How to move the bow arm properly!

توضیح مختصر: Learn the main elements of the bow arm movement and practice them with me.

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Our next exercise is about the movement of the whole arm. Before we do it however, I want to point your attention very briefly on a false impression most of us have. That’s the idea that the arm starts at the shoulder. The truth is, very much like the length of the fingers we talked about earlier, which were much longer than we could actually see, so the truth is that our arms are much longer than we think. They attach to the rib cage at two locations: with the shoulder blade at the back, and with the collarbone at the front. Of those two, the one at the back is extremely important for creating freedom of motion in the arm. It is also the most neglected because we can never see our back. So, in order to create more freedom of movement we need to visualize the arms starting all the way at the back, with very relaxed, ready to move shoulder blades, the collarbones connected at the front, and then, the part of the arm which we see all the way to the fingers. Again, if you’d like to learn more about that, let me know in the comments section, and I’ll prepare a special lecture on that topic. So, back to the arm exercise! We already worked on the rotation of the arm, let’s now practice flexing and extending in the elbow. Turn your arm to the left, put the pencil on the thumb and middle finger locks the pencil there, but it’s not squeezing, the index finger from one side, ring and little finger from the other side and little finger on top of the pencil. And now, with the left hand, push your wrist to go up, now from the other side, push, so it goes down Push to go up, Down Up down. The fingers are holding the pencil very lightly. No effort, very relaxed, the whole hand is very relaxed! We are moving the wrist, the hand and fingers are following. They are just enjoying the ride, so to speak! Now let’s try that without the help of the left arm, move the wrist, very relaxed fingers and hand. Ok. Now keep moving, but close your eyes and visualize your right arm very long starting all the way at the back with the shoulder blade, and at the front with the collarbone, both very flexible Allow them to move with the movement of the arm, even if it’s just millimeters. Very good! Now let’s draw a few figure eights. Remember, the fingers are relaxed, we are balancing the pencil on the thumb, the wrist is leading, the hand is following. If you focus on moving the wrist only I promise you, the hand and the fingers won’t get behind, they will still come along. Let’s go in the opposite direction, slowly Very good! The arm is very long, starting all the way at the back. Now let’s stop at the point where the arm is extended and start moving slightly to the front, as if you are reaching for a door knob, and go back. Go to the front, and go back. Keep the fingers very relaxed, we are pushing the pencil away from our body and pulling it back. pushing and pulling, we’re still focusing on moving the wrist, the wrist is leading, the hand is following. Okay, now let’s connect with the previous movement: we start pulling the pencil, and then the wrist is taking it all the way up. it will look as if we are drawing a big letter L with the arm. That’s the long line, and here’s the short line Now back, short line, long line, long line Short, letter L. Let’s go down and hold there and do just a few of the short side of the letter L. To the front and to the back, to the front and to the back. It’s a very short motion, just a few inches, but it’s very important one! Now connect with the whole movement, so pull, and the wrist goes all the way up, and down, and to the front. Now imagine that instead of L, you are drawing a big letter J. So, it’s one movement. One big movement. Very good! The last part of this exercise is to bring the upper arm in, to finish the movement. Like this, in, and back In, and back. As if you are trying to move this bone, right here. So, let’s now add the previous parts. It’s a three-part movement and this is the first part. We will call it number one. Number one! The number two is simply extending and flexing the arm in the elbow. The number three is reaching to the front and back. Reaching to the front, and back. So that’s three, two, one. Now let’s do them together. Let’s now see what the arm is doing on the way down: so one, upper arm is moving back, two, forearm extends, three, upper arm goes forward. On the up: Upper arm goes back, forearm flexes, upper arm goes in. Now let’s do it a little more connected, as one continuous motion. If the transitions are not so smooth, don’t worry, once you figure out the coordination of the different parts, it will get much better. Go back and forth between this exercise and the one with separation. Very good! Of all the exercises we did, this is probably the most complicated one, but at the same time, the most important one, because it’s very very close to the actual movement of the arm when we play the violin. So, practice this anytime you get a chance, to get comfortable with it quickly. You will see how easy it will be to start moving the bow, after you pick up this motion with the pencil. In order to actually start playing, though, we need to learn how to hold the violin. This will be explained in the next section!