A student recently asked me this question: “How can I ever play my piece up to speed when it takes so long for my bow to settle down after a bow circle? It takes too long to set it, but if I rush, the bow bounces like crazy on the down bow.”
My answer was short and simple (something that does not happen very often), so I thought I would share the simple solutions with my readers.
You hit the nail on the head! You need time to allow the bow to settle before attempting to pull a down bow, otherwise it will bounce all over.
As you get better and better, you will need less and less time to set the bow before playing–but if you never learn to take the time to set the bow and TRULY let it settle, then the problem will never go away.
Trust me…give yourself all the time you need to let it settle perfectly, and you will gradually get faster and faster, until it is basically instantaneous, the way you see professionals setting and playing in split seconds.
The techniques to figure out that will help with this are:
- How to do smaller bow circles
- How to set the bow down so that it settles immediately
- Where to place the bow for the least bounce and best stability
- How to have a soft, relaxed bow hand
- How to tilt the bow ever so slightly
- The right elbow height (it can’t be too low nor too high)
Be patient. If you practice doing it right, it will come!
Isn’t the trick to stopping the bounce in the slight rotation onto the
right hand’s first finger (pronating) which I explain to students, is
the bounce brake! It works for cellists at least.
To some degree, that “pronation” can help, but if one of the other factors is wrong, like if the bow is too tight, or if the bow isn’t perfectly perpendicular to the string, or the bow hand is tense, then that can make it worse.
Hmmmm….I’d like to know which direction you are referring to that works for cellists……like, with the wrist bent with the heel of the hand down? If so…..that is very interesting, and makes alot of sense. Or do you mean pronation in a different direction? If you mean with heel of the hand up…..then I would guess that it’s the same with violin……it will only work if everything else is correct.
Bouncing bows is a problem of mine and I noticed that my first instructor sort of, kind of, hit the string while engaged in the down direction. I tried something like that and I did manage to get a bit less bounce. Sometimes no bounce. The hit, or maybe that is not the right term, but, firmly placing the bow on the string while already moving in the downward direction.
I know what you are talking about, that little “hit” on the down bow.
I do not believe that will help to eliminate the bounce…..it is just the way some players like to attack certain passages. In fact, that little bite can actually cause the bow to bounce if you don’t do it just right.
Have you seen my youtube video about getting rid of the unwanted bounce? It has some good ideas in it, PLUS, other people have written in the comments some other great ideas. Here is the video