How to hold a violin bow (3 EASY Steps!) | KV

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hi there guys this is Joel Kennedy with

Kennedy violins and dance thought I'd do

a video on how to hold a violin bow now

there are a lot of videos out there on

how to hold a violin bow but I thought

perhaps I could simplify it a little bit

now it can be a pretty complex thing but

you know I taught a lot of different

students over the years of beginners

advanced students and I've distilled it

down to three easy steps because I found

no matter who you're teaching or who's

trying to learn really simplicity is the

key so without further ado I'm just

going to show you the three easy steps

I'm gonna show them twice and then a

little bit more detail about the

philosophy behind the proper way to to a

whole bow and and how to practice it and

whatnot okay so first of all if you hold

the bow by the screw here with your left

hand right and then you want to take

your bent thumb and you're going to

insert it right here where the the grip

meets the Frog there's a little bit of a

space here between the Frog and where

this little leather grip is you're gonna

put the tip of your thumb there and then

the hair of the bow is going to touch

your thumb so this is one then two

you're going to put see the first crease

in your fingers here the first crease of

these three fingers that's going to go

on top of your bow

so one two goes the crease fingers then

bent pinky on top of the book bin pinky

okay and that's really your bow hold

right there it's not really any more

complicated than that

well actually this but that's the simple

thing the simplified way of looking at

so I'm gonna do it again a couple times

remember two fingers are always bent

your thumb and your pinky your thumb and

your pinky they must always be bent

though so bent thumb the tip of your

thumb goes right here

right there then the three fingers go on

top of the bow on that first crease and

then your pinky goes on top of the bow

right the pinky is the only Bullock the

finger that goes on top of the bow and

that's it so one two three let go with

your left hand and turn it over you can

practice this over and over noon or it

over again one two three turn it over

okay now we'll try that from a little

bit different view

I'll try standing up here a little bit

so one two three turn it over okay now

we'll try another angle okay one two


okay it's a fairly easy to teach this

when you're in the room with the person

but with all these different cameras and

stuff it's definitely not as simple so

last time big thumb one two three

pinky on top bet okay there we go that's

it okay so now a little bit about the

philosophy of the bow hold and some

things to remember some little tricks

okay so holding the bow properly is

probably one of the most unnatural

natural things that you have to do on

the violin every way in which you hold

the bow is practically a hundred percent

counterintuitive the way we want to hold

the bow instinctively is like this to

grip it like a bat right so you can

stick it know so you can use it as a


you know Jai right but the reason why

you don't is because it's not really a

bow hold it's more of a boat guide your

hands job is not really to hold the bow

necessary but to guide the bow to guide

this bow up and down your violin now

when you hold this bow properly with

your bent thumb and your Bend pinky and

your feint feeders laying down the sides

like this when you hold the bow properly

it's gonna feel like you're gonna drop

your boat that's correct if it feels

like you're gonna drop your bow and you

can barely hold on to it well you're

probably doing it right why is that well

the reason is is because your violin

holds our bow up not your hand so you've

got your violin up now your bow is on

the strings

so really the violin is doing most of

the job as far as holding your bow up

your hand is the guide right and the

reason why we want flexible or sorry

gave it away the reason why you want

bent fingers right a bent thumb and a


he is because lock joints are not

flexible bit joints are flexible so just

think about a human walking if you're

walking and your knees are flexible you

can walk with a normal gait but now

we'll lock your knees and now I'm try to

walk okay you look completely ridiculous

the same thing is true with the violin

man you never want any locked joints

with the violin because locked joints

equals a lack of flexibility a lack of

flexibility equals tension and tension

is your enemy with the violin or with

any athletic activity a lot of bad

things can happen with tension

besides injury it makes you say you're

stiff and you just can't play in a fluid

like manner so it's very important to

have this bent thumb and the bent pinky

and when you see a lot of beginner

players play you'll see them doing this

they'll straighten that pinky why

because it feels stronger it feels like

they can hold their bow better but

that's you have to do the

counterintuitive thing now another

little couple tricks here I'll tell you

about the if you look really closely and

I'll do a couple of close-up shots here

