THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? — Student violinists at different points must choose whether to focus on bowing or the left hand (fingerings and pitch). Quite a few teachers, artists, students, and observers consider bowing to be the primary difficulty and more important than the left hand in order to get a jumpstart on artistry.
I generally disagree, and my studies hinge on that. Intonation and left hand technique are by far the most complex. At the end of the day, any passage of music can be simplified to note-by-note bowing to work on intonation and left hand speed. Bowing can easily be applied second.
With music as a gestalt, however, bowing is also a crucial component. Thus-far, my focus being on securing the left hand has kept bowing on the back burner. In the last few days, I have finally been working bowing studies into my practice program. A mirror is proving crucial, which I have setup in an ideal spot in my practice space.
My biggest goals coming in have included bowing in precisely one spot on the string and not “swimming” or relocating out of carelessness, keeping perpendicular to the string, relieving shoulder and arm tension while improving my posture form, and keeping my chosen bow hold consistent.
One of my greatest surprises and challenges has actually been introduced by Ševčík in double stopping. It is my first real work with double stopping, which proves difficult not just with the left hand (down the road), but also with the bow arm. It's extremely difficult at first to sustain two pitches at once and requires a lot of stability in the bow.
Enjoy viewing my first steps at isolating my bowing…