Yesterday we looked at something violinist Hilary Hahn wrote about violin practice in which she emphasized focusing on the bow hand.  She said, "concentrate on bow distribution (the proportionate length of each bow stroke to the ones surrounding it, depending on rhythm, absolute length, loudness, and intensity of tone), contact point (your bow-hairs' placement between the bridge and the finger board), the straightness of your bowstroke, the flexibility of your fingers in bowchanges at the frog, and the position of your hand when you're playing at the tip.

Today let's talk a little about your bow grip.  If you've been visiting this site for a while you might remember that this was one of the hardest things for me when I started playing.  My bow hand was about as flexible as a rock.  And there was no way in the world that my bow could ever have escaped my grip.  I squeezed the bow so hard I got cramps.  I guess the other extreme is the story of concertmaster Hugh Cecil Bean who at one concert completely lost his grip on the bow and it sailed off into the audience. 
(Read About Bean on September 22's History Page.)

There needs to be a happy medium here.  Too tight a grip means that the bow can't do the work that you want it to.  Any of the bouncing strokes of the bow will be severely hampered.  Relax the hand.  Relax the wrist.  It is amazing how little effort it takes to hold a bow.  The right amount of pressure on the bow is the amount just barely necessary to keep the bow in your grasp.  I know a teacher who will actually reach out and snatch a bow from her beginning students while they are practicing their bow-grip.  If she can't take the bow away the student is squeezing too tightly!  

If you get a chance, visit Hilary Hahn's web site. It really is fascinating.    Take a look.  The URL is:
Violinist Hilary Hahn and Baltimore Symphony at Amazon
Violinist Hilary Hahn and Baltimore Symphony at Amazon

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Sacred Violin Solos - sheet music at
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Violin Tip of the Day - February 15
* Violin Tips for Practice and Rehearsals.

* Violin Technique and Exercises.

* How to Care for Your Violin.

* Inspiration and Motivation for Violinists, Fiddlers, or
   Anyone Interested in Stringed Instruments.
Violin Tip of the Day -- Violin Student Central -- February 1
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Today's Tip in a Nutshell:
     Not Too Soft. Not Too Hard. Just Right.
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