Circle Exercise for Smooth Bowing and an Even Sound | Violin Lounge TV #486

by | Aug 3, 2022 | Beautiful Tone, Bowing Technique | 4 comments

The Circle violin bowing exercise will help you to get a consistent tone and smooth bow strokes. Also it helps to learn or improve spiccato.

Circle violin bowing exercise

You make a big circle in the air and land the bow at the frog or the tip to make a whole bow stroke. During this whole bow stroke, you bow in a curve. At the frog you incline towards the higher strings and at the tip your elbow is a bit up and you incline towards the lower strings.

For the sound this compensates the fact that the bow is heavier at the frog and lighter at the tip. Your tone will be even instead of that you have a decrescendo on the the down-bow and a crescendo on the up-bow.

For the fluency of the bowing the curve will help as your arm moves more in a natural movement. It will be easier to bow smoothly.

Practice landing the bow at the frog and tip separately

Landing the bow can be a real challenge. Certainly at the extreme tip the bow will have the tendency to bounce. To stop the bow from bouncing, land the bow slowly and instantly add some weight.

Hi! I'm Zlata

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

Pinky training!

The circle violin bowing exercise is hard work for your pinky. Make sure you maintain a proper and relaxed violin bow hold with fluent movements in your wrist and fingers.

Too difficult? Start with smaller circles

If it seems impossible to maintain a good bow hold and finger action, start with smaller circles at the balance point of the bow. You can build up from there to larger circles. 

Most important is that you perform the exercise correctly, not that you move to large circles as fast as possible.

Learn or improve your spiccato with the circle violin bowing exercise

The circle exercise is also great for practicing spiccato. A mistake lots of violin players make is that they move in a V instead of a U when doing spiccato. This causes a scratchy sound or maybe just a bounce instead of an actual bow stroke. 

If you make very small circles at the balance point or just above you can speed this up and play spiccato.

What was the result of doing the circle exercise for you?

Leave a comment!


  1. Yona

    Like this. Use it when I tune the violin before every start. Also sometimes its help just getting a normal tone out. At the end before ending the practice session.

    • Zlata


      • Yona

        Love this . Use it even in the middle of learning a piece, just to get a good sound out on an open string . Also in different speeds.

      • Zlata

        Glad it’s helpful, Yona 🙂

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