on your bow it actually has all these

different sides to it it's probably the

octagonal stick so you have eight sides

to it now one of the easy ways to get

your pinky to be able to stay on that

bow is to when you put the pinky on top

of the bow actually put it on one of the

flat sides on the bow here and I want to

be on toggle sides here and that will

help it so your pinky doesn't slip off

okay so another little trick is your

thumb now when you click the thumb

inside the bow here don't push the tip

too far so it's sticking out the other

side if you or it's even close to

sticking out the other side if you do

that your thumb will have a tendency to

tooth to move into slide and then your

thumb will straight we don't want to

straight thumb you want to bet

what a flexible thumb a thumb that can

move so the trick for that is when you

put your thumb in it's almost like the

pinkie you want to put your thumb on the

outside of the of the stick so not too

far in but a little bit on the outside

and then it's going to be easier to keep

that thumb from sliding or you don't

want it to and that's about it

so my recommendation there's a few

exercises that you can do so the first

exercise that I always have all my

beginners do is the first exercise which

is hold a bow with your left hand the

one that I showed you beginning the

video you hold the bow with your left

hand bent thumb that's step one three

fingers on the first crease in your

knuckles that's to three is to put that

pinky on top so you just practice that

over and over again one two three over

one two three over right and the and

then once you do that you can practice

windshield wipers which the wipers so as

you practice these windshield wipers you

feel the weight of your bow is

transferred from one part of your

fingers to the other so when your bow is

like this you can feel that bow pushing

on your pinky now if you take that pinky

off your bow falls so you realize just

how important that thing is for your bow

balance so windshield wipers you go over


you feel the weight of the bow on your

index finger you go over here you feel

the weight of your bow and your pinky

okay so you just feel that that's your

second exercise so the first one is the

one two three the second one is your

windshield wipers the third one is you

can try which are called spider crawls

now this one your goal is to make it up

the bow whilst holding a proper bow grip

so your bow grip is intact but you're

moving your hand up to the tip of the

bow the point of this is

to teach your hand to be flexible and to

be in to be able to move but yet you can

still hold the bow properly at the same

time now once you get more advanced you

get better at this then work your way

down to the Frog that's much more

difficult but remember the goal is is to

keep your fingers in the proper position

but still be able to move what's the

proper position the proper zip position

is bent thumb bent pinky and keep these

fingers down don't raise these fingers


that's tension keep them down and

relaxed that's not tension that's nice

and relaxed okay so those are some

exercises those are the three exercises

you can do one two three windshield

wipers and spider crawls up and down the

bow now after you get pretty good at

that and what exercise you can do is to

learn how if you use how to use this bow

grip and that is long ghoster strokes so

you can do open strings on your violin

viola cello bass doesn't matter

each type well actually it doesn't

matter because the cellos and basses

general holder goes differently so this

would apply mostly to violins and violas

but you're going to start at the Frog

and then you're gonna is gonna go all

the way to the tip all the way to the

Frog and as you do that you can feel the

bow transfer the bount reels you'll feel

the bow balance transfer from your

pinkie when you're at the Frog to the

index when you're at the tip pinky index

pinky index and you concentrate on

keeping that bow in the same spot on

their strings now I'll do another video

on long tones how to practice good tone

and stuff like that but for now so if

you just practice those exercises over

and over again you're gonna have a great

Bowl and starting out with the great bow

hold is really important it's very

difficult to fix a bad bow hold if once

you start out wrong

most people who don't have private

instructors end up would go hold they

have straight pinkies and

straight thumb and that's a hard habit

to break so if you want to start out

right just force yourself to do it right

bent thumb bent pinky and do your

exercises and before you know it this

will feel natural and you will be very

far yet so anyways guys I hope that that

helps and you know like I always say it

in in my videos you know if you have any

questions or comments just put them down

in the the the comments section below

and don't forget to subscribe and we're

going to be doing a lot of different

videos and of course you can always call

or contact us here at Kennedy violins

we're always happy to answer any kind of

questions you got because we are players

and teachers so we've been there we've

done that we're always level they taxed