Violin Technique: Exercise to Activate the Bow Wrist

October 16, 2020, 2:28 PM · A violinist must cultivate flexible fingers and a loose wrist in the bow hand, in order to have good bow changes and to be able to perform more advanced bow strokes such as fast string-crossings and sautillé (fast off-the-string strokes). But how? And how do you get really loose with the bow hand, without dropping the bow? I've come up with a little exercise, away from the violin, to help bridge the gap between the wrist motion and the finger motion. This will help translate your finger flexibility into something you can use in the context of wrist motion.

One good first step involves developing strength and flexibility in the fingers, and for that, you can refer to these exercises, which can be done first with a pencil and then with the bow itself.

But how do those exercises really transfer to playing? Very few bow strokes actually originate from the fingers -- the exception being the all-fingers collé, but that stroke is rarely used in real-world playing.

In reality, the fingers must be flexible in the way that they react to other motions in the hand. In other words, they are not active (as in the exercise), they are passive. Like the suspension in the car smooths out the bumps, the fingers in the bow hand absorb all the motions of the wrist sot that you don't drop the bow. So how do you practice that?

First you have to learn the wrist motion that you'll need. This video shows what that motion is (and here is another video on that).

I've come up with a little exercise, away from the violin, to help bridge the gap between the wrist motion and the finger motion. This will help translate your finger flexibility into something you can use in the context of wrist motion. Of course, after all that is in place, there is arm motion to layer on as well! Hope you find it helpful, and for more technique videos, I welcome you to subscribe to our V.com Youtube channel!

You might also like:

Replies

October 19, 2020 at 12:30 PM · Thank you for your video!! Spiccato is still a work in progress for me,I will gladly do include your exercises in my practice plan!

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Anne Akiko Meyers Shining Night
Anne Akiko Meyers Shining Night

Johnny Gandelsman at The Wallis
Johnny Gandelsman at The Wallis

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Mio Cannone Violini
Mio Cannone Violini

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide

Heifetz Institute: Crescendo

Metzler Violin Shop

Bein & Company

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

String Masters

Bobelock Cases

Things 4 Strings LLC

Violin-Strings.com

Viola-Strings.com

Baerenreiter

Fiddlerman.com

FiddlerShop

Sleepy Puppy Press

Jargar Strings

J.R. Judd Violins, LLC

Southwest Strings

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

Subscribe