Bowing exercises for holidays?

July 15, 2018, 4:36 AM · Hi. I've recently posted some questions regarding equipment (bows, strings...) but today will be different.

Even if my teacher told me from the first day, I've come to realise (lately) that the most important thing on violin is tone production, and that it comes from your bowing technique. I'm not satisfied with my current tone. I tend to play more lightly than I should (I must think the violin is a delicate instrument to apply a certain amount of pressure on the string...), with short bowing (I'm comfortable playing at the tip and the centre, but really uncomfortable at the frog), and sometimes I don't play with straight bowing (tough I'm improving that).

I'll be on holiday during next month without taking lessons, but I will take the violin with me for practising. Do you know of any bowing exercises I can do on my own, for fixing the bowing problems I mentioned?

Thank you.

Replies (8)

July 16, 2018, 10:09 AM · Simon Fischer, Basics, or The Violin Lesson.
July 16, 2018, 11:50 AM · I really think that one of the best exercises for all of those issues (using the whole bow, bowing parallel to the bridge, and producing a good tone) is to just play full bows on open strings. It sounds too simple to be much use, I know, but if you were to play 20-25 whole bows on each string at the start of every practice, paying attention to your posture and your contact point, at a moderate tempo (you can just count four leisurely beats on each bow; it doesn't have to be any kind of extreme one-minute per bow son file thing), you will learn a lot about tone and bow control. Downbow, upbow, open strings. Listen for good contact, feel the hair pulling the sound from the string, get used to the feel of the entire length of the bow. Simple, but so much to get out of it.
July 16, 2018, 4:05 PM · Thank you! I'll have a look to the books Jean mentioned, and will definitely do the exercise Scott suggested. There's nothing to lose with such a simple thing, but I hope it can help a bit in my bowing.
Edited: July 16, 2018, 4:39 PM · Going "old school" on you all again:

Harold Barkley's "Twelve studies in Modern Violin Bowing in the First Position" was published almost 80 years ago and his companion "The Modern Technique of Violin Bowing" is equally arcane and hard to access. However there seems to be an affordable LULU re-publication "The Modern Technique of VIOLA Bowing" available online:

The ad for this book claims to be the same as the violin book except for the word "viola."

The "Modern Technique" book has 47 pages, the links for the "Twelve Studies" book claims 25 pages. Louis Persinger contributed a very complmentary foreword to the "Modern Technique" book. The "Technique" book gives very explicitly described bowing technique directions with only one and two-measure examples. I have not seen the"Twelve studies" book.

Otherwise, Simon Fischer

July 17, 2018, 7:43 AM · Thank you once again, Andrew. You always give me good advice.
July 17, 2018, 7:46 AM · Andrew, out of curiosity, what makes that a good reference to recommend?
July 17, 2018, 8:31 AM · Tammuz, I have had a copy of Berkley's "Techniques" book for at least 55 years and have found it to be the most helpful book on bowing technique I've seen. By recommending it here I thought to promulgate its use for any who want to work on their bowing.

I know it's hard to find, as are some other very helpful violin books I acquired in the 1940s - 1960s.

July 17, 2018, 8:48 AM · Thanks Andrew. I wasn't doubting your reasons for recommending it but I was curious to know why.

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