Left-handed student—bow hand issues

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Elizabeth said: Apr 4, 2011
Elizabeth SkinnerViolin, Viola
Essex Junction, VT
8 posts

Hi—I’m sure this has been addressed a million times but I couldn’t find anything on the site. I realize that many of our students are left-handed and don’t have any particular issues.

However, I have a young girl who is left-handed and really struggling with her bow hold. I know that her mother doesn’t want me to push her and I understand why. I’ve tried to come up with games to get her used to keeping her hand in the proper position. Any other ideas?
Thanks!

Sara said: Apr 4, 2011
 Violin
191 posts

Do bow exercises that will strengthen the hand, then she will have more control over what her fingers do. I don’t think it’s “right hand” vs. “left hand”. I have plenty of students that are right-handed and with all of them, we have to build up the bow hand just the same.

The bow exercises have to be done as part of practice. I tell my students and parents that it is like an athlete who has to do stretches before running, violinists are like athletes, and our “stretches” are the bow exercises. It doesn’t take long for a beginning student—maybe 1-3 minutes is all.

Good luck!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Ruth Brons said: Apr 5, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

First, please let this student’s mom know that her child is well within the realm of “normal,”
as many right-handed students find the bow hold challenging as well.

However, the bow hold is about as essential a fundamental as there is,
so do NOT allow the parent to cut this technique from your lesson objectives.

I start all my beginners with a Bow Hold Buddies™ bow accessory, from Things 4 Strings LLC.
But, for those continuing students whose brains are “wired” to approach the bow hold as a difficult task,
it is especially useful in the “re-wiring”.
This is because the accessory encourages the hand to relax and feel comfortable with the fingers in position.
And while the hand is passively learning from the accessory, forward progress in other lesson areas can resume.

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