Learning the Bow Hold | Herriman Violin Teacher

Learning the Bow Hold | Herriman Violin Teacher

 

 

Learning how to hold a violin bow properly takes a lot of practice and patience. While it’s natural to get excited about playing with the bow on the strings right away, it’s important to establish a good bow hold first to prevent bad habits from sneaking in. Today, I’m sharing my tips for achieving a proper violin bow hold.

 

Practice on a Pencil First

Learn how to hold the bow hold by first forming the bow hold on a pencil. A pencil is much lighter than a bow and, therefore, much easier to learn the proper grip on. I like to use pencil grips to facilitate the bow hold (you can find them on Amazon here and here).

From there, form the proper bow hold by following these steps:

  1. Place your RH pinky in the bumpy grip.

  2. Bend the thumb and place the tip underneath the bottom of the pencil.                                                                       
  3. Rest your other fingers over the pencil, with the index finger on the smooth pencil grip.
  4. Maintain a round hand shape while forming the correct bow hold.

 

Checkpoints:

  • Is your pinky round?
  • Is your thumb bent?
  • Are your fingers relaxed and spread out a bit?
  • Do you have a round hand shape?

 

In a classroom setting, we practice pencil bow holds for about a month before using the real bow. Private students usually practice bow holds for anywhere from 2-4 weeks, depending on how quickly they master the grip.

 

Form the Bow Hold on the Bow

After mastering the proper bow hold on the pencil, you may practice your bow hold on the bow. Form the proper bow hold by following these steps:

  1. Bend the thumb and place the tip right next to the frog on the stick (NOT inside the “mouth” of the frog), then curve the pinky and place the tip on top of the stick (near the bow screw).                                                       
  2. Relax your other fingers over the stick and spread them out a bit.

  3. Maintain a round hand shape while forming the bow hold.

 

Checkpoints:

  • Is your pinky round on top of the stick?
  • Is your thumb bent next to the frog?
  • Is your ring finger on or near the frog eye?
  • Are your fingers relaxed and spread out a bit?
  • Do you have a round hand shape?

 

Master the Bow Hold Using Bow Exercises

When you feel comfortable holding the bow properly, you can strengthen your grip by practicing bow exercises. I teach my students bow exercises that I learned in my Suzuki teacher training (blog post coming soon!) Basically, you move your bow around in various ways while keeping the proper bow grip the entire time you are moving. Strengthening your bow grip is important for creating beautiful tone and mastering bow strokes.

 

Want to strengthen your bow hold? Find my bow hold exercises here!

 

Heather

 

I’d love to work with you! Please contact me for more information about music lessons!

 

 

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