How to Play Violin With Bow

To play violin with bow requires a delicate balancing act between the left and right hands. While the left hand is fingering the notes and keeping the instrument in tune, the right is assisting the intonation by smoothly drawing the bow across the string and maintaining an attractive sound from the instrument. So what is different when playing violin with bow than without, such as with pizzicato? Here are a couple of things that set it apart and quick tips you can use to improve your coordination between left and right hands to play violin with bow.

First off, make sure you hold the bow correctly. The bow needs to be supported primarily by the thumb and pinky fingers while the rest of the fingers simply provide weight that can be pressed into the string. To play violin with bow in proper form with your hand should mean that you can let go of the bow with your index, middle and ring fingers while still holding the bow and supporting the entire weight of the bow. Just be sure to keep both the thumb and pinky rounded out smoothly and do not lock the joints so as to keep the fingers nimble and balanced.

For proper elbow and wrist technique while playing violin with bow, you need to think of your entire arm as a piston that draws the bow along the string with your wrist adjusting to keep the path of the bow straight. So as your forearm goes away from the violin, your wrist turns towards you to adjust, and as you forearm goes towards you, your wrist turns away to adjust. This keeps the bow on a straight path and helps play violin with bow cleanly without wandering off of the string.

Finally, pay attention to the action of your shoulder and be sure it is not moving up and down to assist with bow movements. This is a common mistake many beginners make when playing violin with bow. Do not use the shoulder except to change from one string to the next. Drawing the bow along the string is primarily the task of the elbow and wrist and the shoulder should be held back and not allowed to move unless changing strings.

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