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bowing crooked
Thomases bow ultimately ends up crooked a lot while playing
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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January 8, 2022 - 3:57 pm
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My question for Pierre or anyone else who has had to overcome this obstacle is if there is any trick or hack Thomas can use to keep his bow straight while playing. I have noticed that, although half the time it is straight, his bow ends up playing crooked, which results in a squeeking sound that is not very pleasurable. I have a feeling it may be because he is only 10 so his arms need to grow more ....BUT....a full size violin is the perfect size for him, therefore I assume the bow is as well. i have played for 50 plus years and just don't recall having that issue as a child. But then again I don't remembah(yes, our Yankee word for remember) what I had for suppah(another Yankee word last night.)

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stringy
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January 8, 2022 - 5:11 pm
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The simplest and best way is to play in front of a mirror, don’t buy one of those devices to keep the bow straight. It’s also to do with the action of the bow arm.

Are you sure a full size violin is the correct size.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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SharonC
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January 8, 2022 - 5:16 pm
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@Thomas B. 

I had this problem (as an adult learning—I’m playing 8 years now).  I did a few different things to get my bow straight. 

Susanna Klein has some of them in the video below, including the mirror (#1), and the straw in the F holes (#2).  I also did a video setup where I could watch myself playing in real time (more complex setup). 

The last one she mentions is really interesting, because I think it does work really well (#10 – using bow upside down).  The weight of the frog up in the air makes you more aware of how your bow is going crooked.

In all these things, I practiced slow, easy pieces so that I could focus on what my arm, wrist, etc., felt like as I moved the bow correctly.

 t=2s

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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stringy
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January 8, 2022 - 5:25 pm
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Sharon, I like the idea of the set up to watch yourself playing that sounds an excellent idea and one that I have not come across. I spend hours in front of the mirror, but I have also found if I feel as though I am tilting the bow towards the bridge, even though it feels wrong, it is usually perfectly straight, quite odd, and I don’t recommend anyone doing it, but does work for me. The idea of the bow is really novel, and I hadn’t come across that one either.

Bit more, bit more, snap #*÷?×[email protected]?#[email protected]

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ELCBK
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January 8, 2022 - 5:47 pm
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I always felt this video to be very helpful. 

Especially, right at 2:55 minutes and 5:44 minutes into this video - straight to the point. 

 

 

 

Most people focus on elbow and hand movement, but I believe it's important to be aware of when and how to engage the shoulder.  

 

@SharonC  - 

Really like your suggestion of turning the bow around - seems like a great way to stay focused!

 

...I still get lax or tired & mess it up! 😊 

- Emily

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SharonC
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January 8, 2022 - 6:09 pm
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stringy said
Sharon, I like the idea of the set up to watch yourself playing that sounds an excellent idea and one that I have not come across. I spend hours in front of the mirror, but I have also found if I feel as though I am tilting the bow towards the bridge, even though it feels wrong, it is usually perfectly straight, quite odd, and I don’t recommend anyone doing it, but does work for me. The idea of the bow is really novel, and I hadn’t come across that one either.

  

@stringy I know what you're saying--the right way always felt wrong to me!  I still have to correct myself--if I'm very focused on left hand, I sometimes still find myself drifting. 

In case anyone is interested in the video setup thing (didn’t want to bore anybody with my tech nerdiness):

I did a few different things for the video setup—the one I found most useful (& worked with devices I had) was using two devices (my PC w/monitor, & and an Ipad) & Zoom. 

I had created two different Zoom accounts.  I logged into the first one on my PC, with the monitor in front of me (raised up, so I did not have to look down at it while I was playing--I always play while standing). 

I logged into the 2nd Zoom account on my Ipad, & had it set up to my right (also in a raised position so that it was focused on my bow on the strings in the right position).

I would start a Zoom meeting on the 2nd account (Ipad—the one recording the video), & invite my 1st account to join (PC—where I was watching the video), & I’d mute the audio.  The video is slightly delayed, but since the audio is muted, it’s not really bad. 

I liked doing this, especially when I was first starting to correct my bow, because I didn’t have to adjust how I was positioned so that I could correct my bow AND try to see what was going on (like in the mirror).

I had also tried to use mirroring with the Ipad to the smart TV, but it was cutting in & out, so I didn't want to spend time trying to figure out why (techy nonsense cutting into my violin practice time!smile).

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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Thomas B.
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January 9, 2022 - 7:46 am
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TY everyone for helping out. We have tried the mirror bowing but unsuccessfully. I think because, at ten years old, his focus is much MUCH different than an adults and therefore cannot focus on playing music and watching himself at the same time. The upside down bow technique I think has the right idea and very unique I must say. We are going to try that starting today as well as something else i just remembered from my youth and my Dad teaching me. I remember so well I was always told to stand to practice, every single day. So I paid attention to Thomas as he was sitting and practicing and then had him stand as he practiced....HUGE difference. He was trying to adjust his bowing arm because he was not keeping his right leg down more than his left leg. And that was making him hit the top of his thigh with the frog or moving the bow crooked much of the time so he wouldnt hit his leg. We quickly solved that riddle by having him lower his leg making sure his violin was horizontally correct and we also practice standing up half the time. I also have to bear in mind he is only 10 and am sure many of these mistakes will correct themselves over time, don't you think? We will be doing the upside down bowing for the next few days though, it can only help.(Yup, another Yankee trait....talking too much)

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ELCBK
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January 9, 2022 - 3:36 pm
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@Thomas B. - 

Very interesting and great observation!

