help for a sore thumb

Originally published 7 January 2008. The main takeaway I have, now that an additional 12 years have elapsed, is that while the larger aspects of this post hold true, bow hold is wildly variable. The video I posted about visualization addressed it a bit: the function must lead the form. As it turns out, chasing … Read more


Originally posted 26 June 2007. It’s wild that this is all words and no images, although I suppose there is some utility in having to visualize the movements independently. It reminds me of the Eddie Izzard skit where he talks about why there are no car chases in books. When a student is first learning … Read more

the bow

Originally published 18 June 2007. I’m still a bow-centric teacher. Maybe even more so now, even though there are lots of really insightful instructors whose philosophy centers intonation as the first goal. It’s not that I don’t think intonation is important. It’s just that producing a beautiful sound is much harder. Work on both, of … Read more

hacks for your technique, part 5: staying focused on a problem thumb

This may be the simplest “hack”, but it’s also one I wish more students used. Something as rudimentary as a bandage can work wonders to draw the physical attention (that is, the body’s awareness of what is happening while other complicated things are going on) to a small, but crucial aspect of technique. I use … Read more

hacks for your technique, part 3: getting a tense right pinky to chill out

I wrote about this nearly ten years ago, but it’s stood the test of time for a tense/hyperextended/jerk of a pinky. My school of bow technique asserts that the pinky is largely inert during most actions, and although there are big names (A. Weilerstein and M. Haimovitz to name two…sometimes Rostropovich) who lean on their … Read more

hacks for your technique, part 1: fixing clumped fingers

There are techniques that feel, for some, completely unnatural. It gets to the point that struggling students can’t even feel what right is, so they either give up on the technique (this is common with vibrato, for instance) or develop weird work arounds (hello splayed extensions!). Over the years, I’ve employed a few novel strategies … Read more

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