From Jim Glasson
Posted October 20, 2008 at 05:01 PM
I'm into my 4th week and still have a little trouble with the bow bouncing a little as I play.
According to my (excellent!) instructor, I'm holding the bow well but I still get *&^%$ bounce periodically.
I put in about 2+ hours of practice a day and have recently become a bit OCD about stopping the bounce.
As a bit of detail, after about 20 minutes or so, I can still bounce the bow but it's far less.
It might be my 50 year old hands which will be kinda' hard to correct :)
I *believe* my bow hand is loose.
Anyone have a similar experience or tip or two I might try?
With me the problem seemed to be more in the stiffness of my wrists. When my teacher saw I was keeping my bowing wrist straight. She had me lead with my wrist, which caused the bow to be more of edge near the frog and flatter toward the tip.
I practicve bowing with the wrist above the hand on the up stroke and below the hand the other way.
Hope this helped. After doing this, my problem with bow bounce has dropped quite a bit.
that when it bounces, it bounces on a downbow and not upbow, right?
and the section did not indicated spiccato or staccato, right? :) just kidding.
i would like to hear what the experts have to say, but my questions may help clarify the specifics for them. just a nice guy.
Eric: I like your technique. I'm going to employ it as well tonite and see if the dang "bounce" or chatter stops.
I get the bounce mostly on the up stroke and usually between the frog and mid-bow.
I'm finding that I do a little better by lowering my elbow a bit as well. Probably not the best form, but it seems to help.
Also, NOT concentrating on stopping the bounce helps a bit. If I concentrate purely on proper left finger placement while doing scales, it reduces a bit as well.
Ahhh, the life of the beginner.... Fighting ones own body.
glad that the nice guy asked because there may be different bounces at different places from different causes for different folks:)
now we just have to sit tight and see any good teachers will bite! i wonder if anyone will suggest,,,ommmmmm, be the bow,,,
When your bow starts bouncing, instead of adjusting your elbow position, try to roll your right wrist slightly into the bow, adding a little weight. This will often help stop the bounce. Your thumb should act as a fulcrum, the index finger adds and releases weight (activating the "spring" of the bow), and your little finger acts as a counter-balance to your index finger. Generally speaking, you can hold the bow with only your thumb and these two fingers.
I work with many people in the process of finding a new bow, and one thing that may be affecting your bounce could be an improperly weighted, balanced, or cambered (the curve in the bow) bow. Many student or beginner bows are just intended to "saw" across the strings. I'm not saying you should consider upgrading at this point, but have your teacher evaluate your bow. You may find out that the teacher has the same problems with your bow. The most basic bows can actually hamper learning and development of your bow arm.
Josh Henry, Bow Maker
I actually upgraded to a Coda at the behest of my instructor as the beginner bow was making things worse.
My guitar instructor (lo those many years ago) used to say that buying a bit better than you need is an investment.
I've been trying everyone's suggestions with some success on each.
I'll certainly try rolling the my wrist a little farther to add some weight.
Might be usedful to look at the bow holds of these violinists:
Just an idea, it's hard to tell without seeing you what's really going on. In any case, it's a good exercise!
The entire focus of your bow technique should (usually) be the point of contact of the bow and the string. Everything you do with your right hand/arm/shoulder is aimed at that tiny point. The bow hold must adjust to the part of the bow touching the string. The forces from your fingers on the bow will be different depending on where the bow sits on the string AND the kind of stroke you are making.
There are really only three points of contact on the bow. The string and your thumb supporting it upward and (usually) one* (1) finger applying a downward force. That one finger will change depending on where the bow is on the string and what you are intending to do with the bow (probably not too fancy at your stage of development).
* There are some bowing techniques that can involve more than one finger doing things together, or so closely related, that they are touching simultaneously or close to it (watch old films of Heifetz's downbow staccato, z.b. Hora Staccato). But generally, it is a total waste of energy and strength to have fingers pressing on the bow in opposition to each other - and the tension that results can easily result in shaking and random, unwanted bouncing.
with an inadequate bow hold, this "lifting" action may be accentuated for job security:)
i think i know what you are saying and agree that you should not land directly downward. if you can find some tapes of the pros, you may see that they actually incorporate a nice flick action of the wrist to buffer the landing (thus the beginning of the next note). pretty cool to watch because it looks slick:)
I have played violin for over a year now, so I am a newbie too. I had the same problem with my bow hand, in the same section: between the middle and the frog.
My teacher told me I just needed to strengthen (sp?) some muscles that I hadn't been using... for anything except bowing.
So in my case, spending time on bowing slowly, from the tip to the frog, absolutely relaxed, on open strings looking for a delightful sound helped me solve the problem.
Hope this helps :)
I certainly found the proper group of musicians for help.
whatever,,,good luck. it's neat and refreshing to see adults embarking on the violin journey.
It just happened when I was listening to a little Itzhak P. a few years back. I was intrigued and I started reading the biographies of Amati, Stradivari and Guarnieri.
