Long Slow Bow
Just out of curiosity, what do you have in mind (thinking and focusing) when you are practising the long slow bow?
More than one teacher I ran into encourage us to practise long slow bow, because it will help us on bow control and tone development in long term. However, I feel there are not much details beyond just aim for X second, divide the bow into Y and aim to spend 1/Y of the bow in X/Y second. Somehow after an unspecified amount of time, lo and behold, all the jerk and ghostly sound will be gone like magic (maybe one day).
I don't doubt the need of practising long slow bow, but I struggle to feel motivated enough not to do it mindlessly. I just wonder how other people approach this exercise.
Just listen closely and make sure the sound is even throughout the bow. That there are no "bulges" in the sound. Its what I do when I do it
I observe the varying sensations as the arm opens, and the fingers, thumb and wrist adapt themselves.
There are a lot of things you can pay attention to. It's its own form of meditation. And like in meditation on the breath, it's not something that most people do or think about, but you can become intensely concentrated on what you do notice.
Play Kreutzer #1.
"Play Kreutzer #1."
Slow-bow, long-tones on scales is an opportunity to mentally focus on your bowing mechanics. Depending on your bow-hold and the bowing "school" that you have been taught, watch and control the point of contact of the bow-hair to the string, be aware of motion of your elbow, bending of the wrist, where and how weight is applied to the bow. Keep the right shoulder down and relaxed. The wind and brass players do a version of long tones; for breath control.
Well, it's pretty clearly written how you're supposed to play it, in terms of dynamics. In the Galamian edition, anyways.
This is how I have my students work on it:
Josef Gingold had me practice Kreutzer #1 turning the metronome slower, and slower, and slower, etc. He loved to demonstrate his 5 minute down or up bow.
but Bruce, seriously, 5 minutes? how did that sound?
I agree with Joel and Christian.
The Mr. Gingold 5 minute bow sounded like an occasional pop,scrunch, or ping from the almost motionless bow. (Not to be done after a caffeinated beverage.) He was inclined towards hyperbole to make a point.
thanks for the clarification :-)
The 5 minute bow is incredible it’s onr of my favorite exercises
Thank you very much for all the suggestion, videos and example. I will give them a try. It is good to have one (or a few) things to focus on in this exercise to keep me mentally engaged.
you've probably already seen Nate Cole's video on the topic:
WOW, Susanna. That is a wonderful study. It is not instantly easy and is taking me a bit (a lot) of concentration. Thanks for giving that link.
Nate's Kreutzer no 1 is really clear and easy to follow
Thanks Jane - glad it's useful!
You could explore the extreme. Two 8ve scales sound point 5. For me there's a point on the A and D string where the played string is no longer above the adjacent strings and I must bow closer to the bridge.