Written by Heather Broadbent
Published: October 15, 2013 at 12:27 PM [UTC]
It is so important to feel 100% comfortable in absolutely every part of the bow. When I say every part of the bow – I literally mean every part of the bow including the extreme frog and the extreme tip. I will never forget the lessons I had with Rachel Barton Pine and we worked on the bow. I absolutely loved working on the bow with her. We would do exercises at the frog. I thought, "OK, I'm at the frog," and she would say, "No, EXTREME frog at the silver!" That was another world for me. The same with the tip – it was EXTREME tip! Talk about improvements to upbow staccato. EXTREME tip is a game-changer for upbow staccato.
What I have found with my students is that they are uncomfortable in certain parts of the bow because their bow arm is tense in those areas. The most common place of tension is at the frog. When this happens the student avoids the frog like the plague and only plays from the middle to the tip. If you find yourself to be a frog hater – do a tension check in your shoulder, elbow and most definitely in your pinky. If you are a frog hater I can almost guarantee that your pinky is not curved.
This is completely possible to change. You can absolutely turn yourself into a frog lover! I can show you how.
First, the bow hold and balance in the bow hold is key. If there is tension anywhere in the bow hold, this will be limiting to certain bow strokes. I had a bow hold with an overzealous index finger. This is a normal “issue” because out of all of the fingers, the index finger is the strongest one. So it is natural for him to be the boss. But a hardworking index finger limits the possibilities of the other finger interacting in the bow hold. If you find yourself with the same overactive index, the best way to fix is to play without the index finger and still produce beautiful tone. You will be amazed at how difficult this is and how effective. The awareness of the importance of the other fingers will be revealed.
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