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Focus: Bow Hand Technique

Today we explore bow hand technique, using 5 simple tips.

1. Thumb pressure.

Depending on where you play, the pressure of the thumb will vary. The nut or frog, the thumb's contact with the bow is very light and relaxed. At the tip of the bow, the thumb has to work against the pressure of the fingers pressing into the bow. This is called counter-pressure, which is an automatic and unconscious response, when we use our bow. A common problem for students is learning to relax the thumb as the bow moves toward the nut or frog, as less counter-pressure is needed. It is important to ensure that the thumb is not rigid.

2. The Thumb and the Second Finger

The thumb and second finger are essential to a correct bow hold. The second finger sits slightly to the left of the thumb. The thumb should never be placed between the first and second fingers as this will cause an imbalance to the bow hold.

3. Using the 4th finger to balance the bow

In the lower half of the bow, the 4th finger sits on the bow, and helps to control the pressure on the bow. In the upper half of the bow, the 4th finger balances the first finger to prevent a pressed tone.

4. Hold the bow without gripping

The fingers are constantly moving on the bow as tiny adjustments to the bow hold are needed as playing conditions change. These spontaneous adjustments can only be made if the bow is held without tension or gripping.

5. Pull and push the bow

It is important to not press the bow into the string. A sweet and resonant tone is produced by the speed of the bow than pressure, as the string is able to vibrate.

So when practising, keep an eye on your bow hold to ensure that it is free from tension, and that all fingers are round and bent.

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