6 Tips For A Better Bow Hold 

Do you struggle with holding the bow correctly? Do you find it slips out of your hand? Does it feel awkward?

If so, take heart. You’re not the only one. You can improve this a little every day with focused practice.

This lesson is for beginners, but also for intermediate fiddlers who are uncertain about their bow hold.

6 tips for a better bow hold

Finding a comfortable bow hold

Start without the bow

  • Make a gentle fist
  • Open it up
  • Keep fingers curved
  • Separated slightly
  • Thumb bent (challenging) – helps with flexibility

Tip: Hold the bow with the left hand when adjusting the right-hand hold.

Tip: Use a mirror or selfie camera for visual feedback on your hold. This will also help for posture and left-hand position.

Practice without playing

Practice the right-hand wrist motion without holding the bow (air bowing).

Next, practice holding the bow without playing.

Relax body, become aware of breath

Then do some air bowing with the bow in hand: up and down, then side to side. Exaggerate the wrist motion.

Start with single notes, add complexity

Once you can hold the bow in a relaxed manner without playing, try to play a single note. Can you maintain that relaxed feel?

If not, then stop playing and put all attention on the hold.

I call this the Simple To Elaborate Process, or STEP™: single notes, intervals, scales, tune phrases and whole tunes. If you get stuck on more complex steps, then return to simpler steps. {diagram}

Return your awareness to the bow

During a session, periodically take breaks from playing and return your attention to the bow hold. Then follow the same simple to elaborate steps

Watch other fiddlers

Watch how other fiddlers bow at jams, shows and in videos. The fancy term for this is “perceptual exposure”. Try slowing down videos and mimicking the motion with your hand and arm. 💡

Bowing as meditation

Do very simple bowing practice, treating it as a meditation. Use drones to deepen the practice.

{D drone in video}

D Drone 


Become aware of the body, breath and mind as you bow. Get to the point in which you’re not only making a good sound, but you’re also feeling good in your body. If this doesn’t happen, then try to simplify what you’re doing.

Part of my fiddlosophy is that practicing music is a spiritual practice. Why? when you practice music with your whole mind and body, it connects you to something much bigger than yourself, to something eternal. And in the process, music practice brings your awareness into the present moment.

OK my friends, thanks for being here. Now go fiddle with it.

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Further learning

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