Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bow arm ideas

Months and months ago, Desiree asked:

I was just practing with Lizeth yesterday and I used the ribbon on her violin. I've noticed that she uses her shoulder and not just her elbow. Do you have any videos or visual ideas I have use to show her about the proper way to move the bow. Its especially hard since I don't play the violin myself.
I have put it off long enough, and since WonderGirl is home sick, I had time to beg her to be my model so I could SHOW what I mean.  Sometimes words just get in the way.  First, find a wall.

Have the student stand at a slight angle, with their right ride touching the wall and the other side at a 45ish degree away from the wall.

Their bow arm, from the shoulder to the elbow, should be touching the wall completely.  Then, have the student play open strings (A is best to start with), but their elbow and entire arm cannot come away from the wall.

They may try to pull the shoulder so the elbow swings away and bumps back into the wall, but gently touch/hold their arm just above the elbow to help their body understand.  Their elbow will begin to kick move the right way.  The next problem may be their bow is still sliding around the string - remind them that it is their wrist's job to help keep it straight.

It's not best to have them practice this way the entire lesson, but it's a great way to remind the body of how playing with a straight bow feels.  Come back to it from time to time as a refresher for older students too.

Also, as I've said before, I use a Bow Right with WonderGirl.  At first I was nervous that I was cheating, but I called my veteran violin teaching aunt and confessed to her, and she laughed and told me to use ANYthing that made it easier for WG to play and enjoy the violin.

I found a video someone made of a student playing with a Bow Right.  As you can see, it doesn't restrict them totally - they can still play with their elbow, but they tap into the device when they do and it reminds them to straighten out.

I grew up with devices my mom invented - from popsicle sticks to pencils rubber-banded to the violin in about the same way.  I've never been as good at makingthem, and since we use the Bow Right daily, it is easy to take on and off and store.  

Also - this is something I've never seen before -the video description says it's a Bow Right but it's not a generation I'm familiar with:

My sincere apologies to Desiree for my tardiness, and my thanks to WG for being my model despite feeling less than tip-top :)  If you have any other ideas, please share them with us in the comments!


Jane said...

I wonder if I could teach my cat violin...

Natalie said...

Oh I love this post! Mostly because it reminds of the day your tried to teach me how to play one simple note on your violin and you had to stand me against our dorm room door to keep my arm from flailing about (just like a five year old). :-)
Loves ya Girl!!!

Desiree said...

Thanks so much for posting... We are starting our practicing in February so actually this was perfect timing! Kind of bummed you're not close... but thanks to Mr. Internet you're only a couple keys and a click away!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...