Hot Beginner Tip #1: How to Hold the Bow

The bow hold can vary and still be “good” just depending on the style, but here is a basic starting point that is good for any style of music. Please let me know if it makes sense or not and send along any questions that come up when you try it. If you don’t have a violin or a bow, you can use a pencil just to see how awesome you are at this.

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37 responses to “Hot Beginner Tip #1: How to Hold the Bow

  1. omg you are amazing.. and i was wondering how i could get one of your cd’s you all should go on tour and stop in illinois.. so i dont have to drive so far to see you all play

  2. I love the way you explain things. And that “shaking out the tension” is an excellent tip that I’m definitely going to start using. I tend to get very tense while concentrating on the strings. The tension in my hands can quickly move up my arms and right to my neck and shoulders.

    Thanks for the great tips!

  3. Dear Ms. O’Conner
    Thank you for your providing the new instruction video for the beginner like me. It is very helpful for re-fixing my way correctly.
    I would like to see this video to recheck and recheck repeatedly sometimes to correct first thing.
    Regards.
    Takao Yomoda, Northridge CA

  4. Makes sense and is very easy. thanks, I like it and am sure it will improve my bowing.

  5. I have some video of you in here (2010) if you’d like to take a look. You look different! Anyway, rock the festival this year, I’m only going to make All-Hallows…

  6. I have some video of you in here (2010) if you’d like to take a look. You look different! Anyway, rock the festival this year, I’m only going to make All-Hallows…

  7. Keep up the great music! I found you from searching for “the Gael” on YouTube. Instead of practicing, I’m watching all your stuff instead. If your albums were download-able I would own them all by now! Think of the impulse buyers.

  8. when are you going to visit scotland if so you should go to edinburgh festival
    I would love to see you perform the gael

  9. Hello Jenny….your tips are super cool…especially for the beginners….just keep them going…

  10. hola mi nombre es sergio, me gusta como tocas el violin desde la primera ves que te vi por internet (youtube) y me parece espectacular como tocas y ademas eres muy pero muy bella, me he unido a tu pagina para saber mas de ti y disculpame por escribirte en castellano porque mi escritura del ingles es pesima pero si entiendo lo que dices, la proxima te prometo que te escribire en ingles y si tengo algun error de ortografia disculpame… bye

  11. Hi Jenny,

    My family saw Circa Paleo at the PA Renfare this year. We are now devoted fans and have all your CDs. My Daughter is 7 and wants to start her journey into the world of the violin. Would you have any suggestions for a good quality entry level violin that will grow with her as her skills develop.

    Keep making great music

    • Yes I do! She probably needs a 3/4 size violin. I recently went to my fave violin shop just to test different models and see which I can recommend for the best beginner model for the price. If you sign up for the email list that will put you directly in touch with me and I can then tell you how to order the fiddle. I recommend renting until you are ready to spend about $400 for a good beginner model.

  12. Kyle Aliki Cummings

    Hi Jenny I am 23 and I am buying my first violin on Friday, I have never played any instruments as a young child but love music of all categories but I started to play guitar 3years ago and now want to try violin, its been my dream since 5 to play, but my parents thought i would lose interest as our family has no good musicians, or any that really ever tried, I would like to become really good and I love the video last of the mohicans, which inspired me to want to play violin now, will I be able to become really good if I practice at least an hour a day and play really fast and advanced music? I watched you play it very well when i looked up last of the mohicans and saw your video on youtube the hot violinist hehe please let me know, its my dream and please be honest thanks

    • Hi Aliki, Practicing an hour a day is great. In the beginning an hour solid might be too much, and you may benefit more in the long run from breaking it up into shorter bursts throughout the day, consistently reminding yourself of the basic positioning and good sound. Trying to do too much too fast is one of the main downfalls of adult beginners. If you want to be really good, I suggest getting a teacher. I have been taking online lessons via internet skype, and have been amazed how well it works. Sometime in the first part of 2012, I will be launching an online fiddle school to share everything I have learned about starting violin as an adult.

      • Kyle Aliki Cummings

        Hey thanks so much, I will do that and looking forward to the 2012 lessons, really want to learn allot from you, you seem so calm when you play and you can see you really enjoy it, I started learning how to hold the bow but wow its a lot harder than it looks, harder than guitar! But I love it so much its just so much fun to learn! Do you have any tips on how to learn the notes on the violin in a simple way or something. Thank you so much

  13. Oh my God! I’ve just received your arrangement piece of THE KISS- The Last of the Mohicans! I so love it!!!!! Thank you so much! Can I also request for your arrangement of Shikee Shikee Baba? Please… that’s my rank 1 favourite! Pls Ms Jenny :) Thank you in advance. Best wishes from the Philippines!

