#8339 Reply

Dianne Adkins

Lutherin, hello! As adult players, I find we are our own worst critics! I think you are producing a big, clear tone and there is a great deal to be said for that! It means you have something to refine. So I will give you a few pointers. Please start by addressing your bow grip. Think of the thumb as the most important part of your bow grip. Once you place the thumb from under the bow, the fingers on top should lay over the stick naturally, as hanging on the monkey bars on the playground. Holding the bow horizontally is pretty challenging, so point the tip to the sky and look at your fingers. The thumb is rounded and its fingernail looks slightly toward the tip. The longest, middle finger is opposite the thumb. It and the ring fingers, I call ‘hugger fingers’ as they hug the bow and overlap the thumb. The first finger lays a little past the first joint, but not as far over the stick as the hugger fingers. Set the pinkie last. It sits on the inner bevel of the stick, close to ring finger and always rounded. You should practice placing the fingers without your violin, strive to understand the relationship between the fingers in terms of balance. The thumb and pinkie push in opposing directions. The huggers keep the bow secure between the thumb and pinkie, the first finger keeps the bow from slipping forward or back. When one of these fingers isn’t doing its job, the result can be seen all the way to the shoulder. Your high elbow and straight pinkie are a very common problem. They are a result of the weak back of the hand/ pinkie. That’s just the way we’re made, so we have to build strength in that part of the hand. Hold the bow upright, place fingers carefully, look at them, check them. Then each time you begin to play, first set the bow grip, place bow to string, pull pinkie back and let the elbow drop. Remember, pinkie must stay on the inner side of the stick, not the top of the stick, so pull it back and your elbow will drop automatically in response. Now with the weight of your arm pulling the bow from underneath, instead of pushing the bow from above it, you have so many advantages! Weight in the bow adds tone. Lower elbow reserves your energy. Keep fingers firm on the bow and don’t let them change. Ever. Keep elbow low and relaxed. I congratulate you for taking on violin study! It is the hardest instrument! You play well in tune with a big tone. Now it’s time to play even better!