Beginner Viola Bow Stroke: Elbow Height and Arm Weight

Beginner Viola Bow Stroke: Elbow Height and Arm Weight

Learning To Use Elbow Height and Arm Weight

by Rozanna Weinberger

One of the first challenges in playing with bow on strings is playing in different strings and doing so cleanly, without hitting other strings at the same time. While this requires abit of coordination, the bow arm should feel comfortable without too much physical stress. As these lessons are practiced on different strings, the right elbow should adjust to each string level. This makes it possible for the weight of the arm to adjust to each string. The optimal elbow height should be parallel to hand and slightly lower than the bow when weight is in string.

There should also be a relaxed ‘weighty’ feeling in arm. The following are simple observations on arm weight.

  1. Allow right arm to hang to the side of body.
  2. Form an ‘L’ by bending elbow and raising hand.
  3. Elevate arm by lifting elbow away from the body
  4. Notice effort in muscles to accomplish this simple task
  5. Allow elbow to drop, feeling the weight of the arm as it falls.

Which action seems to require the most work – elevating the arm, or dropping it down?

Screenshot 2014-08-11 22.47.32

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