Passion fuels music, and the violin is the perfect instrument to challenge your hidden potential and produce diverse music styles. For centuries, the violin has been used to generate unique and groovy music genres ranging from country to jazz to rock music. Violin is the most preferred and popular instrument in the music industry.
However, playing violin might be more challenging than it seems. Playing violin demands months or even years of practice to master the true art of producing soothing, grooving, and catchy harmony for different genres. As a beginner, you might have noticed the most challenging part of playing the violin is holding and keeping control of the bow on the strings.
The correct and appropriate hold of the bow can change and instantly improve your playing pattern. It can prevent your hand, wrist, fingers, and body from feeling stiff and painful after hours of practice. To help you master the art of learning violin and discover your true potential, we have created this beginner’s blog that highlights everything you need to know about playing violin right from the start!
How to hold a violin bow?
If this is your first time playing the violin for the first time, consider learning from experts with years of experience and the right skills to teach young talented kids wanting to learn violin. Remember, 5-7 years is the ideal age to start violin. However, it is always best to consult an expert before joining the music class to know what is best for your child.
Now, let us look at the six simple steps to hold the violin bow perfectly.
The 6 Steps to Hold a Violin Bow
Step 1: Position the bow correctly
Always begin by positioning the bow correctly on your open left hand with the stick facing up and the end of the bow with the screw pointing towards your fingertips. If you or your child is left-handed, it might take a lot of practice and effort to play violin with another hand.
Nevertheless, you can position the bow in the hand you use the most with the help of experts without compromising or feeling uncomfortable.
Step 2: Rest the bow on your fingers
Following the first pointer, rest the bow on the joint of your first finger or index finger and the pad of your thumb. Ensure the frog should be on the thumb side, and the tip of the bow should extend past the pinky finger on your hand. Most people often get confused about this positioning in the initial stages of their practice. Keep practicing and maintain consistency to strengthen your fingers to hold the bow to play the instrument correctly.
Step 3: Make a round shape with your fingers
Next, it is extremely vital to curve your fingers around the bow stick. To make a perfect curve, slightly bend your index finger and the pinky finger at a sharp angle. Your middle and ring fingers should be curved around the stick and placed opposite to your index finger. The curve of your middle finger should be slightly less than your index and pinky finger curve.
Step 4: Rest your thumb properly
It is impossible to make a perfect curve without resting your thumb properly on the stick. You should rest your thumb on the frog of the bow and the tip of your thumb touching the underside of the stick. Ensure that the pad of your thumb rests on the top of the frog while playing the instrument. Wrong positioning of your thumb or imbalance in holding the bow with your thumb can cause you to lose your grip and affect how you play the instrument.
Step 5: Position your hand
The position of your hand is the key to better control and flexibility in holding the bow while playing the instrument for long hours. Correct positioning of your hand also allows you to play the right chords and prevent body fatigue. You should position so that the wrist is slightly above the frog of the bow. Your wrist should be straight ( not bent) and in alignment with your arm to maintain the correct position and have better control over the instrument.
Step 6: Apply pressure
Lastly, following all the pointers mentioned above, apply the appropriate pressure with your index finger and thumb to grip the bow perfectly so that it doesn’t fall. Avoid putting too much pressure, as it can create tension in your hand or arm. Your grip on the bow should be firm and relaxed to allow you to hit the right strings and produce melodious harmony.
At Anselmo Academy, we consist of a highly trained and qualified teachers who give their best to create a safe and healthy learning environment for young talented kids. We pay the utmost attention to every kid and focus on bringing the best creative sides of them through our violin lessons in NYC. Get in touch with us to learn more about our music lessons for kids or to speak directly with one of our instructors.
5 Common Mistakes to Avoid With a Violin Bow Hold for Beginners
As a beginner, there are several mistakes that you should avoid in the initial stages before they become annoying habits and hinder your performance.
1. Tight grip
You should never hold your bow too tightly as it can give rise to tension in your arm and hand. Holding your bow too tightly can create distractions and divert your focus from hitting the correct chords. It can also produce a harsh, scratchy, and unpleasant sound affecting your performance. Take deep breaths and calm your mind before practicing with your violin to help you bring the best version of yourself in front of huge audiences.
2. Not properly curving your fingers
Curving your fingers is the most significant part of playing the instrument. Without the correct bent or curve, you won’t be able to have a proper grip on the bow and will always struggle to maintain balance. Curving your fingers around the bow gives you more control and flexibility in moving your hand back and forth and producing soothing and melodious harmony.
3. Wrong position of your thumb
One of the most common mistakes beginners make is not placing their thumb in the right position. Your thumb should always rest on the frog of the bow with the pad of the thumb on top and the tip touching the underside of the stick. Placing your thumb on the side of the blow or letting it slip down towards the tip can create instability and loss of control over the instrument.
4. Collapsing the wrist
As a beginner, you might find it challenging to hold your wrist above the frog, resulting in writing collapsing. This can create more tension and affect the ability to produce a melodious sound. Your wrist should be positioned slightly above the frog to allow better control and flexibility throughout the performance. Practice daily to maintain a good position and produce appealing sounds.
5. Improper position of the bow
Lastly, holding the bow too close or too far from the frog creates discomfort and results in loss of control. The bow should always be held at a comfortable position/ distance from the frog allowing for proper control and flexibility.
How to strengthen your bow hand?
Strengthening your bow hand is the most crucial aspect of learning violin. It allows you to develop good control and a unique technique to play violin for different music styles. Here are some incredible ways to strengthen your bow hand.
Use a grip strengthener
A grip strengthener is the most underrated practicing tool for strengthening your hand to hold the bow for long periods. Grip strength improves your grip to hold the bow and strengthens the muscles of your hands and fingers to perform other activities. It is an excellent exercising tool to add more power and grip to your hands.
Practice bow exercises
There are several bowing exercises that you can do daily to strengthen your bow hand. These exercises help you sharpen your muscle memory to hold the bow in the correct position. You can check online violin bowing exercises to determine the most appropriate exercise to strengthen your bow hand and boost greater efficiency.
Practice holding the bow
Practice, practice, and practice till you get it right. Only by practicing how to hold the bow can you play melodious sounds and effortlessly hit the right strings. Keep practicing holding the bow with proper grip and positioning until it becomes comfortable and natural. You can also consider doing air practice, where you imagine holding the bow while doing different tasks or when you can not play your violin for a few hours.
Do finger and hand exercises
If you are not comfortable using a grip strengthener or other complex exercises, you can consider doing different finger and hand exercises to boost the muscles and strength in your hand. Thumb stretch, hand lift, wrist turn, and hand wave are some of the best finger exercises you can perform daily to boost the strength and flexibility of your fingers.
At Anselmo Academy, we are committed to educating our students with the best teaching experience and creating an environment where they can flourish and bring out the best version of themselves when performing in front of huge audiences.