Reducing Bow Hand Tension with Bunny and Loose Fist Grip Practice

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Many students in an effort to control the bow grip the bow with the fingers all strongly curving around the top of the bow or balancing on the finger tips on top of the bow.  This creates tension in the wrist which prohibits fluid bowing and the condition where to make a sound, the pointer finger is called to strongly press into the bow which generally creates a squeaky sound. In general when the finger tips are all on top of the bow the elbow has to direct where the bow goes because the wrist has to be tense to maintain the hold.   When the wrist, palm and fingers are relaxed, the bow hand can more precisely and evenly guide the bow over the strings and the elbow as a bonus follows and provides weight so the first finger doesn’t have to press to produce the sound in the upper half of the bow. The weight of the elbow is enough to create pressure on the string to produce sound.

Sometimes I use the bunny bow hold as a tool to help release tension in a bow hold and create a more balanced grip.  The grip is called the bunny grip as the pinkie and the first finger resemble rabbit ears and the thumb sort of looks like a rabbit’s buck teeth and the two middle fingers sort of look like a rabbit nose.

The bunny ear hold can be practiced on a pencil:

Pencil Bunny Hold

or on the bow…


Here is a basic bunny hold grip with the pinkie and first finger along for the ride on the bow. The pinkie and the first finger jobs are mostly for bow balance as the bow moves to from the lower half to the upper half of the bow.    This picture shows the hold from the side so you can see the location of the fingers, but is best practiced with the left hand supporting the tip of the bow and the bow hand in a horizontal position.   In a horizontal position the wrist doesn’t have to work as hard and the hand can relax more and play with balance instead of effort.


If the bunny grip doesn’t work for decreasing tension in the bow hold, I sometimes experiment with a gentle fist grip where the student experiments with holding the bow with a loose fist grip as pictured below.


1 comments on “Reducing Bow Hand Tension with Bunny and Loose Fist Grip Practice”

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