Circular motion and warming up back muscles
The following movements incorporate circular movements in back and arm. Circling the arm enables one to bring the weight of the arm around and up, then down onto the string, producing a rich beautiful sound. While the movements we are doing exaggerate the actual movement required to play a string instrument, they serve to help the student become aware of the weight and effects of gravity to produce sound with weight of the arm. A fine bow stroke takes practice, to cultivate the appropriate amount of arm weight and bow speed once the string is played.
1. Start with arms relaxed to one’s side.
2. Begin to make circles with arms, coming around the sides of the body, raising them up towards the ceiling then coming down and crossing in front of the body then back around.
As this study is done, notice:
- The effort to raise the arms in the air
- The natural ease in lowering them because of gravity, which allows the weight of the arms to naturally fall in the direction of the floor unless muscles are engaged to hold the arm up.
- When playing violin, and while practicing scales, this same weighty feeling can be applied to dropping the weight of the arm into the violin with the bow, enabling one to draw a sound from the violin.
Starting out practice with these warm-up studies can wake up the muscles and help students clarify the feeling of weightiness in the arm & back, vs. pressing out the sounds with force and undue tension. Once the warm up is done, students can incorporate these techniques into the practice of the scales. This circular feeling can be applied when holding the bow and violin.