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How To Play With a Straight Bow

Hello Everyone,

Today’s video is about how to play with a straight bow.

Playing with a straight bow is very important because it will give you CONTROL over your bow contact point (where your bow contacts the string of your instrument). If you are in control of your contact point, then you can control such things as:

  • Dynamics: How loud or quiet you can play
  • The quality of your sound: warm, scratchy, bright, airy, focused etc.

There are 3 primary things to remember about the mechanics of how your bow arm functions.

  1. Your arm is separated into 2 distinct parts: Forearm and bicep
  2. These 2 parts will work in specific ways, depending on where you are in the bow: tip VS frog.
  3. The #1 reason why people play with a crooked bow is that they have a LOCKED joints. The #1 joint to NOT lock is the elbow.

HOW, do you use your bow arm? These are the important things to remember.

  1. On a DOWN bow, you will move your bicep first and complete the stroke with your forearm.
  2. On the UP stroke, you will move your forearm first and complete the stroke with your bicep.
  3. You will NEVER want to lock up your elbow.
  4. You must have a flexible bow hand: Fingers/Wrist. If your pinky is locked, that’s a problem!

Here is are two simple exercises the are easy and will help you play with a straiter bow.

  1. Play open strings slowly from the frog to the tip with just open strings or with a scale. Watch closely how your arm is being used and keep an eye on how your bow is contacting the strings. Make sure you are keeping the bow in the same place between the fingerboard and the bridge and remember to use the metronome!
  2. Play open strings or a scale slowly, but with your arm/bicep against the wall. This does not replicate a perfectly functioning arm BUT it will teach you to bend your elbow while using your bow.