Lilting Fiddle

Learning to Play Fiddle as an Adult

Violin Bow Hold

Posted on January 24, 2019

One of the intimidating challenges I’ve faced as a beginner is dat bow hold. I’d heard about bow grip before I picked up violin, but I didn’t quite believe something as simple as holding something would be complex.

Oh, man, let me tell you what. I’ve never needed to hold an object the way that you have to hold a violin bow. It’s been a completely new experience for my hand — one that even made my poor tendons ache when I practiced it at first.

The book series I’m working with actually doesn’t even get into holding and using a bow until much, much further into the process. It’s focused on having me learn notes and plink them out with my finger, somewhat like a tiny guitar. But even so, I try to spend a few minutes of my practice time every day to arrange my hand in a bow hold and draw the bow across the strings as straight as I can.

I also find myself making the “bunny” position with my hand when I’m at work throughout the day to reinforce the position required. I think the hardest thing about the bow hold is trying to keep my thumb curved and hand overall relaxed.

Pictures don’t do this justice. This video was a great help, however:

I also ordered something called a Bow Buddy, which is a weird looking little attachment that you can use to help you learn the muscle memory of where your fingers need to go. Mine should be arriving today, I believe, so I’ll see if this helps me train my hand.

Next time around, I want to talk about the book and practice materials I’ve been using to learn. I’ve found one that I really like, and would greatly suggest to anyone just starting out!

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