A simple reminder at the beginning of each practice might also be enough to help - like a few slow, legato bow strokes on each string - then a few faster. 

Maybe only open strings, but with total concentration on bowing straight... just for 1 minute (no more than 2), to start off practice with a correct reference. 

Found it can help me when my bowing get sloppy. 😊 

 

- Emily

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 11, 2022 - 3:49 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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That's a great question.
First of all the bow doesn't need to be perfectly straight. I've seen great players bow slightly crooked and play amazingly well. He should not only be able to bow near parallel to the bridge, but also be able to use the angle to bring the bow closer to the bridge, or further from the bridge. I have a video on this somewhere out there.... LOL
It's best to have control over how your bow travels.

The player needs to make sure that they are using enough elbow movement. The biggest cause of crooked bowing is that people move the arm too much at the shoulder. Practicing in front of a mirror only works if you will always be looking at the mirror. Unfortunately you'll have a different angle when looking into the mirror. This does not mean that you should not use a mirror either.
I like to have people look in the mirror to find the correct angle to start, and then pull the bow from one end to the other and re-check the angle at the other end.
I also like to look at the bow traveling by the bridge to see if it appears to have the correct angle as it is traveling.

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

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RDP
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January 13, 2022 - 2:29 pm
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I have the same problem, bowing over the fingerboard.  It used to be much worse than it is now but I watched a video about Paganini's bowing secret.  Essentially, the secret is that each finger has a job to do and if you have each finger do that job, then you won't have this type of bowing problem.

 

Here's the video.  (Note; the guys kind of a bozo, but the information seems to work to help reduce sloppy bowing.)

feature=emb_imp_woyt

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ELCBK
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January 13, 2022 - 3:57 pm
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@RDP - 

I don't want you to get the wrong idea - so, I have to disagree. 

Your fingers don't have anything to do with bowing straight

Your fingers are used for tone and dynamics. 

A straight, full bow stroke only requires your shoulder, elbow and wrist to move correctly.

To prove this, you can try it for yourself - I clamped my hand around the frog, like it was a bicycle handle bar I was grabbing (or my walker 🤣). 

I didn't have any problem bowing straight.   

Maybe try to understand the proper movement combination of your shoulder, elbow and wrist - 1st. 

I don't want to detract any further from the topic of this thread, but if you are interested, this is a good video tutorial on the basic purpose of your fingers - to begin with: 

Violin Techniques - The Roles of Fingers on the Bow

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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January 13, 2022 - 5:44 pm
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You two might be talking past each other. Whie it's true the fingers shouldn't have much to do with where the bow is pointed, a crooked bow could come from using the fingers the wrong way -- as in trying to use the fingers rather than the wrist to control the bow.

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RDP
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January 13, 2022 - 6:15 pm
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ELCBK said
@RDP - 

I don't want you to get the wrong idea - so, I have to disagree. 

Your fingers don't have anything to do with bowing straight

Your fingers are used for tone and dynamics. 

A straight, full bow stroke only requires your shoulder, elbow and wrist to move correctly.

To prove this, you can try it for yourself - I clamped my hand around the frog, like it was a bicycle handle bar I was grabbing (or my walker 🤣). 

I didn't have any problem bowing straight.   

Maybe try to understand the proper movement combination of your shoulder, elbow and wrist - 1st. 

I don't want to detract any further from the topic of this thread, but if you are interested, this is a good video tutorial on the basic purpose of your fingers - to begin with: 

Violin Techniques - The Roles of Fingers on the Bow

  

I only offered the idea as something which worked for me.  Others may find a different solution that works for them.

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Gordon Shumway
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January 14, 2022 - 4:03 am
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A mirror's reverse image may be more confusing than helpful. Best might be to spend a while just looking directly at the bow+string contact point - usually not difficult for a 10-year-old's eyes - and slowly bowing back and forth keeping your right shoulder low, as demonstrated excellently in the first screenshot above. Eventually the arm muscles will get used to what they have to do (it's different for each string) without the need to watch.

Galamian's book is very good for this, and it is small, digestible and cheap, which is why I recommend him to beginners rather than Fischer's 2000 pages.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 20, 2022 - 2:43 pm
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The Phalanges bones are connected to the, Metacarpus bones, the Metacarpus bones are connected to the, Carpus bone, the Carpus bone is connected to the Ulna and Radius bones, the Ulna and Radius bones are connected to the.......
They all need to move somewhat together guys. :)
What I like to think of and teach is that to achieve a straighter drawn bow, focus a bit more on the elbow movement, but your shoulder and wrist must obviously follow, as do the fingers. :)

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

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Gordon Shumway
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January 20, 2022 - 3:41 pm
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...your hip-bone's connected to your thigh-bone, and so on...

Andrew

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ELCBK
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January 20, 2022 - 6:13 pm
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So, no one watched the Beth Blackerby's video (Post 5)? 

✅ She clearly shows a difference using the "reaching" vs "swinging" movement at 6 minutes into her video!

🤔... and, NO ONE, but me, EVEN TRIED to see if it was possible to bow straight - with a tight fist around the frog? 

 

...I didn't say it would sound good by not using your hand and fingers. 

- Emily 

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Fiddlerman
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February 4, 2022 - 11:16 am
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WOW, I can't hola hoop so that seems impossible. Very impressive.

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

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