Violin Goals for May 2016 - Flexible Bow Hand

A flexible bow hand

Last month I already worked to improve the wrist movement of my bow hand. Seemed I did it a bit wrong. I was been told that my right wrist was too stiff so I started moving my wrist up and down to play faster. It did help me to play faster but I couldn’t get a nice tone. See my post about the Pracht Etude 15 which I tried to do with the wrist movement. It didn’t work great. Now I realize that it’s not just moving the wrist up and down. Finger flexibility is also required and when moving down the wrist should also move to the right. When moving up, it should move also to the left to make it a fluid movement. I do realize a flexible bow hand cannot be achieved in a couple of weeks but I’m really starting to focus on it now and let’s hope there is at least an improvement by the end of the month. :-)

I really liked this exercise for bow arm technique that Mark O’Connor is demonstrating in this video.

In May I’ll be practicing:

  • Elementary Scales and Arpeggios: pages 2 – 10 which is a walk through all the major and minor scales in first position. I did those in April too, and I feel that I need to stick with this. I practice some scales from these pages every day, sometimes with long bow strokes, sometimes with martele, or staccato or vibrato or with a flexible bow hand movement. I combine the scale with other techniques so I can do more in the same amount of time.
  • Robert Pracht Etude 24 which combines staccato and dynamics. I started practicing this etude in April but didn’t actually have enough time to focus on it. I suddenly started to like martele and “forgot” to keep practicing staccato…
  • Weekly violin proficiency exercises by Heather Broadbent: number 11 which is about left hand pizzicato. This is completely new for me, so I’m very excited about this!
  • Fiddle Collection of 25 famous fiddle tunes. It’s been quite some time since I last played a fiddle song and I’m totally in the mood to learn two new fiddle songs: “Scollay’s Reel” and “Road to Lisdoonvarna”!
  • Concerto in B minor, 2nd movement, Oskar Rieding Opus 35. This concerto has 3 movements. I’ve already practiced and recorded the 1st movement (5 months progress video) and 3rd movement (6 months progress video). But I had skipped the 2nd movement because it was too hard to play it with good intonation. Also the slurred notes and the dynamics were way too difficult at the time. But I think now is a great moment to revisit this movement. I think it’s very beautiful and I will use it for my 1 year progress video on the 3rd of June!!

2 thoughts on “Flexible Bow Hand – my goal for May 2016

  1. I wish you good luck with your wrist practice~ I also really like the exercise the video showed, I might try that as well. (Actually I’m doing something like this sometimes already to force my arm to stop moving around… but I think I’ll do it more often again)

    I’m slightly envying you that you are practicing all scales now while I probably forgot the harder ones again…XD But that’s my own fault, I’ve been neglecting scales recently. I often do play the scale I need for the piece I’m going to play before I play so it’s not completely neglected. But I haven’t practiced the harder scales in quite some time. I also bought the same scale book you have a bit ago but haven’t really worked with it yet. I might look into it again soon but I have so many things to practice right now that it might be a while.

    Oh good luck with the left hand pizzicato, I haven’t tried anything like that yet as well!

    And nice that you are learning the full concerto by rieding now :D I have only practiced movement 1 and 3 as well. Haven’t tried the 2nd yet because I don’t know if I really like it that much. So I can’t say anything about the difficulty.

    1. Thank you ChibiEdo! I’m really focusing on the wrist movement now and it’s getting a bit better. At least I don’t drop my bow anymore after four or five wrist movements. Not that I ever really dropped it but almost. My pinky finger always looses it’s grip if I start moving my wrist and fingers. But it’s slowly getting better. Yesterday I noticed my pinky was stronger and stayed on top of the bow!! :-) But indeed as you say it will take quite some time to get it right. And even then, to actually use it in a piece… well we’ll see about that.

      Oh that’s great that you bought the scale book too! I really like that book. I’m now doing a page every day. So every day I practice different scales. The scales with flats are OK, but the scales with many sharps are a bit hard. Because your fingers have to move around differently than usually with half position etc. But very interesting. Next month I’ll start doing the arpeggios from this scale book. Really looking forward to that, since they sound so beautiful!!

      Hehe yes I started with left hand pizzicato. Just 2 minutes a day or so. But it’s sooooo difficult. but it’s a nice thing to practice. I don’t spend much time on it, but I guess it can’t do any harm. 2 minutes a day and maybe in 6 months or so I can do a nice left hand pizzicato. Besides, it’s almost impossible to practice it more than 2 minutes at first because it really makes my fingers hurt. :-(

      I do love the 2nd movement of Oskar Rieding. It’s very different from the other movements and pretty slow. But I really like the melody and it’s a perfect piece to further practice my vibrato. Also it’s not very long so I’m going to try and memorize it! Since you’ve been talking about trying to memorize the Suzuki pieces I got motivated to memorize my piece as well!!
      I find this movement a bit harder than the other movements because it has lots of accidentals and also low 2nd finger followed by 4th finger. So this movement is especially a challenge for me to have good intonation.

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