Does your bow shake or bounce when you play the violin?

One of my online lessons students recorded video of himself so that I could comment on his bow hold. Watch the videos if you want and then read my critique. If your bow shakes or bounces, my critique can help you, too.

My Critique
Istvan, I am so proud of you! You have BEAUTIFUL TECHNIQUE. Great bow hand, posture, left hand…! I am truly impressed. You even have a little colle’ motion going on. Great job!

How to Stop Shaking Bow
I truly believe that 95 percent of the shaking bow is caused by two things: Your sounding point (highway) and your crooked bow. Your bow goes slightly crooked on your downbow stroke, making what I call “Bananas,” where your bow hand traces in the shape of a “banana” on the down bow, instead of a nice straight line.

To avoid doing “bananas” on your downbow stroke, you need to reach out FRONT just slightly, and ESPECIALLY when you get closer to the tip. That is where the banana really happens. I’m sure you have practiced in a mirror, but continue to watch in the mirror. Watch as you get to the tip. Your bow goes crooked.

BUT, if you reach out front, you need to also do something else to balance out that motion. You need to pull in on the bow with your INDEX finger, and push out slightly with your pinky. (mostly the index finger….but the index and pinky work together in opposition to each other) Pulling in with your index finger on the DOWNBOW stroke will help keep your bow straight, but it will also keep your bow from going off the highway. In general, you could bring your bow closer to the bridge to start with, but also fight to KEEP it there.

The last thing you need to do while getting rid of that bow jumping, is to gently PRONATE your bow hand about five percent more than you are now doing. You are doing a great job, I just want five percent more of the pronation, adding a little bit more bow weight.

I’m pretty sure this will get rid of that little bounce. Your problem isn’t NEARLY as bad as mine was! If these three things don’t get rid of the problem, don’t worry. I have other tricks you can use.

1) Straighten your downbow stroke by reaching your bow hand more out FRONT, especially as you get to the tip. (use a mirror alot)
2) Pull in slightly with your  index finger on the downbow. (also push with pinky) BUT DO NOT START TO WRAP index finger around the bow.
3) Add five percent more bow weight by “pronating” your hand gently.