Hey there, I’m Dr. David Wallace with myTalentForge.com‘s Quick Tip of the Week!
This tip is all about making your bow feel weightless, so that we’re getting rid of tension.
A lot of times when people handle their bow, they grab it or they squeeze it. So they are using these muscles, and they have an automatic tension lock on the bow.
That’s not going to be comfortable and that’s not going to sound good.
So, to help people feel better- a lot of times what I’ll do is… I’ll go to vertical.
If you just suspend your bow with your right hand- just making a loop like this- the bow is just hanging like a pendulum. And all the weight is going straight down into gravity.
So, it’s balanced, and you don’t actually have to exert any effort to hold it with your left hand here. But you also don’t have to use much effort to hold it that way with your other hand.
So you can just move this up and shake out your hand. You probably have a habit of saying “Oh, I’m going to play the bow”- so you go into this lock already, don’t do that. Inhibit that. Say no, shake it out.
Have your hand in a natural curved shape.
Then just bring it over… let these fingers touch the frog, bring your thumb opposite, and it should still feel weightless.
I’m still just suspending here, but I just let it hang.
Now, just pull down just a little bit, and let your arm pull down, and let your fingers resist that pull. And if you have that kind of clinging feeling, but you’re not squeezing. You’ll have very good contact, but you can still sense everything- it all feels good.
Now, what I can do now- it’s still balanced if I let go. And just hold it straight up, I am still not squeezing… the bow is still balanced. Keep that feeling of balance, it feels weightless.
Now try drawing some circles with the bow. Try letting the tip stay in the same place, maybe put a finger there. Make some circles with your arm to draw a cone with it.
But still keep that feeling of weightlessness and balance.
Then eventually, when you do take your instrument and have it up, then you take this straight up and down vertical thing- you can actually bring it over to your top string if you want.
And you can just let go, and let the string hold the weight. So you still have that contact and that full sound.
That’s going to get a very different tone and you’re not going to be squeezing.
So, even in rehearsals- like if I’m playing a concerto with the orchestra- during the rests, I’ve got my bow straight up and down and I’m letting go.
In an orchestra situation, I put the bow on my knee, and just let my hand regroup and go back to vertical. So that’s going to help get rid of a lot of tension, get you more comfortable way of handling the bow, and keep things in balance.