Day 2: Instrument Sizing, Holding the Bow, Finger Numbers
Be sure to review everything from Day 1 (Sep 03) for your quiz on Friday. Know the parts of the violin and bow, the names of the strings, and everything we discussed about instrument care. If you missed Day 1, please view, download, or print the handouts so you are prepared.
Holding the Bow
Today we learned our bow hold using straws. If you missed this class, please Click Here to view the video on holding the bow *before* trying anything that is described here.
The bow is held in the right hand. Use the left index finger and thumb to pinch the stick near the middle of the bow to hold it steady while you figure out where to put all your fingers for your bow hold - this way you can also avoid touching the hair!
All your fingers have different jobs. Think of your bow as a see-saw or teeter-totter. Your thumb acts as the fulcrum of the see-saw, while your index finger and pinky are like the two kids sitting on either end. Your middle and ring fingers are your grabber fingers. They help you control your bow so it doesn't go sliding all over the string while you play.
When we approach our bow hold, we are looking for the most natural hand position possible. Stand up and drop your arm at your side. Your hand ad fingers should be relaxed. Try to keep your hand the same as you bend your elbow and bring your hand close to your face. Take a moment to study your hand and memorize what it looks like when it is in a relaxed state.
There are two methods for finding your bow hold: The bunny and the monkey. We will discuss these in the next section.
The bunny is the most traditional way of explaining the bow hold.
1. Hold your right hand with your palm facing away from you. 2. Bend your thumb and rotate your hand so your fingers are pointing toward the left. 3. Place the inside corner of your thumb against the stick. It should be touching both the stick and the lip of the frog. 4. Place the pads of your middle and ring fingers on the front side of the frog within the curve. The stick should feel like it fits snugly inside the first knuckles.
5. Rotate your forearm so that your index finger lands on its side. It should contact the stick near the first knuckle, not the second. 6. Curve your pinky so that the very tippy-tip of your finger rests on top of the stick.
Relax your hand at your side as you did before. As you bring your hand up toward the bow, imagine you are a monkey hanging from a branch. Fit the stick in the first knuckle of your middle and index fingers. Roll the stick with those two fingers to bring it closer to your thumb and place your thumb in the appropriate position described in the bunny method. Be sure your thumb is bent. Set your index finger on its side and curve your pinky so that the tip of your finger contacts the stick.
The Musical Alphabet
In music, our alphabet goes from A through G. Once you reach G, we start over back at A again. Practice singing your abc's, but sing: ABCDEFG, ABCDEFG, ABCDEFG...
Place your left hand on a flat surface like your kitchen table or your desk.Start with your hand laying flat, then curve your fingers so your finger tips are touching the table but your base knuckles are flat.
Your index finger is your 1st finger, middle finger is your 2nd finger, ring finger is 3rd finger, and pinky is 4th finger. Practice tapping each finger on the table. Once each finger feels comfortable, mix it up! Have a sibling, parent, or friend call out the numbers 1 through 4 in various different orders to see how quickly you can change to the correct finger.