With the rush of the back-to-school season upon us, it can be difficult to stay on top of every technique of every student in your orchestra. However, we all know that practicing with poor technique will produce hard-to-break habits tomorrow. To help, we’ve compiled some resources focused on bowing, bow hold, and bows. Whether you’re a band person unexpectedly teaching strings or just or simply interested in new perspectives, there’s something here for you. Pick and choose which ideas to reiterate in class or select some to share directly with specific students.
1. Bow Hold
Here’s a helpful beginner bow hold video from takelessons.com:
TakeLessons.com also offers a list of ten ways to improve your bow hold, and some sample exercises on this post.
2. Bowing Technique
Dr. Charles Laux posted the slides and supporting materials for his 2016 TMEA presentation, titled It’s all about the bow! on his blog at orchestrateacher.net. While it’s clear it would be better to have been in the audience for this presentation, there’s a lot of great info to be found here. For example, the slides showing how our body wants to bow, how we think we should bow, and how we should bow seem very applicable to many classrooms.
3. More Advanced Students
For more advanced students, here’s a collection called Crucial Bowings from stringskills.com. The stated goal of this page is to “…create a compendium of bowing principles to become part of the orchestra teacher’s curriculum– a guide to skills development through middle and high school.” Check out the list of 25 bowings, each with a short video.
4. What Not To Do With The Bow
For our last two offerings we offer content from the SmartMusic Blog. First, our own Giovanna Cruz shares 7 Things String Students Should Never Do with Their Bow, which you might share directly with students.
5. General Beginning String Resources
The SmartMusic Blog also offers several more general beginning string resources, which often include bowing tips as well. These include beginning tips for violin/viola and cello/bass as well as Video Resources for Orchestra Parents and more. Of course there’s many other string-specific posts on the blog that don’t have to do with technique as well. In the top right corner of the page you can enter search terms that interest you, like Suzuki, to find more content of particular interest to you and your students.