Monday, March 14, 2016

Violin Bow Exercises

Use the violin bow to develop your playing strength and endurance.

Violin bow exercises are essential to increase the strength in your hands and ability to balance the bow. These exercises are workouts for your arms and ensure that you develop the strength and coordination to effectively manipulate the bow. Violinists must have extreme control over their hands and should be able to complete these basic exercises with ease.

Rocking 


With your right forearm holding the bow, rock the bow across the strings back and forth like a teeter-totter. Aim to achieve a consistent and fluid motion. Another good exercise for developing technique is to take the frog of the bow and place it on the string. Lift the bow in a quick motion and land the middle of the bow onto the string. Then, lifting the bow again, try to hit the string with just the tip of the bow. These exercises improve your bowing accuracy and spatial recognition.

Bow Tip 


Direct the tip of the bow up at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Turn the tip in a circular motion, keeping the center of the bow directly on the strings. Do this several times to develop the muscles in your forearms and your bowing flexibility. Complete this exercise again going in the opposite direction. At first, you may feel a burn in your forearms doing this exercise. Start with 30 seconds and increase the time to one minute as you develop your strength.

Climbing 


Put the violin down and hold the bow with just your right hand. To develop strength in your right hand, practice moving up the bow in a crawling motion. First move your index finger and middle finger and then move your thumb along the side of the bow. Continue this exercise until you have reached the end of the violin bow. This exercise helps develop the balance necessary to hold the violin bow among your pivot fingers -- thumb, index, and middle finger -- and improve your finger dexterity.

Bending 


Standing up straight, hold the frog of the bow with your right hand in a normal playing position. Point the tip of the bow straight up to the ceiling with your arm fully extended. Lower your arm in an arc while keeping the tip pointed up toward the ceiling. As your arm becomes level with the ground, begin to bend at the knees and lower the bow's frog to the ground until it touches. This improves your coordination and ability to manipulate the bow with a single hand.

References

"The Study of Orchestration"; Samuel Adler; 2002
Red Hot Springs; Violin Bow Exercises; Nicole Scoffield; 2008