One of the most important parts of learning the violin is having a correct bow hold. Many bad habits can form with the bow hold which can hurt your progression down the road. That is why is important to learn this correctly. Below are the main points you should address when learning how to hold the violin bow.
Step 1 – Thumb Placement
The violin bow should be held in your right hand right by the frog. The frog is the black square piece that has an ingrave which is called the groove. When gripping the bow, your thumb will be placed into this groove. It is important to have your thumb curved when gripping the bow and not bent backwards. This is called banana thumb and is very common of beginners when they are first starting.
Step 2 – Pinky and Finger Placement
Your pinky will be placed at the very end of the bow stick on antique violin bows what is called the button. The button is a screw which controls the tightness of the bow hair. The pinky should rest comfortably on top of the button on a 45 degree angle. Your other fingers should rest very relaxed on the bow stick and your finger muscles should be totally relaxed. They should also be on a 45 degree angle. Many beginners want to stretch their fingers to far up the bow or have them to close together. The fingers should rest totally naturally without any effort.
Step 3 – Bow grip
It is very important to not have a tight bow grip especially at first. By gripping the bow to hard like a claw, the violin will sound screetchy and your bow can bounce when playing over the strings. A good exercise is to stick your hand totally in front of you and make your hand and finger muscles totally limp and then place the bow into your hand. Your fingers should barely have to move to achieve the correct bow grip. This goes for the amount of pressure you assert when holding the bow also.
The bow is the breath of the violinist and is one of the most important pieces to get right when playing the violin. It also can be one of the most frustrating parts. Even with the correct bow grip, it will still take a good amount of time to be able to play notes totally clean and pure. Be patient and just know that by applying the correct bow grip, you are on the way to getting there the fastest.
Michael Sanchez has been teaching the violin for over 10 years and has created a website on exactly how to play the violin from beginning to end. His videos contain content that relate to every age and ability level.