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Taking baby steps

Posted by Andah1andah2 on Sunday, December 13, 2009

 Ok, I've gone through several stages about my bowing hand (and I'm sure there is more to come) in these short 2 months.  First was excitement then curiosity, research, concern, research, concern, denial, fear, concern and now acceptance.

The last stage involved getting the Gordon Stobbe video and practicing the recommended techniques.  Well, I did practice the wrist/hand movement and went to my last lesson with my new "skills" thinking that I would impress my teacher.  I started the lesson by showing her my "breakthrough".   I was so proud of myself as I shifted my wrist at the top and bottom of my long bowstrokes like a flopping fish out of water.  She was polite and let me finish my audition. When I finished I looked at her, and she looked at me.  I don't remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect of "What the hell is that?" She was actually very tactful and explained that my "new" style was not beneficial and not the way it was taught to me.  We spent that hour re-learning proper bow hold and wrist movement.  She emphasized that I should not worry so much about the looseness of my fingers right now.  That as long as you are holding the bow correctly and have the wrist/upper arm motion going correctly, the finger and fine tune motion will come with time.  We focused a lot on finger position on the bow, moving the upper arm, keeping the elbow low and only as high as necessary to change bow angle, and wrist movement on long bow strokes.  The wrist should not flop around during this type of bow movement, but bend gracefully and significantly on the up bow and gradually straighten out on the down bow.  She also explained that the movement of longer bowstrokes is different from the wrist movement when you "flutter" out those 1/16th notes.  Then you would use mostly wrist and eventually fingers over time.

I don't know what exactly to say about the video.  It is a quality video and the movement of some people in it seem very good and natural.  However, I must say that my teacher's method also seems very natural and "straightforward".  Her method is not flashy but, at a loss of words, steadfast and true.  I will give up on all outside methods and stick with her instruction solely because I do trust and respect her style.  She also plays in the style that I hope to play myself.  I am now in acceptance of where I am and will practice this form until it becomes second nature.

The best I can describe this scenario, is that it reminds me of when I was taking fencing lessons as a kid.  I don't know why, but I liked fencing for a few years.  My teacher taught me the basics of good foot movement and I practiced those very specific foot patterns in order to use good form when fencing.  One day, I was watching some professionals in a match on TV.  They were obviously beyond those basic foot patterns and were doing all kinds of bouncing movements that were so beyond what I was doing.  So, my next lesson I start fencing by bouncing around and emulating what I saw on TV.  That teacher also stopped me  and basically said the same thing, "what the hell is that?"

So perhaps it's the same thing. 

On a final note, I figured out some new tunes which I have added to my practice and hope to post soon.  They include Redwing, Nearer My God to Thee, and Meet Me To-night in Dreamland.  The Dreamland song is a special tune to me and I will explain in another post when I get better at playing it.  It's a waltzie tune that not very many folks have heard of it before.

That's all for now.



1 comment on “Taking baby steps”

mudbug Says:
Sunday, December 13, 2009 @1:39:36 PM

I liked the fencing analogy. It's great to be inspired by people who are mega-years ahead of us in ability, but in fairness to Gordan, maybe you weren't ready for him. Sounds like you got a great teacher.............. Want to sell the vid? :-)

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