Preparing to use a Cello Bow

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 23,507
    Diana from the International School of Music demonstrates how to prepare to use a bow on the cello.
    My name is Diana and I am here at The International School of Music in Bethesda Maryland. In this clip, we will be talking about how to hold the bow and one of the best ways to get started is actually to practice with a pencil.

    So if you take any pencil and just drop it on the floor, then reach down and pick it up. If you'll notice just the position of your thumb versus your fingers, the thumb is opposite naturally the second finger. This will be the same case when you apply it to the bow hold.

    Another thing about this is that there is space between the fingers. A great way to find that again is to sort of pretend that you dip your hand in a bucket of water and shake it off, let everything drip down from here. And if you notice, the straight line from the elbow, or the subtle line from the elbow through to the fingers and the natural space between each of the fingers. Again you want to transfer this to the bow or the pencil hold.

    Another thing to notice is that when you pick up the pencil or hold the pencil, the thumb is curved out slightly, convexly. It doesn't have to be a huge amount, but just so that it maintains flexibility as opposed to locking in like that, which is common when you transfer it to the bow.

    So in taking the actual bow, once you've graduated from the pencil, you can hold the bow in your left hand just to have security. Again go through some of the steps like shaking out your arm and naturally you want to rest these middle knuckles on the top of the stick of the bow. So you can shake out your hand and then rest those on.

    Then just curve the fingers down and the thumb convexly curved outwards is going to meet the stick where the black and the brown, right about there. And so again the fingers will curve over the top of the stick and all of them make contact on the other side except for the first finger which is curved more around the stick.

    Something that's important to keep in mind is that the pinky is actually on the black part of the bow as opposed to drifting off the side or on the top. So, that should align through the right side of the hand.

    So with this, again some reminders, there is space between every finger. The thumb is bent outwards and not squeezing and the arm -- you know the way that your arm responds by moving it either with the left hand or through the right hand. And again just maintain this fluidity through the arm.

    So, once you've established this, you'll be ready to move on to bowing basics which is what we will be covering in the next clip.