In this video I teach you how to bow smoothly like a professional violinist, create a gorgeous sound and make seamless bow changes
1) Have a flexible and relaxed bow hold
Bow holds can look very different. The most important thing is that you keep your fingers slightly curved and relaxed. In this way you can move along with the bow strokes to make smooth and almost silent bow changes and maintain resonance.
A good way to practice this is to simulate the movement without the bow.
2) Move your wrist and fingers while bowing
If you move your arm, you make a circle. We must compensate this circle to the straight line of the bow by moving our wrist and fingers during the bow stroke. This is one of the most difficult things about a good bowing technique: you must maintain a good bow hold and have stability in your technique, but at the same time you should move in a very relaxed way. This takes quite some practice and patience, but a gorgeous tone is a beautiful reward for all your hard work.
3) Bow absolutely straight
Lots of violinists know this, but many of them don’t bow straight even after years of playing. This can cause a lot of problems in creating a beautiful sound. They struggle through advanced bowing techniques, while the solution in their problem lies in this basic thing.
Stay on the same contact point between the bridge and the fingerboard
Some people bow straight, but the bow moves sideways on the string between the bridge and the fingerboard. Every contact point between the bridge and fingerboard has it’s own sound and you should consciously choose what contact point matches the sound you want to make.
Boring Bowing Exercise
You can check if you’re bowing straight in the mirror or ask someone to check and correct for you. Use it as a warming up in the first minutes of your practice session. Bow with the whole bow on open strings and make a full sound. Check for any irregularities in your bow stroke and solve them.
4) Smoothen your bow changes with your wrist and fingers
Your violin and bow must keep resonating while you play and perform bow changes. The secret to (almost) silent bow changes is the movement in your wrist and fingers as described above. In the down bow movement you already prepare the up bow movement and the other way around. Stopping the sound with every bow change gives you the typical beginner sound and causes scratches.
5) Tilt your bow a little bit at the extreme frog
If you are bowing at the extreme frog, tilt your bow a little bit in the direction of the scroll of your violin. You have a lot of power and the frog and this can cause scratching sounds. That’s why a lot of violinists avoid the frog. By tilting the bow you can compensate this power and have a good sound and smooth bow changes even at the extreme frog. Make sure to quickly switch to using all hair, so you don’t make it a bad habit to bow with a tilt all the time.
Do you want to learn more?
Click here to watch my free violin lessons about bowing technique.
Click here to watch my free violin lessons about tone creation on the violin.
High level bowing technique and tone creation are learnable skills
All violin players can learn the techniques and apply them in beautiful music, expressing their emotions through the violin. You just need to know the exact steps to get there from the level you’re currently at.
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