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Hello cid, glad you're here. I am not a classical person either and understand exactly what you are saying and going through.
If you watch videos of old time fiddlers, you don't see that many that use a classical hold. The bow hold, even in classical varies from person to person. The most important thing for people like us, is to relax and enjoy what we are doing. Relax as much as possible in the back, shoulder, and elbow, and allow the arm to lead the hand.
There are also products and such you can try to make it easier. The foam piece on one of those fat pens you use, if you can remove it from a pen, it will slide on the bow. foam tubing is available at lowes, find a piece that is 3/4" to 1" on the outside with the inside diameter being roughly the same size as a pencil. Cut it to about 4" long, with a 1"inch slit running long ways, remove the frog, careful not to get your hair in a tangle, and slide it up the shaft. replace the frog and you're good to go.
Also, there are products on Amazon like the bowmaster. it slides over the bow and is for correcting the bow hold, but it also adds thickness to the bow. making it a little easier to hold. The Bowmaster by sensitive is roughly 10$.
There is another product, things for strings, that can be found on amazon.
Purple Raspberry 2-Piece Set: Things 4 Strings Bow Hold Buddies, Award-winning Violin/Viola Teaching Aid
This could also be of help in making it easier to hold the bow. It's actually cheaper on Amazon than on the company website. Like 26$ with free shipping.
I hope this helps and I'm glad you joined us.
Chicken got to this before I did. Anyways, my two cents.
Amazon has a variety of products, as Chicken mentioned. Search “violin bow buddy” and you should be able to find them.
A bit more radical solution is called the wonderbow. Same idea as above.
Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.
Also, you mentioned wanting to learn songs like Moon river, Here is a link to
on youtube. It is a TAB channel. Plenty of hymnal type music, Amazing Grace, and such. Stand by me, The Beatles....There is also StringClub. You can slow the songs down with the settings button on the video. Looks like a little gear or cog. Drop the speed to 3/4 or 1/2 until you have it familiar.
Welcome to the friendliest fiddle forum on planet Earth @Mouse !
Both @Shane "Chicken" Wang and @Irv have good thoughts there.
The way I see it is that since you mention you have a tutor - your tutor should have the good grace to understand what YOU want from your playing, and not force upon you any specific bow hold. When it comes to "fiddle" tunes, most (well a substantial number) adapt to what works best for them, and there are some awesome fiddlers out there with holds that are nothing like any classical hold!
Here's an English chap, called Peak Fiddler ("Peak" as in "from the Peak district" that is!), and he puts quite a number of tunes, many of his own compositions, on You Tube - and he's had quite a number of comments regarding his "strange" bowhold - so much so he made a separate video just to talk about it!
Personally, I find I vary my hold quite radically dependent on what I'm playing - but - rather like Peak, that's just me, the way I prefer it, and would never suggest it is the "best", the "proper" or the "only" way !!!
To answer your final question -
Is there any reason a violin instructor needs to force a student of any age, who is learning the violin solely for his or her own enjoyment, to be hindered by the crazy classical violin hold if that hold just does not work for that student?
... to my mind, one word suffices, and that is.... "No"
Best wishes on your fiddle journey
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
Agree with all of the above… there are many bow holds possible and the important thing is being comfortable when you're holding it (hence not stressed up that it'll slip from your hand).
As Shane pointed out, there are items you can buy that could help ; or you could just experiment with rubber bands (for instance ; a bit like her, except more permanently) to widen the place where your thumb or other fingers go, which would add friction and stability.
Cid, if I haven't all ready, welcome to the forum, have you tried the thumb under the frog type hold, Mark O'Conner uses this hold and he is a fantastic fiddler both classical and fiddle music, you got to work with what you have to work with, good luck.
Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.