Fiddleheads.ca Technique Advice and FAQs
You may also find Rhiannon's FAQ for solutions for a Stiff Bow Shoulder or Which Bow to Buy for a Player who Presses Hard very helpful
Q: Are you supposed to hold your upper bow arm/shoulder absolutely still, or just move it a little? Mine moves a little, and I'm wondering if that is proper.
But not at all a swaying from the shoulder, which many players do in attempts to make their tone smooth or to reach the tip of the bow. The shoulder is really just the crane that lifts the bow onto the correct string; the upper arm raises and the shoulder supports it (not tensing up).
You wouldn't want to tense up to make it still as that would make your shoulder stiff again. I recommend you try practicing with your upper arm (bow arm) against a wall. This will keep your elbow form swaying back and you will isolate the elbow and wrist to do their work.
Start out with short notes on one open string until you can feel them moving freely and your elbow is not knocking back against the wall.
A quick note: Make sure your bow is perpendicular to the strings (parallel to the bridge) when you do this otherwise you are practicing at the wrong angle.
Another thing to be aware of is that a warped or poorly cambered (curved) bow can cause problems with bowing properly. It's like driving a car with poorly aligned wheels; it will swerve to one side or the other and the driver has to put extra effort into steering to remain on the road!
Check the camber of your bow by tightening it to playing tension and hold it up and look down the shaft from frog to tip. It will curve from top to bottom, but should not curve out to the side (unless it was purposely constructed that way as some high end bows do).
All the best for your music and we hope our shop will earn your business.