Right Arm Technique
Hello! I'm just going to dive right in :)
As of late when practicing, I've been trying to improve my bow arm technique: bow straightness in relationship to the bridge, general bow arm ergonomics, and overall trying to understand and become familiar with the feeling of letting gravity do most of the work (mainly down bows) while minimizing unneeded movement in my fingers/forearm/shoulder.
Here are just a few questions I have...
1. How should I approach increasing the tempo of whole-bow strokes (frog to very tip and back) while maintaining a straight bow, a consistent tension-free bow arm? (As an example: one note per bow on any scale, say quarter note upwards of 90?
2. Piggy backing off of my first question, How should I approach a fast bow stroke, that includes string crossings? (ex: triplets, 3 notes per bow ((whole bow)) alternating from G string to D and back - gdg dgd gdg dgd)
3. Piggy backing again off of everything I've said haha, when executing fast bow strokes that take quite a bit of bow, how do I know that my right arm is doing what it's supposed to do? To dive into greater detail on what I'm trying to explain,(ex: should by shoulder be moving that much? more? not at all? Should by wrist be static in this part of the bow, or should it be more involved? what about my fingers? should I apply more pressure? less? should there be any finger movement at all? Is this a big arm movement or should it be broken down into smaller muscle groups? How does this all change throughout the parts of bow and at different speeds or with different color/tone intentions?) These are just a flood of questions I have when analyzing my bow stroke.
That's basically it haha :)
I do suppose, I might be over thinking this drastically as one might argue that in order to achieve an authentic performance one must not be so hyper-focused on every small aspect of playing. On the other hand, I look at the masters of violin and can't help but think they all studied the technique with great care and detail, and that's how they are able to perform with such confidence and ease - yet deliver such stunning and virtuoso performances.
Thanks for your time!!
Also, how much time would be best to dedicate each day working on this? I'd imagine it could be paired with scale practice perhaps?
Emma's profile says that she's studying for a baccalaureate degree in violin performance at a private institution in Denver. As such, she should have access to a qualified teacher who can explain these things to her and give her exercises to improve her bow-arm confidence.
Emma, since you're working towards a performance degree in violin and are already enrolled at a college, I have to wonder if maybe you're overthinking this too much. You must have an acceptable bow arm already or you wouldn't have been accepted into your music school for a performance degree. What does your teacher say about your bow arm? You definitely need to ask these questions of your teacher, who is a person better able to judge by watching you in your lessons.
Emma, I think it may better to not get so caught up in the individual parts, and let the sound you are looking for be your primary guide. Focusing on relaxation is almost as important. I would go with that and focus on long, straight bows. To aid in both sound and relaxation, you can place your focus at the elbow, trying to keep your elbow heavy, like an anchor for your whole arm.
Most important is to have a loose right shoulder at all times!
I have friends who also studied with the teachers at your school. They are excellent players, and attest to the high quality of their teaching. I would listen to your teacher, heed their instruction, and ask as many questions as you can. Practice diligently, but not blindly - trust but verify.
Lots of good advice here -- but one piece of advice that's important to keep in mind -- Don't fall prey to "paralysis by analysis." Thinking carefully about what you're doing is important but you can reach a point where you're thinking so much about your right elbow or right shoulder or right wrist that the music stops flowing, it stops happening at all, all you get is sounds that aren't combined into music.
Over-thinking? I find it vital to renew that total awareness that allows us to just
Emma, for #1 I recommend the section on bowing in Simon Fischer’s Basics and adapting some of those exercises.
It's true there are good teachers and bad, but Lorenzo said they're good.
Yes, I have acquaintances who have had good experiences with teachers at the school. The teacher-student relationship is very individualized. People communicate in different ways, and what teachers teach doesn't always reach each of their students the same way. It's also enriching for someone to post a question for their own curiosity. You can only cover so much in a lesson.
Frieda, yes, that is quite true.
I like D.B.'s phrase about avoiding "Paralysis by analysis" Menuhin is an example of that, he admitted to it in an interview and in his autobiography, so I would avoid his technical book.
since you were discussing bowing, I *think* Adrian meant "right hand" when he wrote "left hand" :-) anyway this is funny as Violy replied with something that Adrian himself has been saying countless times on this forum :-) hint to Violy: (1) welcome to this forum; (2) we are not all beginners ;-) and (3) you are supposed to write something in your biography so people can know your level which makes discussions more pointful.
No, I meant "left hand" (higher up on the well-presented web page).
I will respectfully disagree with something. You can play loud without tension, if your ergonomics are correct and you emphasize bow speed over force. The bow is about as light as a badmitten racquet.
Oh my goodness!! Thank you all so much for your time and energy! Every bit of this is incredibly useful :) I am certainly thinking with great detail about everyone's input. Thanks again!
Then how? I'm not talking about technique, because I posted an advertisement here in budapest, and nobody called me.