One of the most challenging things for me when learning to play violin was getting my head around the proper bow hold. I watched videos. I read articles. I tried to follow all the examples I saw.
I still had issues to the point where improper bow hold was straining my hand and going to keep me from moving forward in practice. So, I decided to pick up a Bow Buddy. This is a rubber attachment you put on your bow (you do have to disassemble the frog to do so – but it’s good info to know!) that forces your hand into the bow hold shape. It’s obviously geared towards children in design, but actually helped me a whole lot for the past few weeks.
It got to the point where I could focus on notes and putting the bow on the strings without struggling so much with the hold. But I knew that eventually, I’d have to move beyond my Bow Buddy and learn to hold the bow organically.
I was browsing through a number of blog posts today and ran across a series of videos on Michael Sanchez’s YouTube channel. Tonight when I came home to practice, I decided to check out his video on the bow hold… and I’m not sure what it was, but something just clicked for me.
Maybe it’s because of the time I spent with the Bow Buddy. Maybe it’s because this video really went into problem pressure points and exactly how to keep your hand relaxed when holding the bow. I had a vague idea about all of this, of course, but it didn’t really come together until tonight.
I also was absolutely not holding my thumb the way it needed to be, and this video helped me figure out what I’d been doing wrong there. My hold is, of course, not 100% perfect, but I think I’ve make a huge step forward with it.
I even took off the Bow Buddy! I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing. It’s always a great feeling to see progress in any area!