minute, but the work will be worth it! You will notice a definite improvement in your bow technique!

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