Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

80
Fiddle Lovers Online


Swan Arm

Posted by fiddledan on Thursday, February 21, 2008

Here is a bowing exercise that I came up with while working with several students. This is a 3 part process with 3 steps in each part. Actually, it is more like a “prepare” to bow exercise, since it is the arm and hand motion that you are working on here without the bow in your hand yet.
 
I have always been at a loss to explain the swanlike motion until now and hope this helps you understand some very non verbal techniques.
 
Part 1 – Palm to floor, arm up and down
 
First step: Let your right arm (the bowing arm) hang loosely beside you, fingers pointed towards the ground. Make sure that your muscles and joints are all limp or loose at this point.
 
Second step:  Now bend your hand at the wrist joint about 90 degrees so your palm roughly faces the floor. Don’t FORCE the wrist and don’t POINT your fingers. Get as close to this ideal as you can without hyper extending, stiffening or hurting your joints.
 
Step three: This is where you will start to feel the body work as it will when you hold the bow. With your palm continuing to face down, lift your hand up above your head – high as you can – then bring it back down to its starting position, palm facing the floor. KEEP YOUR PALM FACING THE FLOOR THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STROKE UP AND DOWN. Keep your body/arm as relaxed as possible to the joints react to the movement as opposed to causing the movement.
 
Continue this over and over until it feels smooth and comfortable.
 
Part 2 – Palm to wall, arm left and right
 
First step: Hold your right arm (the bowing arm) straight out in front of you at shoulder height, fingers pointed towards the wall directly in front of you. Make sure that your muscles and joints are all limp or loose as possible using only the minimum necessary to hold your arm out.
 
Second step: Now rotate your arm so your palm roughly faces the wall to your right. Again, don’t FORCE the joints and don’t POINT your fingers. Get as close to this ideal as you can without hyper extending, stiffening or hurting your joints.
 
Step three: This is where you will again feel the body work as it will when you hold the bow. With your palm continuing to face the wall to your right, move your arm to the right, then to the left and back to its starting position, palm facing to the right. KEEP YOUR PALM FACING THE RIGHT WALL THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STROKE RIGHT AND LEFT. Keep your body/arm as relaxed as possible to the joints react to the movement as opposed to causing the movement.
 
Continue this over and over until it feels smoo

5 comments on “Swan Arm”

Dick Hauser Says:
Thursday, February 21, 2008 @1:37:32 PM

Maybe you need to sell an instructional DVD after the snowbird flies north to its summer nest.

fiddlerdi Says:
Thursday, February 21, 2008 @4:09:55 PM

I like it!

I would be interested to know how the student reacts once actially holding the bow and trying this. This is the point where I see them get confused or ditracted again about the smooth arm and wrist actions. They can do these exercises really well without the bow and then once they grip the bow, all the relaxation seems to leave them. At least they can get a feel for what it should feel like befroe they pick up the bow and that will help. I am thinking that making a good sound and keeping the bow on the right string really distracts them from being relaxed and smooth at first. Since playing is so much about how it "feels" to do it the right way, your demo would be really good on the open strings so they get a taste of good tone  right at the beginning. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

fiddlerdi Says:
Thursday, February 21, 2008 @4:10:53 PM

I like it!

I would be interested to know how the student reacts once actually holding the bow and trying this. This is the point where I see them get confused or ditracted again about the smooth arm and wrist actions. They can do these exercises really well without the bow and then once they grip the bow, all the relaxation seems to leave them. At least they can get a feel for what it should feel like befroe they pick up the bow and that will help. I am thinking that making a good sound and keeping the bow on the right string really distracts them from being relaxed and smooth at first. Since playing is so much about how it "feels" to do it the right way, your demo would be really good on the open strings so they get a taste of good tone  right at the beginning. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

ladymuse Says:
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 @5:58:17 PM

HI Dan! here is Jen, crazy day - when you are doing step one - and raosing hand above head (with pa;m to floor), I am assuming that you are doing a smooth arc up? (as opposed to straight up and down? LOL! (okay - today I have no brain - never thought of my bowing)

Anyway - It is ALWAYS the gradient UNDER the assumed gradient that gets missed!!! Way to go on this! Totally cool!!

Love ya! Jen!

fiddledee Says:
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 @6:45:48 AM

fiddledan:  I am unable to access the third part to your Swan Arm exercise.  Can you help me out?  

fiddledee

 

You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.



More posts from fiddledan

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

6.298828E-02