Viola Beginner I

Viola Beginner: Week #2

Week #2


List of Goals for the week:

  • Warm Up: Instrument Hold Review

  • Scale: N/A

  • Technique: Bow Hold

  • Repertoire: N/A

  • Additional Studies:


Paragraph summary of what was covered in class

This week we focused on the bow (and a bit more of alto clef):

Parts of the Bow:

  1. Tip - very delicate!

  2. Hair- Made of horsehair - don’t touch so you avoid finger oils!

  3. Stick - should be curving so it bends INWARD in the middle toward the hair

  4. Frog (the part that anchors the hair at the bottom of the bow)

  5. Screw - tightens and loosens the bow

  6. Winding/Wrapping (metal wire and “leather” wrap)


Storing the Bow:

When storing the bow in the case in between playing sessions, it should be loosened.

This is done by turning the screw to the left (if looking down the length of the bow with the screw pointing toward you). The hair should be loose enough that it’s not holding any tension, but not so much that the frog is in danger of coming off the stick.


Bow Hold:

The bow hold begins by holding your bow in the middle with your left hand. Hold up

your right hand up as if you’re swearing in in court, but with a “loose cat claw.”


  1. Thumb - Tuck the tip of your thumb into the space between the frog of the bow and the wrapping so that the thumbnail is peeking out the side of the bow facing away from you..

  2. Middle two fingers - lay your middle and ring finger of your right hand over the stick of the bow so that your thumb tip meets the middle finger at the first knuckle, forming a circle.

  3. First finger - lands on bow between second and third fingers.

  4. Pinky - Tip sits on top of bow.

  5. Gradually let go of the bow with your left hand so that your right hand is now holding the bow - you will feel most of the weight in your pinky finger.

It’s important to keep your fingers curved at all times, since your bow hold is a

“suspension system” between your arm and the bow. Your pinky and thumb will

especially want to straighten and lock at the joints, which will make it much more

difficult to get a good sound.



Assignment for next week

  1. Continue practicing moving from rest position to playing position with your instrument, 6-8 times per day.Try to gradually increase the length of time to 1-2 minutes of comfortably holding the instrument under your chin without your left hand.

  2. Practice the steps of the bow hold 8-10 times per day. Gradually increase the length of time you’re holding it from a few seconds in the beginning to 1-2 minutes, making sure that your fingers stay relaxed and are not strained.


How to Practice this at home

  1. Move through each step from rest position to playing position with your instrument. Once you’ve got the instrument comfortably in place, release the instrument with your left hand. Practice touching your scroll and bridge with your left hand. In the beginning, each interval of holding the instrument may only be 10-15 seconds, but try to gradually increase this time to 1-2 minutes.


  1. Practice making the bow hold with your right hand while your left hand holds the weight of the bow, following the steps listed above. When the bow hold is in place, slowly release the bow with your left hand so that your right hand is bearing the weight. Once you’re holding the bow in your right hand, gradually increase the interval of time you’re holding it from a few seconds perhaps in the beginning to 1-2 minutes.



Charts + Sheet Music + Diagrams




Maryruth BarnettComment