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5 Exercises to Strengthen Your Bow Hold

December 20, 2016

// Strengthen your bow hold this holiday!

 

Here are five exercises to make sure your bow hold doesn't slip this holiday season. 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 mostly on the pinky and the fifth focuses on the strength and precision of all the fingers. 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

  1. Set your best bow hold

  2. Tap your pinky in the exact same spot for one minute

  3. 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 your practice partner keep a score of how many you can do in a row at top speed!

 


Windshield wipers

Good for strengthening your pinky and learning how the weight of the bow changes in your hand at different angles.

  1. Set your best bow hold 

  2. Start with the bow in a vertical position

  3. Hold out your left palm 

  4. 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).

  5. Do in sets of 12, take a break for 30 secs 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

  1. Set your best bow hold and support the very tip of the bow with your left palm.

  2. Isolate the pinky and push down maintaining a curved shape.This will lift the bow an inch or two into the air.

  3. To feel the benefits of this exercise it is very important to move slowly and make sure 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 picture above!

 

  • 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 very 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.

  1. Set your bow at the tip, make sure it is on the highway. 

  2. Lift the bow an inch above the string and move slow and controlled (not as fast as the example) to the heel of the bow and set it on the string.

  3. Take a 3 second rest and move in the same way back to the tip, repeat. 

 

  • Fun Tip - Make a video each day and see how your bow control improves

 

  • Take it to the next level - When you are able to move the bow slowly and controlled you can start to increase the speed and take out the rest time. Use a metronome and keep score of the speed you are going, make sure to land your bow on the beat.


Spider Fingers

Good for strong and flexible bow fingers

  1. Set your best bow hold 

  2. Hold the bow vertically 

  3. Move one finger up at a time followed by the thumb until you reach the tip of the bow.

  4. Make sure you move your fingers in this order, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, thumb. Take small steps with your 'spider' fingers. 

  5. Flip the bow around in your bow hand so the tip is pointing to the ground and walk your spider fingers in 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 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 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 then don't forget to ask Mrs Laura at lesson time. 

 

Happy holidays!!!
 

---------------------------------------------

 

Two more great blogs from Songbird Rising

 

Transform Your Music Practice Today - Essential Tips

 

5 Timely Tips to Master the Metronome

 

If you liked this article, please comment and/or share it with your friends!

 

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