Bow Hold Games

Louise Thomsen said: Oct 22, 2013
Louise ThomsenViolin
Århus N, Denmark
2 posts

Dear fellow teachers
I’m making a collection of bow hold games for my students. I have a lot, but if you all could come up with more I would be thrilled :)
The list I have:
- Make a bunny with your hand (without bow)
- The cat and the mice (without bow). Palm upwards moving the thumb in and out without the other fingers moving (the mice).
- Walking with a coin or toy on the bow tip
- The rocket
- The whitch-stew (stirring in a circle in front of you)
- Drawing figures in the air
- Magical Glasses (looking through the bow)
- Spider Climb (climbing up and down the bow with the fingers)
- Windscreen-wiper
- Elevator
- Cowboy
- Playing the trumpet
- Pressing the nose with the tip
- The elephant
- Rowing boat
- Ping-pong
- Motorcycle
- Bunny ears and bunny yawn (lifting fingers two and two)
- The mountain rails (parent holding on in each end of the bow. Student moving hand up and down the bow)
- Drying clothes (parent holding on in each end of the bow. Student making a heavy bow hold in the middle of the bow)
- Tickle the bow
- Swinging the bow and grasping it again

I have more.. but they take time explaining..

Any more ideas?

Best, Louise, Denmark

Best regards,
Louise Svane Thomsen

Helen Jacob-Stein said: Oct 22, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
4 posts

Find balance point of bow, hold stick here, lightly, between middle finger and thumb.
Add one finger at a time (to previous balance exercise), slide hand down to frog, do any other actions.
Play while lifting off various fingers (but not thumb!)
Hold bow at tip, play with it upside down. Hear the difference! Feel how balance changes.

Janet Poth said: Oct 22, 2013
Janet PothViolin, Viola
San Clemente, CA
5 posts

I also have a collection of bow exercises I use for students of various ages and skill levels.
For spider races I use toy batons about the length of the bow. These can be passed in group relay races.
Students with an established bow hold show a tick/ tock with the vertical bow. This is similar to Suzuki’s Pan/da.
We create geometric shapes using the arm, bow, and fingerboard. Triangles at the tip and frog and a square using the bent elbow lead into “silent string crossings” and bow circles.
Larger arm movements create beautiful patterns with silk streamers.
Balanced thumb lifts and pinky taps strengthen weak fingers.
These are a few of the current favorites.

Sue Hunt said: Oct 23, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
389 posts

I’ve taken these from 36 Beginner Bow Hold Games.

Mrs Messy’s bow hold: For group classes

Mrs Messy never gets it right. My students love her visits.

The teacher makes a horrible bow hold. The children learn by making suggestions on how to improve it. Let volunteers shape a more comfortable bow hole for poor Mrs Messy. She will talk her way through the exercise, loose focus and need to have things explained and demonstrated over and over, till she gets it. Each child can improve one thing. This activity helps reinforce the basics of making a bow hold.

Variation for those who are familiar with the game: be tricky and make a bow hold in your left hand.

Behind your back:

Can you make a bow hold behind your back? Be careful not to let your hand slip when you show off your beautiful bow hold. Some young children will need help extricating the bow from behind, with the bow hold still intact.

Teach your parent:

This is instructive for the parent. You will see yourself mirrored in your child’s teaching method. Don’t forget to show how grateful you are for being helped. If you like how your child teaches you, well done, if not, then change the way you teach.

Group version:
Children move round a circle of parents teaching as many as possible and displaying the results. It is very helpful to parents and children who get an insight into how others work. We can all help and learn from each other.

Elise Winters said: Oct 23, 2013
Elise Winters
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Austin, TX
37 posts

That is quite a list!! Could you explain how to do these:

Magical Glasses (looking through the bow)
Playing the trumpet
Pressing the nose with the tip
The elephant

My favorite exercise is “Pinky Push-Outs.” This is basically the rowing exercise, but for the fingers instead of the arm. The index stays curved; the pinky & thumb extend (as they would do at the tip of the bow) and “recover” their bent shape. This is done on a pencil, not on the bow itself.

We do a few of these each lesson to encourage mobility in the fingers; then focus on this same finger motion when doing long bows on the violin. While the occasional student might need to consciously release the thumb & pinky curve (down-bow, at the tip), most students only need to focus on recovering the curve (up-bow, approaching the middle).

I also do frog hops (frog, middle, tip) and crickets (same thing, but making a tiny note as you jump to the new location).

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