Up Against a Wall

Teacher was pleased with my bow hold alterations, so we are capitalizing on my ability to change at the moment – a major theme of yesterday’s lesson became corrections to my posture and mechanics of moving my bow arm.  In order to accomplish what she had in mind, we located a bare wall (well, technically we have no bare wall space large enough, so we used a big closet folding door).

Against the wall, I assumed two positions.  The first connects my butt and my shoulders to the wall to feel proper posture – I’m used to doing a similar type of exercise with students in teaching a particular karate stance.  As I’ve mentioned before, due to my physical pursuits you might imagine my posture is great, but it is really not – I’m glad Teacher is spending some time on it.  In addition to proper tone production, proper spinal alignment is important for overall health for all sorts of reasons, and I’m spending a lot of time in violin playing position these days, so I don’t mind the focus on posture at all.

The second up-against-a-wall position is designed to help me feel my bow arm hinging at the elbow, to allow for the proper extension of the wrist as I get to the tip of the bow, and also to allow my wrist to end up in the lead as I move toward the frog on the bow.  Fluidity of movement, yes, but also finding a position that allows the weight of the arm to do the work of “pressing” the bow into the strings.  Using muscle power to press the bow into the strings is a recipe for bad tone.

Finally, now that I’m sort of relaxing decently the thumb side of my fingering hand, I need to better relax the other side of the hand.  I know from practice that this is the hardest part for me – I’m fingering quickly, so in order to accomplish it beginners naturally tense up our hands.  It’s only practice and attentive effort to the exact spot on the hand over time that will allow me to make any progress there!

And I have permission to move onto the second song in Book Three if I want to.  It’s a bit of a cheat – song two in Book Three is a reprisal of a song from Book One that is one of my favorites – in that book Suzuki called it “Minuet Three,” by Bach.  The Book Three version has embellishments – which Teacher says I’ll play during the D.C. repeat only – and it also has two minuets instead of one.  The first is exactly the same as Book One’s, even in the same key, G Major, but the second is a lovely G Minor variation.

So I’m up against a wall, but feeling pretty free.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Julie Libel · · Reply

    this sounds great for your posture Ryan. My chiropractor has hus patients do exercises against the wall for posture as well.

  2. I need to start focusing on it outside of playing the violin as well!

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