Bowing Exercises – One String at a Time

After feeling like I had a grasp on fundamentals like posture, and holding the fiddle and bow, and tuning, I started bowing open strings from G to A and back again from A to G. I worked on this in the following order:

  1. I began with a short bow stroke on G and stopped on it. Then, without lifting my bow above the strings, I moved my bow to D, bowed a short stroke and stopped again, and so forth to the E and A and then back again from A to G. I did this with a downstroke on each string at first; then, I did it with an upstroke on each string. Finally, I alternated the direction of the bow on each string. I went slowly at first, but as I was able to do this without hitting two strings at once, I increased my speed from one string to the next.
  2. Next, I worked on this without stopping on each string, again going from G to A and then A to G. As before, I did this with a downstroke on each string at first; then, I did it with an upstroke on each string. Finally, I alternated the direction of the bow on each string. Again,
    I went slowly at first, but as I was able to do this without hitting two strings at once, I increased my speed from one string to the next.
  3. Finally, I did the same exercises in the same order as I described above, but this time I bowed 2 strings at a time. GD to DA to AE and back again from EA to AD to DG.

I did these exercises on open strings with my left hand placed on the fiddle’s body to the right of the neck to hold the fiddle. During the exercises, I also concentrated on bow pressure to produce the best sound I possibly could. The purpose of these exercises is to train my bowing arm to learn the correct position for each string and combination of strings. Of course these exercises will have to be done over and over until the muscles in my bowing arm learn them without me even having to think. These will become part of my daily routine.

I have read that it is not uncommon for even experienced violinists to go back and practice these exercises from time to time.

NOTE: This post is a follow up to the post Playing One String at a Time

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