We all know how difficult it is to master the proper techniques needed for bowing. First, the student must learn to make a relaxed and consistent bow hold. For all the parents out there who have never tried to make a good bow hold, it's not as easy as it looks!!
Once the student has mastered the bow hold, the next big challenge is learning to play on the violin with a straight bow. I recently discovered a new tool to help instill the correct motion into the student's bow arm-- egg crates! Here's how it works:
1) Have your child hold an empty egg crate upside down on their shoulder like a pretend violin.
2) With a good bow hold, place the bow into the second track between the rows of eggs
3) Bow away!
Students can "play" any of the bow rhythms they have learned. They can also "play" the twinkle variations along to the CD or while singing the songs. They can even make up their own rhythms or songs. The possibilities are endless!
I have tried this practice technique with a handful of my students this week, and I am very excited about the results! The egg crate is sort of like training wheels on a bike. Because the bow is on a track between the rows of eggs, it is required to go in a straight line. With lots of repetition, the students gain the muscle memory they need for a straight bow that creates a beautiful tone on the violin. They can also really see and feel how their elbow is opening and closing. Practicing regularly with the egg crate also creates more opportunities to make good bow holds and to listen to the CD during practice sessions.