How should I correct my daughter’s bow hold

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Eva Brodbeck said: Dec 4, 2015
 21 posts

I’ve noticed recently my daughter’s bow hold is well off the mark while she plays at home. I noticed she put too much tension and have a firm grip on the bow rather than relaxing the fingers. I asked the teacher about it she said we don’t need to worry about the tension problem now. I also feel that if I don’t correct her sometimes she can put her fingers on the bow all in the right position sometimes not. Should I pay attention to this and try to fix it or just ignore it? If I try too long time to place her fingers at the start she will get impatient and our practice suffers. I can tell she could do better during the class with curved thumb and pinky on the bow all the time but at home it’s all by chance. I’m worried it will affect her performance in the long run. How do the other children aquire their right bow hold? Are they getting it naturally along the course or should it be taught the correct way at the very beginning ? I can see the teacher seems not worry about the picturesque bow hold, like what we see on the advanced players.

Louise said: Dec 4, 2015
 6 posts

Yes, Eva—bravo for paying attention to the development of your daughter’s bow hold. While it is indeed an essential fundamental skill upon which all future success depends, it does take time and care to develop. Check out the Bow Hold Buddies accessory, by Things 4 Strings—it is a fantastic tool to help keep your daughter’s fingers relaxed and in place while she practices.

Mircea said: Dec 4, 2015
Mircea Ionescu
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Piano, Cello, Viola
Crestwood, KY
24 posts

Good question, Eva. I would not worry about the longterm right now. It is easy to get caught up in trying to correct our children. I would recommend focusing on pointing out the good things that she is doing in home practice. I notice that children get frustrated and want to stop practicing if they feel like their parents are always correcting them.

Eva Brodbeck said: Dec 7, 2015
 21 posts

I had purchased the bow buddies accessory before but felt it was too bulky so we stopped using it. Now I picked it up again I suddenly realized why it should work on relaxing the fingers. It helps my daughter to curve her thumb and separate each fingers. I found out it was particularly hard for her to keep the thumb curved and the pinky stand on the bow. I use the bow buddies aids on one bow and use another bow without it. We practice with the bow buddies on one bow on the open string and the other bow without it on her shoulder. After a while her fingers are getting very relaxed totally without the aid. So this it, once she gets used to curve her thumb all the time and not being stiff with it the entire bow hold gets easier. Thumb is really the most important part of the dominant hand in regards of fine motor control. I also realized what separates human hands and the hands of other primes is the flexibility of the thumb. It is hard for a young child to hold a pencil for the same reason as trying to retain a correct bow hold, isn’t it? To do it she has to get a curved thumb stay in place. Bow buddies are bulky indeed and it tips the balance of the bow but it helps inadvertantly to solve our problem by forming a habitual thumb position.

Louise said: Dec 7, 2015
 6 posts

You are exactly right, Eva—the Bow Hold Buddies set relaxes the hand, and assures a flexibly bent thumb and curved pinky finger. These skills will settle into habit over time. Here’s a good pic I found that shows the softness in the bow holds of three players of various ages:

Bow Hold Buddies set in use, from @bowholdbuddies Twitter page

Bow Hold Buddies set in use, from @bowholdbuddies Twitter page.

Image by Louise Kimon

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