December 11, 2008 at 11:02 PM
Okay, how about the locked-in-place thumb that creates a stiff wrist; do you have any ideas for curing a student of this malady? So far remedies attempted include scrunching and pivoting exercises with bow and pencil, but these are muscle exercises that, while they help the fingers learn to maneuver the bow stick in many ways, are different than (yet related to) allowing the flexibility. I could just use a few more tricks to try.
This is true and I have notice that many thumb crispation problems come when the fingers are not "down ennough" on the bow. Since it is like manipulating the bow with the tips of the fingers, it makes it harder and the player has no grip and is tense + when tilting the bow too much without noticing it, you lose sound and you wonder why and you press harder with the first finger to compensate wich is wrong. I have notice that when I begin to press harder with the first finger it is always because of these: using too much bow in some places thus creating no sound and 0 articulation of playing, tilting to much the bow, don't stay on the sound point (contact point) on the strings. So, I do really slow bow, I tilt less the bow and watch the sound point to be sure I stay on it. In general, the tension goes away when I apply these in pieces after. But I don't know if we can create a general rule with this or not since everyone have different problems!
I read the first paragraph of your post and a lot of things from my last lesson just clicked. Cheers! My problem is less with my right hand (which could be more relaxed), and more with the shape of my left hand. I have an alternative hand shape that I'm required to implement; the typical response to my teacher was that the handshape I was 'used to' felt comfortable. Of course, the alternative feels comfortable as well, but it's difficult not to revert to the previous handshape as I don't feel the tension.
Laurie, I don`t have any new trick you wouldn`t befamilair with. One thing I do strongly advocate is the spider on the stick exercise. I know most people do this but I think it is too much considered a beginners exercise wheras it continues to be efficacious long after in my opinion. Eveb for advanced palyers.
I would also put alot of emhasis on the Roulet exercise. That seems a litlte out offashion these days too ;)
I also think the idea of training a very floppy bow hand using only two fingers and thumb in a basic detache is useful. Once the sensation is mastered more normal pracitc ecan be resumed. I seem to recall a good description of this at MRHerera`s site which is Westbury Park.
The other thing I do with somestudnets is have them take a 16th note passage (for exampel) and practic eslowly . The idea is to exaggerate the finger action by changing from the flattened thumb bent position of the down bow before changing to the down bow and then retaining that shape until just before the up bow at which time one changes to the straight finger and thumb shape just prior to the up bw, retain the shape until just prior to the down bow etc.
I also think one can look at te problem somewhat inirectly in the sense of what the right hand is doing may be a response to the left and vice versa. So if the left hand thumb is very stiff perhps working on that first an dtolertain the bow arm as much as one can is an idea.
Aha, I had not thought of the spider idea. I think it's a good fit. Actually I'm quite left-handed and would benefit from doing it myself, I find I'm pretty slow! Thanks for the ideas!
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