After some practice on the pencil bow hold, let’s now move to the bow. First we’ll start with an “early bow hold”, or “balance point bow hold”. If you haven't tried it yet, go back to learn the pencil bow hold.
Instead of holding the bow by the frog (the square-shaped piece at the bottom of the bow), you can grab it by the balance point. The balance point is usually about a third of the way up the bow from the frog. You’ll know it’s the balance point because if you hang the bow on your finger at that point, it will balance. That means it will stay level and won’t fall or slide off.
This early bow hold is good for students who want to practice bowing on the violin without worry of tension or poor technique. When you grab the bow at the frog, the pinky has to support much of the bow’s weight. That tiny little finger can tense up and ruin all your hard work with the pencil, so the early bow hold is a good stop-gap between pencil and true bow hold.
Keep the same shape as you did on the pencil, but be careful not to touch the bow hair! The natural oils in your hand can ruin the bow hair and make it difficult to produce a clean, consistent sound.
Before progressing to a full bow hold, this balance point bow hold will teach you to move your arm the right way as your hand strength develops. Here are the steps for the balance point bow hold.
Find the balance point of the bow and rest your thumb on the bottom side of the stick, the part that’s closest to the hair. Keep the thumb bent.
Drape your middle and ring finger over the stick (Careful not to touch the bow hair!)
Rest your index finger on top of the stick, so that the stick rests in between the middle two joints.
Balance point bow hold step 4
Excellent work! You’ve done your bunny bites, your pencil bow hold, and your balance point bow hold.
The balance point bow hold is really great for teaching you how to use the violin bow before you’ve built up the strength you need for the proper bow hold. That can usually take a few weeks.
Once you feel like you are comfortable with the balance point hold, it’s time to hold the bow like the pros.
If you ever feel like you are getting tired when the standard bow hold, it’s okay to come back to the balance point hold for a rest. Remember, it will take weeks or months for the muscles in your hands and fingers to develop.
Go learn how to hold the violin bow like a pro.