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Bowing practice
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rokit
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April 3, 2020 - 4:04 pm
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Hi all,
Beside really easy pieces, I am still practicing bowing. As you can see I don't have the longest arms and thus get to a quite uncomfy position when playing with the last top part of the bow. Further I struggle with the part close to the frog. You can even hear it in the video. It starts to make a squeaky sound. Any good tips and tricks for my bowing?

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GregW
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April 4, 2020 - 2:03 am
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hello rokit!

First off I'm not very far along myself so understand my observations are from one rookie to another.  The biggest thing that jumped out at me was that you might consider bowing closer to the fingerboard.  you'll have to experiment with where your violins sweet spot is but try and start in the middle first then experiment somewhere half that distance toward fingerboard..then to see how it sounds go back toward the bridge.  find a spot that sounds good and concentrate on keeping it there.  I believe there are techniques that specify playing over the bridge or playing over the fingerboard, but that's not what you're looking for right now I'm assuming.  one other thing..when I heard you get more of a glassy or scratchy sound is when the bow angled more toward your head at the tip instead of being straight.  Thats a common thing I fight with... hope that helps.  again..thats coming from a new player.  just something ive been told myself and experimented with as well.

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Gordon Shumway
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April 4, 2020 - 3:30 am
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Not bad. The frog doesn't sound too heavy and the tip doesn't sound too light.

In agreement with Greg, it looks as though you are inadvertently using the mute as a guide. Bow exactly midway between bridge and end of fingerboard, to begin with.

Maybe now bow a little faster with greater pressure, and give each note a little bit of attack. And maybe your right hand fingers could be spread out a bit more to help you press on the stick? That's when the frog will really get tricky.

Use your left hand too. But it's good to be able to bow an open string musically - sometimes it's essential, and it's embarrassing if you have neglected the skill.

Andrew

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rokit
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April 4, 2020 - 7:15 am
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Thanks for your replies. Indeed I tried to bow closer to the bridge than to the fingerboard. I will try to bow more inbetween the next time. Ofcourse I am also practicing my left hand but I want to have a good bowing technique before moving to too advanced things.

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BillyG
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April 4, 2020 - 8:22 am
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Yup, just a word of encouragement - both @GregW and @Gordon Shumway have said pretty much what I would have....

I think you're doing well with that so far, a good, reasonably steady bow.  I *would* in spite of your "not the longest arms" ( LOL ) make a lot of effort to work on full-bows, frog to tip as well - I notice you have (probably intentionally for the video / demo) sort of split it into two sections - using first the lower half and then the upper half-and-some-to the frog of the bow - and I notice on the first section ( lower half of bow ), there is "obvious" shoulder movement (along with some elbow) - the next segment shows significantly more elbow work - which is good.

Of course the shoulder "hinge" has a large part to play, but always consider the bowing arm as a set of connected hinges (shoulder, elbow, wrist, even the fingers as well), making bow angle (to the strings I mean, not it's "tilt") as constant as possible.  ( Sure, there are more subtle occasions where you may intentionally angle the bow, perhaps whilst moving intentionally between bowing lanes, or for other purposes - but IMO keeping-the-bow-straight at 90 degrees to the strings - is a good habit to develop as a starter for ten ! )  I have found that eventually, it becomes "automatic" and at the start, sure, we're always watching where the bow IS, because it naturally wanders....  eventually, it will become "unthinking" and you'll play nicely and evenly, even with eyes closed, keeping the bow exactly where you want it.

Good work, you're on the way, keep at it !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Irv
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April 4, 2020 - 12:58 pm
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@rokit and others.  A little late to the party here but hopefully I will not parrot any of the posts above.  

It is often beneficial to practice bowing in front of a mirror to see manifestations of faulty bow angle, hair location, and posture errors.

Slow bowing the full length of the hair while producing a consistent level of sound production is useful.  Start with a 15 second time, then advance in 10 second extensions until you can reach 45 seconds or more.  I tend to use more force on the away stroke, so angle the bow to use less hair on the away stroke and lay the bow hair flat on the string on the return stroke.  This procedure paid dividends when I started to use a “lively” bow, as it reduced induced bow oscillations in my normal playing.

Getting a chin rest which places your chin directly over the tail piece (similar to the Flesch) will maximize available arm length for bowing.  I think your immediate issue is a stiff wrist, which will slowly develop.  Arm length is one issue I do not have, but I gravitate toward the Flesch anyway.

I would position my left hand on the neck while practicing bowing instead of gripping the violin corpus.

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rokit
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April 4, 2020 - 3:10 pm
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@Irv yeah, you're right. My wrist looks really stiff, although I have the feeling it is loose. I guess that's normal. I will work on your points and post another movie. I will look into other chinrests as I am still trying to find the best fit. 

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Mimi Aysha
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April 5, 2020 - 1:05 am
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Dedicated practicing, nice clean smooth sound - like others said, shuffle over just a touch, but I can see you wrist movements and all...looking great! Wish I had done more of this in the beginning...

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Gordon Shumway
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April 5, 2020 - 6:07 am
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I'm motivated to post this, rokit, because in your chinrest "test" you bow in exactly the same way, and perhaps it's time to attempt something a little more adventurous and musical.

Watch this video, especially about 9 minutes in:-

The negative things about your bowing, I suspect...

your grip looks a bit loose - it doesn't look or sound as though you are exerting any pressure with your index finger. If you bow faster, the bow will probably slide over the surface of the string without making enough sound.

I think using your left hand more would be good. Not in a complex way- just play "do re mi fa so fa mi re do" slowly on each string ('do' being the string's open note, not C). The reason for this is, when the brain has to control the left hand, the right hand can lose it, and I think you'd benefit from doing that and applying what Nicky says in the video. Experiment with loud and quiet.

Andrew

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rokit
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April 5, 2020 - 2:47 pm
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@GordonShumway 

this is a great video. I've seen some others from her before. Currently I'm learning scales and Edward Elgars Andante. So I am also practicing my left hand and piano, mezzo forte etc..

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