Beginner’s Guide to Holding a Violin Bow: 6 Steps
Do you wish to learn to play the violin? That’s fantastic! To improve your musical abilities, you must find out how to properly handle a violin bow and start with perfecting the basics. It is important to grasp the basic concepts of proper bow holding and what it can do to your performance.
The right bow grip will enhance your playing instantly and avoid tenseness and sore in your hands, wrists, and fingers after practice.
Holding a violin bow
Maintaining your hand, wrist, and fingers relaxed is one of the most important elements of a perfect violin bow grip. They should be in the shape of a horizontal line and should appear to be an extension of your arm.
Placement of Fingers
Your thumb should be slightly rounded and bent. Then, place it beneath the wooden stick near the bow’s bottom section, or what we call frog.
Place your bent thumb on the tip of the stick between the hair on the bow and the stick, letting it to rest on your thumb while holding the bow.
Always maintain a curved and rounded thumb. Take the bow’s tip with your left hand and observe if your thumb is supporting the frog with a bow.
When everything appears to be in order, grab the bow you are holding in your left hand, near the frog, and put your middle finger in front of your thumb on the stick. When holding a bow, it is important that your middle and index fingers should create a ring. The thumb should maintain its position forward of the middle finger.
Maintain a relaxed and rounded middle finger, lightly curled across the tip of the bow stick, between the knuckles.
The tip of the pinky finger should be somewhat rounded, and space the fingers as uniformly as possible. While The thumb is hidden by the middle finger. When they feel at ease, they make the same shape and distance as when they are holding the bow.
When all your fingers are curled slightly above the bow stick’s top, retract your pinky finger, and place it on the tip of your index finger. It should be remained spherical and flexible, around the ring finger.
Relax your index or pointing finger and allow it to rest on the bow stick. If it is relaxed and free, it should be remained curved.
Violinist’s Point of View
From the violinist’s perspective, this is how the bow should be held. As you can see, the knuckles line up with the bow and all the fingers are spaced evenly.
You already know the proper placements of fingers when holding a violin bow. So, let us now proceed to the six steps on how to get a right bow grip!
STEP 1: Make a round shape
Bend your middle, ring, and thumb fingers. Then, form a spherical shape with your thumb tip situated between the ring and middle fingers.
STEP 2: Create a bunny’s face
Make a bunny’s face by curving your pinky finger and index finger. Then, increase them a little to create the ears of a bunny. Relax your grip.
STEP 3: Thumb’s Placement
Place your curved thumb between the bow hair and the stick, at the end of the frog.
STEP 4: Relax!
Allow the ring and middle fingers to fall into place. The middle finger should be on the opposite side of the thumb. It should be adjacent to the ring or fourth finger.
STEP 5: Pinky Finger’s Placement
Keep your bent pinky finger slightly apart from your ring finger.
STEP 6: Correct Spot of the Index Finger
Finally, your index finger should be relaxed and place it on the stick, lightly curled towards the direction of the other fingers. To keep your grasp on the stick while playing, you usually place your index finger on the leather section of it.
The Don’ts in Holding a Violin Bow
Do not let your palm and wrist feel stiff or forced while you play
It is good that you have already perfected holding a bow, but your hand is still sore after all your practice. This is what you should do! While playing, make sure that your wrist and palm should not feel rigid or forced. Keep them as smooth and relaxed as your fingertips!
Do not stress in maintaining your bow hold
Do not be concerned if you are having trouble keeping your bow in place while playing. It is normal that your hand will automatically adapt to how you wield your bow. Usually, your fingers are going to be nice and curled during downstrokes and somewhat extended during upstrokes.
Do not move your bow around the strings and make scratchy noises
To eliminate scratchy noises your bow creating by sliding around on the strings, maintain the bow completely centered on the string. Be certain that the bow has contacted the string at the exact spot where the bridge meets the fingerboard.
Do not bend your wrist
Your hand muscles have not yet become used to the bow grip. So, your wrist might desire to bend in order to compensate. Maintain a relaxed, neutral, and flexible wrist posture.
Do not give up!
Do not be concerned when the bow grip seems strange for a time. Your hands and fingers require a little more work to get it correctly. You will not even notice it that the way you hold the bow will naturally switch to the proper bow hold.
Well done! Now that you already learned the ways and steps to achieve a right bow grip, all that remains is to PRACTICE. While watching TV, eating dinner, working, or going to school, repeat the finger posture with or without a bow. It will become second nature before you realize it!