That wiggly bow shoulder

Jennifer said: Aug 15, 2013
Jennifer Vinciguerra
Suzuki Association Member
Pikeville, NC
4 posts

I need some tips for getting my students to keep their shoulder stationary and let the lower half of the arm do the work of bowing. It tends to be the adult male students that have the most difficulty doing this.
What I have tried:
- Reminding them to open and close the elbow like the door of a bus or a hinge
- Reminding them not to flap their arm like a chicken wing
- Putting something on the shoulder that would be a tactile reminder
- Have them stand with the shoulder against a wall (which is helpful but very awkward)
- Dangling a key chain on a rubber band around their upper arm which makes them aware of the movement.

I welcome any other suggestions!

Amanda Marie said: Sep 6, 2013
Amanda Marie TewViolin
Saint Joseph, MI
14 posts

One suggestion from my teacher training this summer was thinking about the radius bone (the one that runs from elbow to thumb) moving down and up. I have been pleasantly surprised how much this body awareness really helps my older beginners.

Sue Hunt said: Sep 7, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
389 posts

Sometimes, you have to be prepared to try lots of different ideas. Some students respond best to visual metaphors, others to aural, or kinaesthetic.

Often it’s easier to get it right away from the instrument. Sound is a great distractor.

This game uses visual, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory senses. Make sure you ask them questions about what they are doing, e.g. “What’s you shoulder/elbow doing here.”

Reach for a Treat

Reach for a Treat. From 40 Great Games to Teach Straight Bowing

Image by Sue Hunt

Elizabeth said: Sep 27, 2013
Elizabeth Kilpatrick
Suzuki Association Member
4 posts

When I teach this, I start with a wood bow and they bow on their shoulder. We also do the “Dirty Doggy” rhyme on their arm. plus a lot of just plain old pepperoni pizza’s on the a string, and constantly enforcing opening from the elbow and using the wrist. When they have a tape on their violin to use as a highway, I find that helps to as a visual. But I am not sure this could help with older adult students.


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