  14. You are not simply a”hot”violinist. You’re a beautiful woman, nice and light, bright, beautiful. Besides all that, very friendly and helpful in giving us your tips here, little fiddlers.
    Thank you,
    Fabio

    tecnfabio@hotmail.com

  15. Hi Jenny I thought I would give the violin a try however after a bit of practice I am struggling with reaching the notes. I am ridden with very short fingers and was wondering your thoughts on if I should try a different instrument because of this limitation. Thanks for your time. John.

    • Hello John,

      Take heart and do not get discouraged. It takes lots of practice and some good instruction to understand how to reach the notes. Small hands are actually GOOD for violin. Long fingers can get in the way. Ithzac Perlman’s fingers like little vienna sausages and he has just about the best tone in the world. If your hands are very very small, like the size of childrens’ hands, you may benefit from playing a smaller violin. My guess you is you just need someone to show you how to position your hand to allow your fingers to move freely. I’ll do a video about this once I’m settled in California.

      Hang in there! Jenny

  16. Hey Jenny! Thanks for all this helpful information. You’re so generous with your time and skills. We all appreciate it!

    Are you going to be playing any shows in California once you get out there? I’m taking a road trip out there for some surfing, and would love to check out one of your shows if you’re playing some.

    Thanks!
    FW

  17. Hi, Jenny. You are amazing. I’m 33 and have wanted to learn violin since I was young and finally had my first lesson a week ago. I love it so much that I can barely put it down! Your Last of the Mohicans piece is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait until I’m ready to start with your instructions on it. Thank you for posting this beginner video. It is so clear, and I am very interested in your online fiddle school when you get that up and running. Whereabouts will you be in CA? I live by Disneyland and I would LOVE to see you live.

    Thank you,
    Kim

  18. the method for holding the bow seems counter intuitive I’m going to try the violin…I .only held and bowed one once in a pawn show and I love the sound (like everybody does) of the violin. starting late in life…(retired firefighter/paramedic among other things) but when I held the violin…it just felt right…except the way I held the bow before your instruction I used thumb to index and middle…seems to be natural. when I get my fiddle i will follow the instructions with precision however…no sense in starting off developing bad habits and wondering later why I can’t play, huh?

  19. thanks for the vids….perfect for a beginner!

  20. what do you think of electric violins

  21. Hihi that was a great show :D

  22. I have struggled with my bow arm and hand. I started playing the violin when I was 31 years old with my son, who was 3. Having five children and all I juggle puts tension in my arms. This might be what I need. I am part of a children’s string orchestra and I am the oldest member at 41….smile. We have a lot of fast moving music and I am struggling trying to get all the notes played at the correct speed. Your relaxation techniques I am going to put into practice and I pray that it works. If nothing else, it seems to release a lot of stress….smile. Keep you posted!

    • Way to go Julie! I love it that you are rocking the children’s orchestra. I think the best way to get through the violin beginning stages is to be a kid at heart. Just keep playing!

  23. Where have you gone Jenny?? Please more videos and blog posts!! Dont give up, you have an awesome fan base and people love you!!

    • Thanks so much! I’ve just been a bit out of the computer loop but still thinking of you all very much. I want to come up with the best way to convey all the most helpful information. It’s a little tricky to structure since I’m a bit tech challenged. But I hope to get back into full swing very soon. I really appreciate the encouragement!

  24. Hi Jenny, As soon as i heard the song on the tube I had to find the sheet music for it. This is why i’m here of course. I would be very interested in what you had mentioned early regarding available lessons with skype.Is it available. We have a shortage of teachers available to me.

  25. Do you have a instructional video on, “the kiss yet”?

  26. You’re awesome! Do you ever go to the Great Lakes Medieval Faire in Ohio?

  27. Did you have to learn to read music first before you learned the violin or did that come later?

  28. Is it possible to get a copy of the sheet music for Swedish Cantiga, You and no other and Mind over mind, if it already exists somewhere please let me know where to find it.
    Thank you in advance

  29. Jenny.
    I am looking forwad to your return to the PA Ren Fair, are you going to have any dvds for sale this year?

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