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Bow Holds
I am having an issue with Thomases teacher now.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
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Thomas B.
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May 21, 2022 - 7:08 am
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@Fiddlerman I am truly bothered by this and am hoping Pierre or any other long time professional violinist can help me solve and/or get over it. My father taught me the Russian bowl hold and I have been using it all my life, as he did and his father before him. So obviously I taught it to Thomas. His teacher has now told him to no longer hold it as such, but use the Franco/Belgian bow hold because it was much more "professional". She actually told him that the Russian way was "not professional". This is really REALLY bothering me, and I mean really. How anyone can say that Heifetz was not a professional because of his bow hold is astounding to me. Anyway, I, nor anyone in my past generations, have ever had any issues with the Russian bow hold and now I am torn to pieces as to what to do. I would hate to have Thomas growing up thinking NOW that is ancestors were not professional when they played or were doing it all wrong. But especially for Thomas to have to relearn a new bow hold....well, I dont remember the last time I was this bothered. Please help....

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Bob
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May 21, 2022 - 8:39 am
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Not professional?

Here's an article by an "amateur" discussing the pros and cons of different bow hold especially the Russian!

https://www.masterclass.com/ar.....violin-bow

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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Thomas B.
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May 21, 2022 - 8:42 am
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Yeah, I watched that this morning. It just bothers me something wicked. I wanted to find out from either Pierre or other pro's about whether or not to continue using the Russian hold,  have a talk with his teacher, if there are reasons she may be saying this, are there other pitfalls using the Russian hold as a pro that is not widely known, is it different for a child or advantageous  for a child to learn the Belgian rather than Russian? .....I am just personally stuck here. 

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ELCBK
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May 21, 2022 - 12:26 pm
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@Thomas B. -

I apologize up front - this is just my food for thought because I'm not a professional.  I view the 'Russian Hold' only as just a variation of the Franco-Belgian grip and YES, I know of it's benefits - many excellent violinists use it. 

Not keen on the Teacher's attitude, thinking a poor teacher if she can't explain why - I would asked her to explain better. 

She might be trying to set Thomas up to discover more about how the bow hand can be used - maybe start help make him aware of just how versatile the hand grip can be. 

I've posted this video before, by Prof William Fitzpatrick - it is profound that he explains "a hundred different bow strokes need a hundred different bow grips"! 

 

 

 

Jim, I don't see anything wrong with the WONDERFUL foundation you've given Thomas, plus he has such a GREAT sense of detail - I don't think he will ever forget the Russian grip & will be able to use it equally well, among others, throughout his life.  😊 

💖 MORE TOOLS!

- Emily

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Thomas B.
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May 21, 2022 - 4:24 pm
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@ELCBK I agree on the variation, and I have even given her the benefit of the doubt as to why she wants to "teach" him the Belgian hold. I remember my father always telling me the Russian hold enabled him to control the bow much better, especially when it came to  flying staccatos. But regardless of that, I do think he probably should continue with the belgian hold, but I think her attitude and way she told him is what bothers me, probably more on a personal level I guess.

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Mouse
May 21, 2022 - 4:46 pm
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Since it is not the fact that she wants him to change holds, but the way she said it that bothers you, does it bother Thomas? If it did not bother Thomas, I wouldn't muddy the water. But, if it did bother Thomas, or you can't let it go, maybe speak to her  on the side and suggest that maybe it should have been worded differently, and offer a suggestion and tell her why?

I do agree that her wording was not encouraging. It could be that it is bothering you so much because it is, more or less, against your family's violin tradition. Just a thought. I would hate to see Thomas begin to read more into it because he is sensing dissatisfaction at your end? 

This is in no way meant to be anything more than a suggestion and what I am seeing, and not meant as any criticism. I am just thinking that if too much is made out of it, that Thomas will pick up on it and that would affect him. It seems it is you that is upset, and not Thomas, is what I am sensing, and it is understandable.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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AndrewH
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May 21, 2022 - 9:05 pm
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For some reason, a lot of American teachers seem to get dogmatic about their personal choice of bow hold being the "correct" one -- much more so than about any other aspect of technique. I find it a bit strange.

 

A great majority of American pros use the Franco-Belgian bow hold, probably because of the influence of Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay. But there is a noticeable minority in the US, and a larger minority in other countries, who use the Russian bow hold.

 

I personally use both -- I tend toward Russian on violin, Franco-Belgian on viola. It's just what seems most comfortable on the bows that I have.

