How to get better wrist flexibility?
Hi everyone! My violin teacher told me about this concept a while ago, but I’ve never really “gotten” it... and I was embarrassed to ask because he says we should already have the basics down already! (Understandable, but now I feel like I should just figure this out on my own.)
So, I need help with this bowing thing... I notice when I play, my right arm looks very stiff whenever I bow, vs. my teacher whose bowing arm is very “flowy” looking. Like, his wrist actually moves on its own instead of this robot arm thing I have going on.
I’m sorry I can’t explain this better... but if anyone managed to understand what I’m getting at, could you maybe help on where I might be going wrong and how I could fix it?
One of my teachers had me spend quality time with an egg beater. I actually had difficulty turning my right wrist in a circle, and this helped. I ate a lot of eggs for a while.
I have/had a stiff arm that had nothing to do with a stiff wrist, the issue being the elbow as Christian mentioned and the motion of the whole arm. What does your teacher tell you? (although my experience is that not all teachers will necessarily tell you the same thing). Focusing on one element without seeing what happens to the whole arm might not be the most efficient way of going about it. There are advocates of very little wrist motion around as well, keeping it to the slightest passive degree except in some cases (very fast string changes returning to the same string). My observation and experience so far as a beginner amateur.
Yes, some players use more, others less, wrist motion (sounds like OP's teacher may use more) and ultimately each player adapts to what works better under pressure. But everyone must have a responsive wrist, regardless of how much motion there is in the response. There really is no such thing as a stiff joint, that is, without our muscles making them so, by contracting opposing muscles at the same time. And so fluid motion is about alternating opposing muscles, and coordinating the whole arm as tammuz suggests. The first exercise I mentioned focuses on alternating muscles which move the hand about the wrist. The second exercise teaches coordination with the rest of the arm.
Thank you for all the advice! What this video is explaining is basically what I’m thinking of here (copy paste the link into a new tab to watch it?) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5TVNSRgOJIE
Hi Zoe, Simon Fischer has a sequence of wrist exercises in Basics. He begins with moving the hand up and down from the wrist while holding it with the left hand (Exercise 16, p. 10). Exercise 17 is a very simple string crossing exercise (p. 11), and then exercise 18 is a slightly more complicated string crossing exercise (p. 12). I found it very helpful. If you don't have the book, you can probably find a pdf on the web.
I think that this is one of those things that is very natural for some kids and not at all natural for others. My youngest non-serious violinist moves her wrist beautifully and never needs more than a nudge to get it going. She's also extremely flexible, with thumbs that can bend all the way back (which creates other issues). My older serious violinist has struggled with wrist tightness for years and has been working on it diligently the past six months. He is generally tight -- he's always toe walked (tight hamstrings) and is not at all flexible.