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!

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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!

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