3 Violin Exercises to Automate Smooth and Straight Bowing | Violin Lounge TV #317

by | Jul 24, 2019 | Bowing Technique | 12 comments

How to get good enough at bowing so that you can concentrate on intonation and not have to worry about bad bowing sounds while practicing a piece:

Wouldn’t it be great to think about things such as intonation, expression and rhythm while you are playing instead of your bowing technique?

In this video I’m going to teach you how to automate straight and smooth bowing so you can do just that!

The best way for you to train yourself to do things more naturally and automatically is to perform exercises before you begin playing. By doing this your hands will already know what they have to do and it will be much easier.

Exercise #1:  Painting with a pencil

Grab a pencil and pretend to paint in the air moving your wrist and fingers fluently. This will help you to practice smooth and fluid bowing motions.

Exercise #2:  Feeling of straight bowing

Place your bow in a position as you would be bowing at the extreme tip. Hold the bow with your left hand and use your right hand go up the bow and back down. When you pick up your violin to play, your arm will know what playing straight FEELS like instead of focusing on what it looks like.

Exercise #3:  Boring bowing exercise

Bow with the whole bow from the extreme frog to the extreme tip, practice every string 4 or 8 bow strokes very slowly. I suggest practicing in the mirror so you can see if you’re bowing straight. Listen carefully, so you’re able to notice and correct any irregularities, scratches or other difficulties.

Hi! I'm Zlata

Classical violinist helping you overcome technical struggles and play with feeling by improving your bow technique.

Practice daily!

The best way to train your motor skills is to practice the same exact thing 5-9 times daily for at least a month. That’s when you automate the movements and  you’ll really see a difference in your playing.

What exercise is most useful to you?

Do these exercises and share all about the impact on your playing in the comments below!


  1. Sebastian Thomas

    Thanks for the bowing lessons.

    • Neil May

      Hello Zlata
      I have a question, I seem to have developed a tremble in my bowing around three quarters of my upward bow and half way with my downward bowing, I experiment with differing pressures but so far it continues, my other challenge is that I find I need to keep readjusting my grip on the frog which creeps up the bow but I cannot isolate what I doing incorrectly, if you could offer some advise it would be greatly appreciated oh and by the way congratulations on having twins.

      • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

        Hi Neil, yes, that’s the spot where the bow bounces naturally. To control that, this video and this one might help you. To maintain your bow hold and keeping your hand from moving up the bow, watch this one. Let me know in the comments if they’re helpful! Thanks for your congrats :). The kids are doing great.

  2. Sherylin

    Ah yes. The boring stuff that makes the difference between a noobie and a Paganini. 🙂
    Did you know he carried a stick for two years all day and night to practice his bowing and perfect it?
    SO these lessons are fantastic and invaluable.
    Thank you VERY much Zlata 🙂

  3. R

    Hi, thanks for the really useful videos! How can I keep my bow straight when it seems like my arm is too short to keep straight at the tip? Also, a bit unrelated, but how can I stop my violin ‘s chinrest rubbing my neck when I’m playing?

      • R

        So I need to let go with my pinky, rather than pulling my arm back to reach the tip? Any clue for the chinrest rubbing?

      • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

        It’s a combination of the two. What do you mean by chinrest rubbing?

  4. R

    Thanks on the subject of the bowing 🙂 My chinrest seems to be rubbing the top of my neck where the kind of ‘corner’ of the chinrest is.

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Have you already tried adjusting your shoulder rest to change the angle of the violin? Or experimented with different chinrests?

      • R

        Thanks for those suggestions, I had no idea where to start with experimenting, but I will try adjusting the angle and see what that does. Thanks again 🙂


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