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Thomas B.
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May 22, 2022 - 7:12 am
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@Mouse That is exactly what my mother would have said. And of course I could not disagree. As for Thomas, it bothers him a lot less than it is bothering me to be honest. It bothers him mostly because he was so comfortable using a hold that didn't hinder his playing in the first place. He asked me why he needs to change when there wasn't anything wrong with the way he was doing it.(all my children I have cemented in their head...why fix something that isn't broken). It does bother him a little about thinking his grampy wasn't a pro because of what she said, but not as much as anything else. We are focusing solely why it isn't professional to hold it Russian style now, with no answer I might add. We are truly trying to determinate the difference for his decision to make now. IF there isn't, then it was wrong for her to say what she said and I truly believe that if both holds are equally "professional" and enable him to continue to expand his musicality and grow, I think he should choose the grip that best fits him, not what someone else wants him to do, and that includes me. @AndrewH 

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Thomas B.
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May 22, 2022 - 7:36 am
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@Mouse By the way, when I referred to you as "like my mother", that is a good thing, She was more in tune with my thoughts and feelings more than I was.

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Mouse
May 22, 2022 - 10:11 am
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Maybe, Thomas should just ask his instructor why it is. This way, you are not getting involved directly and Thomas can learn to ask his instructor questions and develop a better relationship where they each know what they are each thinking. I just think this is something Thomas needs to deal with.

Music, bowed string instruments especially, is very competitive and the sooner he learns to ask questions, the better. From the videos, he looks like an age where he should be doing this, If the comment about professionalism bothers him, he should address his instructor. If it bothers you, it is something you need to, basically get over, and understand, the instructor meant not offense, and you know that, really. 

I think that if you do anything, it will widen the gap between Thomas and the instructor. 

🐭

The Bumblebee Flies!

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Fiddlerman
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May 25, 2022 - 1:44 pm
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5

Thomas B. said
@Fiddlerman I am truly bothered by this and am hoping Pierre or any other long time professional violinist can help me solve and/or get over it. My father taught me the Russian bowl hold and I have been using it all my life, as he did and his father before him. So obviously I taught it to Thomas. His teacher has now told him to no longer hold it as such, but use the Franco/Belgian bow hold because it was much more "professional". She actually told him that the Russian way was "not professional". This is really REALLY bothering me, and I mean really. How anyone can say that Heifetz was not a professional because of his bow hold is astounding to me. Anyway, I, nor anyone in my past generations, have ever had any issues with the Russian bow hold and now I am torn to pieces as to what to do. I would hate to have Thomas growing up thinking NOW that is ancestors were not professional when they played or were doing it all wrong. But especially for Thomas to have to relearn a new bow hold....well, I dont remember the last time I was this bothered. Please help....

His teachers choice of words was very bad. Perhaps if the teacher had said, I want him to try Franco Belgian so that he has options and can choose for himself, or, I prefer Franco Belgian and perhaps he would too. Or even, I have a difficult time working with the Russian bow hold because I'm not familiar with it.... All that would have been fine but what was said was not good, nor was it accurate. Cause for concern indeed.

You already know from your research so my opinion is not important here. Just know that I have heard fantastic professional string players of all levels use the Russian hold as well as the Franco Belgian hold. Who is to say for 100 percent certainty what the best hold is? The best hold is the one that works the best for the player but that is usually based on what the student has learned from the start. Switching later in the game rarely happens and not unless there is an issue that warrants testing a new hold.

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

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Thomas B.
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May 25, 2022 - 7:25 pm
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@Fiddlerman I thought so too my friend. Thomas will be happy when he reads this in the morning before school. He has honestly held you in high esteem ever since you replied to his very first comment on one of your videos the first week he started playing violin. He was having zero issues with his bow hold and I noticed today he is struggling with keeping the same amount of pressure at the tip of the bow using the FBelgian hold and he had not a speck of trouble with the Russian hold.Thank you very much. And his teacher is one of those violinists that I have always mentioned I dont care for much because of their "holier than thou" attitude. Although knowledgeable, it is obvious she lacks in personality or how to connect with children. I feel as though she treats him like an adult all the time, without complimenting him hardly at all. And she saddles him with a HUGE amount of work each week, for example 2 songs from Wolfhart opus 45, 3 songs from Sukuki book 3 and a full page from Applebaums book on 3d position. Boy when I was a child, I just had one page to learn every two weeks from 1 book.

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Fiddlerman
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May 27, 2022 - 3:57 pm
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Hopefully the assignments will serve a good purpose in the long run. Sometimes young people need to be pushed. However, the rest doesn't sound that good to me. Glad you're involved to protect him. 😁

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

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