5 Tips to Bow Smoothly on the Violin | Violin Lounge TV #284

by | Sep 26, 2018 | Beautiful Tone, Bowing Technique | 4 comments

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.

Click here to watch other videos about bow hold.

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.

Hi! I'm Zlata

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

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.

bow like a proBow like a Pro is a beautiful place online where you can go anytime you want for step by step lessons and detailed practice plans to learn all possible bowing techniques, create a beautiful tone and express yourself through your music. Enrolling gives you lifetime access to an ever expanding online violin school, where you can focus on HOW you play instead of WHAT you play to boost your current practice routine and lessons.

Besides being a teacher specialized in bowing and tone myself, Bow like a Pro’s guest teachers are top soloists sharing their secrets. Also we take countless examples from the greatest violinists of all time and break down how it’s done and how you can do it too.

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  1. Brú Lewis

    Excellent tutorial on bowing, Vlata.
    I am a modern classical improviser and I want to notate for violin. I notice that in violin compositions that ( I’m looking at the Mozart Sonata k304) the Bowing and other markings are indicated. Did Mozart put these in?
    Do I need to include bowing?

    Also, please consider bowing as similar to wrist movements for pianist.
    Are you on Instagram?

    Brú Lewis
    @bruimprov Instagram

    • Violinist Zlata Brouwer

      Hi Bru, welcome here! You can connect with me on Insta gram as @violinlounge. Well, only include bowings if you want something specific from the performer that adds to your piece. Yes, all composers included bowings, but also publishers added to that, so not all are original. I think this video and this video can give you something to start with.

  2. Kopal Jha

    I am learning your bowing technique from these videos. At the moment it feels awkward and uncomfortable as I used to play a different way. Your sound is great and I really appreciate your sharing your knowledge. Thank you.

    • Zlata

      You’re welcome!



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