Straight Bow on the Violin

Eleanor Bennett said: Oct 26, 2014
 Violin, Viola
62 posts

It seems that no matter how many games or exercises I use to teach a straight bow, some students just don’t get it. Some do very well for a while and then the tip starts wandering over the fingerboard again. Are there any suggestions for a better way of teaching the bow, or is this just something you have to keep working on?

Eleanor Bennett

Sue Hunt said: Oct 27, 2014
Sue HuntViola, Violin
403 posts

I truly think that the key is engaging the child’s senses. Put the child in charge of noticing what the bow is up to. If he can’t tell you what’s going on, he is moving the bow too fast. Give him one thing on which to focus, and ask him to do it at the speed at which he can notice it.
As my wonderful teacher trainer Betsy Stuen Walker says, “Technique Takes Time!”

Sue Hunt said: Dec 8, 2014
Sue HuntViola, Violin
403 posts

Thanks Bruce. This game is in 40 Games To Teach Straight Bowing. It’s so important to listen to what you are doing. Because playing a string instrument is so complicated, the senses can hijack each other. In this case, they can prevent us from listening.

Maeve O'Hara said: Dec 11, 2014
Maeve O’Hara
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Oak Park, IL
5 posts

Hi Eleanor (and Sue!)— I purchased the “Straight Bowing” games book a few months ago… do yourself a favor and get it! It’s been so helpful to me this fall— there are a LOT of different games, and one of my favorite pages is the illustrated diagram “How your arm works”. There’s also this PVC pipe invention she recommends making (”the monorail”), which I did… it’s now one of my students’ FAVORITE tools from my toolkit.

From my own experience, bowing on the “bow hand side” of your body is a common culprit of a crooked bow— guiding the bow hand in FRONT of the body is part of the equation that many string players-not just students— miss. I still remember the day I realized this in my own playing— it was such a revelation. Sue’s book has a nice game suggesting a target that you have their frog aim for while practicing.

P.S.— Sue— endless thank you’s for this great book!

Sue Hunt said: Dec 12, 2014
Sue HuntViola, Violin
403 posts

Thank you Maeve. I’m always glad to know I’ve be helpful.

Bettina said: Feb 13, 2015
 6 posts

I was looking for games to help teach my 4 year old better bowing technique and found a treasure-trove in Sue’s “Straight Bowing” book. Thanks, Sue!

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