// Strengthen your bow hold this holiday!
Here are five exercises to ensure your bow hold stays strong. A strong and flexible bow hold helps to create a beautifully smooth and rich tone.
When talking about strengthening the bow hold, we should start with the pinky; without pinky strength, the bow can flop, and the sound will suffer! The first four exercises focus primarily on the pinky, and the fifth focuses on all-finger strength and precision. These exercises have been shared with me by many teachers over the years. Practice them every day for a week, and you will feel a noticeable difference in your bow hand.
Pinky Taps Good for learning how to place your pinky accurately
Set your best bow hold
Tap your pinky in the same spot for one minute
Keep your pinky curved throughout
Fun tip - Tap along to a slow song that you like
Take it to the next level - when you feel confident that you are hitting the same spot, you can increase the speed. Have a practice partner keep a score of how many perfect taps you can do in a row at top speed!
Good for strengthening your pinky and learning how the weight of the bow changes in your hand at different angles.
Set your best bow hold
Start with the bow in a vertical position
Hold out your left palm
Rotate from the elbow until the very tip of the bow touches your left hand. The bow will move like a windshield wiper! Move slowly, maintaining a good bow hold throughout (not as fast as the example).
Do it in sets of 12, take a break for 30 seconds, and repeat until your pinky feels tired.
Fun tip - Move in time with the song Rain Rain Go Away, it lasts for 12 windshield wipers
Rain rain go away, come again some other day. Little children want to play. Rain rain go away, come again some other day. Little children want to play.
Take it to the next level - to make this exercise more challenging, go slower.
Pinky Push-ups Good for Strengthening the pinky
Set your best bow hold and support the very tip of the bow with your left palm.
Isolate the pinky and push down, maintaining a curved shape. This will lift the bow an inch or two into the air.
To feel the benefits of this exercise, it is very important to move slowly and ensure your other fingers do not try to move the bow. It is not important how high the bow is lifted.
Fun (and silly) tip - Make a teeny tiny weight to strap to your pinky. See the blog image :)
Take it to the next level - Add a weight to the tip of the bow to make your pinky work harder. You can use a piece of string to hook over the tip and attach something light, like a paper clip. Keep adding more clips until you reach the desired weight.
Tip to Heel Good for bow hand and arm strength. Moving through the different hand positions to play with a straight bow.
Set your bow at the tip and ensure it is on the highway.
Lift the bow an inch above the string, move it slowly and with control (not as fast as the example) to the heel of the bow, and set it on the string.
Take a 3-second rest and move in the same way back to the tip, and repeat.
Fun Tip - Make a daily video and see how your bow control improves.
Take it to the next level - When you can move the bow slowly and with control, you can increase the speed and remove the rest time. Use a metronome and keep score of the speed you are going. Make sure to land your bow on the beat.
Good for strong and flexible bow fingers
Set your best bow hold
Hold the bow vertically
Move one finger up at a time, followed by the thumb, until you reach the tip of the bow.
Make sure you move your fingers in this order: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, thumb. Take small steps with your 'spider' fingers.
Flip the bow around in your bow hand so the tip points to the ground, and walk your spider fingers the same way until you return to the heel. (see example below)
Fun Tip - Sing itsy bitsy spider as you move your 'Spider' fingers up and down the bow!
Take it to the next level - Challenge a friend to a spider finger duel. Who can walk up and down the bow the fastest with a correct bow hold? If your bow hold slips, you have to start at the beginning!
I hope you enjoy these great bow exercises and that they give your holiday songs that extra ounce of pizzazz you’ve been looking for to entertain your families this holiday season! If you are a Songbird Rising Student and you need help with any of these exercises, don't forget to ask Mrs Laura.
Two more great blogs from Songbird Rising
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