Even went so far as to visit my beloved Metropolitan Museum of Art to see (and hear occasionally) these fine instruments.
I dunno, I just got sucked in.
I looked up violin classes in my area, wound up signing up. Bought a great violin and chincy bow (since upgraded to a Coda) and I've been learning ever since.
I've always LOVED Mozart for his amazing music and Bach I figure is from another planet as no human being can write that well.
I've been playing blues and 60's/70's R&R for so long (Albert King, SRV, Jimmy Page etc.) that at my advanced age (55), this is another experience for me to enjoy.
It's neat as the instructor doesn't need to teach me scales or the circle of 5ths and I can trill the daylights out of the "D" and "E" strings. LOL!!
Now I just need to sit back, learn, play and enjoy.
Thanks for asking!!
-Jim (even have tickets to see Joshua Bell in recital at Avery Fischer in Feb!!)
I can certainly understand your frustration. It seems the more I tried to stop my bouncing bow, the more it bounced!! Here's what helped me:
1) Correcting my bow grip. Someone else had a similar problem earlier in this thread...my middle and ring fingers were not wrapped around the bow enough. Also, my fingers were all too close together. For me personally, my bow grip was also too loose. I was not controlling the bow with my fingers. Once I focused on my first and second fingers controlling the bow, I started to make some progress.
2) My instructor talked a lot about controlling the bow, and how I was not doing that when it bounced. So he would have me play open strings only, full bow length, but stop the bow so you are actually playing four notes on one down bow. Your bow stops one-quarter of the way down, half way, three quarters, and then at the tip. Repeat for the up bow. By stopping your bow, you are forced to control it. Concentrate on how your bow hand feels at that point.
3) Following the past point, concentrate on how your bow hand feels when there is no bounce, so you can duplicate that feeling when there is a bounce. By focusing on how "right" should feel, you might be able to tell what is out of line when things go wrong.
4) Someone else also mentioned wrists...mine wasn't as relaxed as it should have been. I watched a great YouTube video that talked about bending your wrist and bringing your wrist towards your nose on up bow. (Perhaps one of the teachers on here can explain that better?) By consciously thinking of bringing my wrist to my nose, my bowing not only straightened out, it also helped get rid of the bounce.
5) Relax and BREATHE! The more tense I got, the worse I bounced. :)
6) Now I am doing bowing exercises that might have been helpful during the worst bounce times. I do not know what they are called, but for example, the first exercise is a whole note followed by a quarter note. Set your metronome at 66 and play each note with a full bow. Start on G string, play G whole-A quarter. Then Bflat whole-C quarter, D (4th finger) whole-C quarter and back down to G. Then do it on the D string, etc.
I hope some of this has helped. I think one of the biggest changes I made was in my attitude toward the bouncing. I used to get so frustrated, thinking to myself, "Why can't I stop this bouncing!" Then one day I decided to turn it around more positively, and I started thinking, "I CAN stop the bounce, and I will, if only for one bow, or two." By concentrating on a positive outcome instead of the current negative situation, I was able to (finally) stop the bounce. :)
Best of luck!
Buri, you too!!!
It really is a matter of letting ones body do what it needs to do as you say.
To quote a monumental figure I admire - "Don;t think, hit".
Or in this case, don't think - play.
Try going into one of your local violin shops and trying a few of their bows. You might find that a straight bow eliminates the bounce when you have correct technique.
I'm not saying that good equipment can fix all our posture and hold problems (wish it could!), but a bent stick might bounce even for the greatest players of all time.
It also might help to think about guiding the bow instead of controlling the bow.
I know this thread is old, but I want to thank you for the great suggestions. I'm also a novice, only started with the violin about a month ago. I have no music background and I am an adult (forty-something, I forget ;-) ).
I have been having a heck of a time trying to get rid of these unwanted bounces, but everyone here has given me a few things to try. For that I am thankful. Who knows, in a few months or years, I will be able to give something back to a novice too.
And I spend alot of time every day trying to make it bounce. I can do ricochet? jette? fast but I still cant do sautille much and I want it really bad.
It could be age - that guy that was playing during brain surgery had a bouncing problem and they adjusted something in his brain that made his stroke smooth. Its amazing they can do that.
If you're serious about playing violin, get yourself a lot of patience and a teacher. Intonation and bow control are a marathon work, you do little exercises for them everyday, and they slowly come together.
That night, he played Lark Ascending with the student orchestra and you know the rest. My colleague recalled, laughing, "he was trying everything... raising the arm up, putting it down, trying to 'walk it off'. He almost ended up in the first violins!"
It happens to everyone.
After 76 years of playing the violin I have developed the problem he described (upbows only). It may be a combination of a familial ("essential") tremor and some problems with one or more shoulder muscles (the muscles for upbow and downbow are not the same).
It would probably be a good idea to get a medical diagnosis for this and start a regimen of prescribed physical therapy.
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