Changing Bow Thumb Placement


Phankao said: Nov 4, 2013
 128 posts

How old do kids usually change from thumb below frog to inside?

Laura said: Nov 4, 2013
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Mancos, CO
106 posts

I use other factors then age to determine if they are ready to move the thumb. For example, it should be moved before the minuets because of the longer bow strokes needed at this point in Suzuki book 1. Also if the bow hold is solid and comfortable with the thumb on the outside then it is safe to move it in. I have also switched to inside thumb very early for one student with a small hand who just couldn’t reach her middle fingers around the bow with her thumb on the outside. It truly depends on the student.


Phankao said: Nov 5, 2013
 128 posts

Oh, so early on? Actually my boy’s teacher did ask him to work on moving in the thumb sometime ago at beginning of Book 2 early this year, and he did, but somehow we forgot about it along the way, and we just went on and on. He’s midway thru book 3 already now and very happily has his thumb on the outside still. ;P

Carolyn Nadeau said: Nov 9, 2013
5 posts

My children’s violin teacher has them move their thumbs in before the Minuets as well. My daughter is just starting to work on moving her thumb in and just started working on Andantino. She puts her thumb in for her easy songs and plays with it on the outside for her newer songs, for now. My older child moved in her thumb before my younger child because she had a stronger bow hold.

Jennifer Visick said: Jan 25, 2014
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1072 posts

If the student is ready to use the whole bow, then they need to have the thumb inside. Mechanically, it is difficult not to hit the thumb against the corner of the C-bout, and/or the bridge or strings, if the student is trying to actually get to the frog.

(I generally teach whole bows around Vn or Vla book 1’s Allegro, usually).

If the student is anywhere between middle school and adult, I might start the student with the thumb inside. Or, at most, keep the student on the thumb-outside bowhold for several months. If the student is 3 or 4, they might be on the beginner’s bow hold for (maybe) 6 months to a (maybe) a couple of years.

Phankao said: Jan 26, 2014
 128 posts

Oh, Ok. My son finally got his thumb in when we were doing the last piece in Book 3. And it’s very stable, tucked in there now. ;D Somehow something clicked finally. haha. He’s just over 5yrs old now and doing Book 4 Vivaldi 1st mvt.

Mengwei Shen said: Feb 18, 2014
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
220 posts

Several of my students complain(ed) when transitioning to inside thumb—it’s too hard, it’s uncomfortable, I don’t like it, etc. It takes weeks/months of reminding before they get used to it!

Phankao said: Feb 27, 2014
 128 posts

It took us about 3 weeks when we finally consciously remembered to work on the placement everyday during practice.

Louise said: Feb 28, 2014
 6 posts

I like how the Bow Hold Buddies sets position the thumb, and keep it flexed—so my students start from Day One with the thumb where/how it will always be. Simple.

Phankao said: Feb 28, 2014
 128 posts

the bow hold buddies’ 2 parts—the “hole” is just a tad too wide for my son’s 1/16 violin bow’s “stick”. So it slides around instead of stay in place.

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