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Finger Flexibility for Smooth Bow Changes
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 17, 2011 - 5:38 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Learn how to train your fingers to be flexible for the best and smoothest bow changes possible. Your fingers need to be comfortably together rather than spread for lessened tension. The tip of your pinky should be on top of the stick. Practice while applying more pressure than usual to develop the timing and correct feeling. Exaggerate the movement when working on this technique so that the movement will come by itself after much practice. Your right elbow should lead the motion. Practice this exercise with a pencil or other appropriate object while doing other things for maximum practice time.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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leftyuk
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September 3, 2015 - 7:15 am
Member Since: August 21, 2015
Forum Posts: 23
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I was going to make a vid of myself playing and noticed my bowing is nowhere near as straight as I had thought, more playing in front of a mirror confirmed this, and now my bowing has fallen to pieces and I find myself wondering what to do to improve bowing. 

I also struggle terribly with string transitions within phrases, weirdly I seem to be able to hop back and to from string to string, but when I need to do that within a phrase or sequence, it all falls apart and the string I just played gets played twice or as a double stop, ie very unclean, squeaky and scratchy! 

Slowing down helps but as soon as I try to speed up it all goes west again. Very frustrating and depressing... I think I need more bow control excersises, any more suggestions gratefully recieved! 

And the wind takes your hesitation, and the sun burns your fear, and the rain on your face, make the tears disappear..

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DanielB
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September 3, 2015 - 8:02 am
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"Slowing down helps but as soon as I try to speed up it all goes west again. "

 

I think you have found your best strategy right there.  Take it slow and don't be in a hurry to speed up.  Getting a piece up to tempo is usually one of the easiest parts of practising.  Speed almost comes automatically with enough practice.  At the worst, it may take a little metronome work (after you have everything else going right) to get tempo where you want it.

What is likely happening is that many people tend to tense up as they speed up.  Then your form and that great bow hold you worked on and everything starts to goof up.  Relax and work on enjoying the playing at the slower speed.  Make sure each note and rest gets it's full time and that you are getting the sound you want in each and every second. 

Maybe pick one song that is supposed to be played slow to work on so you don't have to worry about "getting it up to speed" and you can work on teaching yourself to relax and experiencing the sounds as you produce them. 

Try taking phrases and sequences in small bites, like one bar or just a few notes at a time.  There's nothing wrong with a practice focussing on just a few notes sometimes. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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leftyuk
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September 3, 2015 - 10:18 am
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@DanielB 

Good advice! Thanx!

yes, I wanna run before I can walk! One thing I think is a factor is that I have played guitar for years before touching the violin, so my fingering hand is kinda way ahead of my bowing hand, so although my fingers can do it (relatively) my bow cannot and it is frustrating the hell outa me. 

When I began I laughed and giggled at myself and had no expectations, but now I have a couple of tunes I can kinda 'play', I am getting too serious with myself and starting to push, I can feel it in my playing.... I want to be better, NOW!!!!!!! 

I just had a peep at my first 'vids' and I think my bowing was better then than now! How does that happen?????? Lolololol

onwards and sideways! 

And the wind takes your hesitation, and the sun burns your fear, and the rain on your face, make the tears disappear..

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mischa91
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September 3, 2015 - 10:22 am
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Great video.  I've struggled with my bowing hand and playing in front of a mirror really helped me.  I've watched recent videos i've taken to past videos and my bow is definitely straighter and staying where i want it to stay.  Now to work on smoother bowing and better flexibility 😀

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DanielB
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September 3, 2015 - 1:05 pm
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@leftyuk: Yeah, I also started violin after some decades on guitar.  In some ways it helps, because your fretting/fingering hand will figure things out quicker.  But oh, that bow. LOL

The main thing I found to help was to do a lot of bowing exercises.  Especially the ones like just one note per one long slow bow, that seem dull as heck, helped the most.  The less you have going on, the more you can focus on keeping the bow straight, watching your form, getting good strong notes with decent tone and etc.  After a while, you start automatically doing a bit better on everything, and those sorts of exercises seem a lot less boring and "pointless".  15 min of it at the beginning of practice seems like a lot at first.  But when it starts making the rest of your practice and playing go better, it does become much more interesting.

Another little thing you may have from guitar that needs learning a different habit for violin is a lot of guitarists put in a good bit of work on "alternate picking".  But with a bow, you can play 2, 4, 8 staccato notes without changing bow direction.  So that's another thing to practice, that is mostly just the bow.

But it's an adventure!  LOL

    

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 5, 2015 - 3:32 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

leftyuk said

yes, I wanna run before I can walk! 

Join the club. 🙂

Well said.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Marikoli
Paraguay
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November 16, 2015 - 2:07 pm
Member Since: November 10, 2015
Forum Posts: 79
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Hi @leftyuk, I just loved your expression too "I wanna run before I can walk"!! exactlyI'm just like that!

Anyway I was wondering how things are going now with your string crossings and bowing exercises. Did you improve? I hope so, and would love to know what helped you improve.smile

Enjoying my violin adventure! :-)

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