#13733 Reply

Dianne Adkins

Vyshakh!!! My friend!! Thank you for another video for us to enjoy! I agree with Joanna’s comments regarding the bow grip. The Itzhak Perlman video is very good. He’s the best! I also love your left hand position, it is exquisite!
Here are some pictures of a good bow grip:

violin bow grip

There are hundreds of pictures of bow grips on google, but many of them are bad examples. Here’s another good example:

violin bow grip

The only thing about the image above is that I would rather see fingers a little more evenly spaced.

Rolling the first finger over the bow too far by just one inch has a profound effect on the function and shape of the bow arm. Ideally, we want to avoid ‘kinks’ that arise from tension in the wrist. Try this little example. As you are sitting at the dinner table or at a desk, place your right arm on the desk from elbow to fingertips. Notice that the arm is completely straight. In a perfect world, we can keep this position while playing the violin. Sometimes the hand must reach up to D or G, which causes a slight bend in the wrist. This is acceptable. Always return to the ‘arm on the desk’ position of the bow arm. Notice, in this position, you can never reach down with the hand. The table prevents the hand from going below the arm. So we maintain a nice flat angle, never bending the hand down, and that is ideal for bow arm function as well.

The key is to stand up tall, place the bow at the middle on the string. Roll the bow grip back toward you to enable the elbow to drop. Check the angle of your wrist. Here is a great example of a nice, open, flat wrist/arm position, at the middle of the bow.

bow arm at middle bow

As you approach the frog of the bow, the wrist is apt to bend. Try to minimize this by allowing the elbow to rise with the bow and the hand. Leaving it below will force the wrist to bend. Raising the elbow slightly as the bow finishes the up bow, or as you are playing near the frog, will keep you from bumping the violin with your bow hand. Turn your bow grip away from you to avoid bumping the violin. This is the only reason we turn the bow and only at the frog. I tell my students, when approaching the frog, follow through with the elbow and raise one bow hair off the string by rolling forward just a little. Here is a picture of the hand, and bow arm, while the bow is at the frog.

violin bow at the frog

Funny that this is a famous actress, Meryl Streep. Usually violinists in movies play terrible and you can tell right away they don’t really play! Anyway, you notice in this photo the ‘flat arm’ is maintained at the frog. This is ideal. You have to stand up tall and open the body, keeping shoulders back, and the back straight. Then elbows should be relaxed and low.

I hope this helps!