Here’s a simple way to clean up your string crossing. I call it Stop n’ Rock.

Let’s warm up by just rocking between the D  and A strings. Feel how the angle is different on each string. Next we’ll do the actual stop n’rock exercise.

 

  • Place the lower third of the bow on the strings.
  • Do a quick downbow.
  • Fully stop the bow.
  • Pause, and then slowly rock to the other string.
  • Do a quick upbow.
  • Pause, and then slowly rock back to the first string.
  • Repeat.

 

This will help you play more precisely because it trains your arm where to go, what the correct angle is and how it should feel. You have to really take your time on the rock. Your arm needs more time to figure this out than your brain.

After you’ve done stop n’ rock awhile, don’t stop the bow, let it flow. Do your best to keep it precise, but don’t try to hard. Then, return to stop n’ rock. Continue alternating like this.

Is this exercise just for beginners?

No. Like a lot of the rudimentary exercises, you can return to stop n’rock throughout your career as a fiddler. More advanced players can integrate fingering into this. If you’re playing a tricky string crossing part from a tune, just practice it with stop n’ rock.

Try to enjoy the movement of this as well as the sound. Awareness of how the body moves and feels will be a tremendous help.