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Bow Right
A bowing aide for straight bowing
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MoonShadows
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June 25, 2019 - 7:07 am
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Somewhat reluctant and almost embarrassed to mention it here (probably because it is mainly marketed towards children), I purchased a Bow Right bowing aide the other day.

Like most beginners, I struggle with bowing straight. I made quite a discovery the other day when I changed my position in front of my practice mirror from looking straight into the mirror to turning to a 90 degree position. What had previously looked like straight bowing (from looking down at my fiddle and into the mirror) was not straight bowing at all...almost like my two views were an optical illusion!

The 90 degree angle revealed I was bowing up towards my left shoulder. (This explains why my bow begins to "slide" up towards the bridge when I play.) So, I have been starting each practice session just bowing open strings, looking into the mirror at that 90 degree angle, trying to keep my bow straight and "feeling" it in my hand, wrist and arm.

Now, trying to play and look into the mirror at this awkward angle is a feat in itself, not to mention a posture-buster, so I bought the Bow Right and plan to use it for the beginning of my practice lesson, then removing it to continue my practice session.

My goal is to begin training my bowing muscles. Does this make sense? Has anyone here ever used a Bow Right? Has it helped? (I tried the plastic straws for a few days, but they tend to move.) I am determined to get better at this now and not later.

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Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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x Coach
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June 25, 2019 - 7:50 am
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When I try to explain to family and friends how difficult it is to learn to play the violin, I always tell them the bowing is just as difficult to master as placing the fingers correctly on the strings. Good luck and any practice aid that helps you to become a better player is worth it, no matter what your age.

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Irv
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June 25, 2019 - 11:39 am
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Significant gains could be achieved to the players on this forum if a “traveling bow right” was established.  And at little expense.  Sometimes, it is the things that you do not know that you do not know that bite you.

I begin each day’s practice with about twenty bow passes on each string.  I try to maintain a consistent sound from one end of the bow to the other.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.  —Werner von Braun

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

Experience is a difficult teacher, it gives the test first and the lesson after.

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cid
June 25, 2019 - 12:11 pm
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@Irv  I do similar at the beginning of cello practice. Often times, once I start playing, poof, out the window.

Tried a similar “Bow Right”, not that exact one, it made it harder for me. Some students, it works for, others it just adds to the difficulty. I can’t use mirrors either. 

I paid attention to what proper bowing looks like from my perspective looking down the violin and what my bowing arm/wrist looks like. What I saw was indeed different than what it actually is when you adjust to what it looks like it should be, at least to me. I hope I said that right. What I saw when it looked correct, was not correct. When my former instructor corrected me, my perspective view looked like it would be wrong, and that is what I had to remember was the correct view. When I do the violin or viola, I try to recall what the proper bowing should look like from my perspective. Did that make sense?

Since getting cello lessons, and the different bow hold causing issues when switching back to cello after doing a violin or viola, I have had to cut back on violin and viola. When I take viola lessons (after I get better at cello), I will get that perspective view again with whatever instructor I find. That really seemed to work best for me. I use it for cello, too.

I liken it to training the ears to proper intonation. My eyes are being trained for proper bowing perspective.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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June 25, 2019 - 12:42 pm
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Anything that helps you is nothing to be embarrassed about. 🙂
Hope it helps!

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

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AnnyJ
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June 26, 2019 - 12:40 pm
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Nothing to be embarrassed about, they're geared towards kids because that's the majority of their market. Business in general doesn't expect adults to be violin beginners; most method books seem to be geared towards kids as well.

I'm getting back to practice and  just bought a similar bow guide to get my bow straight.  In researching I found some other guy that started as an adult self-learner (can't remember the page otherwise I'd link it here) and he recommended a bow guide as well. He also said though, that it can be used for months not hours, so your not supposed to use it for the entire practice time each day to keep from becoming dependent on it.

He also said that when using it to be fully aware of your movements and the sound. 

Either way, I hope it works out. 🙂 

It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself. Johann S.Bach

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Mark
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June 26, 2019 - 7:35 pm
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Simon Fischer recommend having someone to hold the bow on the strings at a 90 deg. angle to the strings and then the player runs his hand up and down the bow so you get the feel of how pulling a straight bow feels the arm, wrist and hand all working in conjunction to pull a straight bow.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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MoonShadows
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June 30, 2019 - 8:03 am
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Thanks for the feedback. I have been using the Bow Right for a few days now. Here is my review on my blog, Fiddling for Older Folks.

https://fiddlingforolderfolks......bow-right/

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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Pete_Violin
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July 2, 2019 - 3:11 pm
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@MoonShadows 

Hi!  I have seen several kinds of bowing training devices such as this, mainly on the internet.  The most odd is the paper towel tube.  It is a home made application of this kind of concept, where a paper towel tube is somehow strapped to the bowing area of the violin and the player is supposed to practice bowing using the tube as a guide.  

Although I do understand the concept, I have some reservations.  It is similar to using tape to train yourself to learn fingering.  The mechanics can be learned at first using this as muscle memory perhaps, or to help you to feel what the bow "should" feel like bowing straight.  But there are limitations to this.  Just like when using tape, you should know (or your teacher should know) when to remove your bow guides and let you play without them because you do not want to become dependent on them, even to a small degree.  

I do like the idea of finding the physical feeling of what straight bowing should feel like, because this is the best way to play... by feel, and by what you hear.  You should feel the bow, your hand, wrist, fingers, arm, shoulder... everything all together... playing properly.  It is less a matter of forcing the bow to stay in some position, but more a matter of feeling everything you are doing that is keeping your bowing straight.  And the indicator of where your bow is on the violin is sound.  The sound will tell you whether you are playing too much near the bridge or too close to the fingerboard.  So listening will allow you to correct your position very quickly if you know what to listen for.  And eventually, you won't need to correct much at all.

So let me be clear, I am not really against using these training devices necessarily, as long as the player understands the limitations and that feeling and hearing correct bowing is just as important.

- Pete -

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MoonShadows
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@Pete_Violin Thanks for that insightful reply. I realize there is a fine line between using such devices as an aide to learning and/or a crutch to lean on.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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Gordon Shumway
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A problem is that the eyes can be overworked.

They have to look at the music: if you have tapes, they have to look at the tapes; and if you don't have a bow guide, they have to look at the bowing.

Clearly the sooner one can memorise the music, the sooner one can use one's eyes elsewhere. If you can use your LH fingers by feel and by ear, then your eyes don't have to worry about that.

Ideally I'd like to use my eyes on the bowing, which strays when I'm concentrating too much on the music. The sooner I can get the bowing learnt by my muscles, the sooner I can join an orchestra where I will be forced to look at the music all the time.

Andrew

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Pete_Violin
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Gordon Shumway said
Ideally I'd like to use my eyes on the bowing, which strays when I'm concentrating too much on the music. The sooner I can get the bowing learnt by my muscles, the sooner I can join an orchestra where I will be forced to look at the music all the time.

  

I'm with you Gordon

Next month our orchestra begins rehearsals and I really need to focus on the music, the conductor and the orchestra.  I do not want to worry about my fingering and bowing.

- Pete -

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dseotols
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August 7, 2019 - 3:18 am
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Although I do understand the concept, I have some reservations.  It is similar to using tape to train yourself to learn fingering.  The mechanics can be learned at first using this as muscle memory perhaps, or to help you to feel what the bow "should" feel like bowing straight.  But there are limitations to this.  Just like when using tape, you should know (or your teacher should know) when to remove your bow guides and let you play without them because you do not want to become dependent on them, even to a small degree.  

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