Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mastering the (Rubber) Bow Hand

           Violinists, Violists, Cellists, and Contrabassists (usually we just call them “bassists”) need a good bow hand (some call it a “bow grip” or a “bow hold”) to produce a beautiful tone (the kind of sound you make) on their instrument. This good
bow hand is a relaxed, tense free, firm bow hand.  Sounds like a contradiction, right?  I mean how can your hand be relaxed, tense free and firm at the same time?  

What helps me to imagine this is a good quality rubber band. You can stretch the rubber band (something that is flexible and relaxed we can say) and at the same time it is firm because you can only pull it only so far before it breaks. The same goes for the bow hand.  The fingers are firm and flexible at the same time. The picture of the hand being like a rubber band is no a perfect one, but it may help you like it helped me.

So how do you get this rubber bow hand?

Short answer: Consistent concentration, practice and patience to have curved, firm and flexible fingers.

Longer answer: As you practice regularly (this means that you have a goal for how often and how much to practice) you will make it a priority to achieve the rubber bow hand by spend time doing exercises patiently to attain this wonderful phenomenon of curved, flexible and firm fingers. The pinky is standing on top close to the ring finger, the ring and middle finger are on the frog, the index finger leans passed the middle knuckle, close to the middle finger.

Inside Scoop: This is why teachers spend time with you the first 2 years of lessons working on your bow hand; it is a part of the foundation of being an excellent string musician.  So do not get upset with them for taking so long, it will pay off big time in the long run, join them in the journey!

What can I do to achieve the amazing rubber bow hand?

1. The Pencil Miracle. Take a pencil (or pen, or marker, etc.) and apply the bow hand. Hold the pencil as lightly as possible, see how gently and lightly you can hold it until it falls out of your hand! Then practice bow taps, your songs, and whatever else you like in the air with the pencil miracle!

2. The Bow Tap. Take the pencil in your bow hand, once it’s ready. Tap each finger 5 times while keep the non-tapping fingers in a perfect bow hand position. 5 to start off, after 2 weeks tap each finger 10 times, keep adding 5 more taps until you can tap each finger 25-30 times with a perfect rubber bow hand.

3. The Air Bowing. Take the bow in your bow hand and practice songs in the air like a rocket, like a car parallel to the ground, then slanted like on the violin.

I only listed three exercises because you probably know others from your teacher.  Do these simple exercises consistently, patiently with concentration during your practice and you are on the road to the amazing, wonderful, incredible rubber bow hand!

                                                                              Copyright © 2013 Mircea & Daniyela Ionescu. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Now it's your turn, what do you think?