How to Lose Your Fear of the Frightful Frog

by | Nov 22, 2013 | Bowing Technique, Play Comfortably | 0 comments

Let’s talk about a fobia lots of violin and viola players suffer from…

In this video, I’m going to talk about the phobia that many violin players have, and that is…. the Fear of the Frightful Frog! (woooo)

We have quite some bow, but for some reason, many violin players only use the first half or the tip. That’s a waste, because you can make beautiful sounds at the frog and of course, sometimes you also just need the whole bow. So it is important that you can use the whole bow, can play at the middle and that you can play at the extreme tip.

But how do you do that?

The extreme tip is not such a challenge for most people, which is why this video is of course also about how to play with the frog. In this article, I will give you some tips on how to lose your fear of the frog, play smoothly at the frog and discover all the sound colors your whole (!) bow can produce.

Exercise 1: Have a good bow hold with a round pinky

First of all, you need to have a good bow hold with a round pinking. Many people press their pinky down (see video), which makes it very difficult to play with the frog. Next to that, also make sure you hold your bow straight, since otherwise this will affect the sound of your playing. So, when your bowing at the frog, make sure you keep you bow straight and your pinky (and your thumb!) round.

Exercise 2: Play little strokes of one note in the middle

If you haven’t played at the frog for a while, or if you have difficulties playing at the frog, then pick one note, don’t think about it too long, and make strong little bow strokes at the middle. When doing this, you should make sure your fingers are squeezing the bow a bit, so there is some movement in your fingers (you shouldn’t have a rigid wrist).

Do this for a while and then slowly move your bow up until you’re at the extreme frog. Also, don’t forget to put rows at the extreme frogs, since many people forget that!

If you get uncomfortable with that or you’re going wrong, just slowly go back to the middle again. If you notice, for example, oh hey my bow isn’t straight anymore or my pinky is in the wrong position, just go back to the middle and try it again. This can take some time, so don’t worry if it doesn’t go right with the first time!

Exercise 3: Practice scales at the frog

If you’ve managed the first two exercises, you can just pick a random note and bow at the frog. If you’re ready with that, you can practice some scales at the frog, and later, play with the whole bog or play some pieces where you will use the frog. If you just keep on practicing this, and just do it, you will notice that it will really go a lot better and that your frog is not your Achilles heel anymore.

So I hope these three exercises will help you get rid of your fear or struggles of playing with the frog. If it does, let me know in the comments and tell me how you go!

Love,

Zlata

PS: Do you want to see YOUR question answered in a Violin Lounge TV episode? Post a comment below!

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