Bow Arm Warm Ups??

September 8, 2018, 3:05 AM · Anyone know of some quick, effective warm ups to relax the bow arm? (My bow arm is usually relaxed after about 20 minutes of playing but everytime I first get my violin out it's always so tense!)

Replies (9)

September 8, 2018, 4:30 AM · Arm and shoulder exercises to get the blood moving. No more than a couple of minutes.
September 8, 2018, 7:24 AM · Finger lifting, maybe?
I always quickly do those before I start to loosen up my bowing hand.
Just long tones to a count of four using the whole bow, and you lift or drop a finger on each beat. Starting at the frog, drop the first finger (raised on beat four going up), then lift the pinky, ring, and middle finger until you reach the tip, and do the reverse on the way down. The idea is to be able to feel each finger.

As for your arm, do jumping jacks or something.

September 8, 2018, 9:12 AM · I simply find that scales work well, and I've always told my students that 50% of scales should emphasize bow use. Memorize your scales, pick one for the day, and play it with a variety of bowings, including long and slow, retakes at the frog and tip---use your imagination. And since it's memorized, track the contact point as you ascend and descend.
September 8, 2018, 1:21 PM · Thanks everyone :)
Edited: September 8, 2018, 1:42 PM · I agree with the scales comment above-also the Ysaye scale pamphlet (it's a brief "book") has some useful bow exercises during the first 3 pages that will likely warm up your bow arm nicely even before finishing all of them. Scales-carefully practiced-work out the bow arm as much as it helps LH technique.

(I have memorized some of these Ysaye bow evenness studies, and do use them mostly every day to warm up-though everybody is different, and there's more than one answer regardless.)

Edited: September 9, 2018, 11:27 AM · That your bow-arm is "tense" at the start of a practice session is curious. Maybe there is some other cause, like the bow-hold being too firm or the fingers spread too far? Slow scales, with a slow bow speed should relax both the mind and the arm - like tai-chi for the violin. Finger lifts; my version is perhaps dangerous to suggest here; third and fourth fingers off the stick at the upper third, all fingers on the stick at the middle third, first finger off (!) at the lower third. @ A.V. thanks for that suggestion of the Ysaye book- I was not aware of that one. jq
September 9, 2018, 2:05 PM · You don’t need any, it’s all mental
September 9, 2018, 4:00 PM · I do the daily dozen at the end of Auer Book 1- it's all open strings. I go through them all in about 2 minutes.
September 10, 2018, 8:07 PM · I do 15 shoulder dislocates with a wooden dowel, 15 band pull-aparts with a resistance band, and some quick stretches. But I have shoulder issues, so you may or may not find that helpful.

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