Bow HAND - GRIP - HOLD - GRASP?, many names have been given to it.
It is VERY important for the violinist to find what works best for her/him in order to succeed in her/his own playing style. Most teachers, teach, what they have learned. They pass on to their students their style of bow hold.
I think there should be room for tolerance. Jaime Laredo said he holds his bow a bit higher on the stick and that his teachers did not insist that he change his hold. This is from his video The Art of Playing the Violin by Jaime Laredo. I think that is tolerance. I try to analyze each student and give them the basic
hold I use and then also allow room for their own physical hand makeup and personality.
Even Leopold Auer said of the bow hand "Only as the result of repeated experiment can the individual player hope to discover the best way in which to employ his fingers to obtain the desired effect".
Of course the very young beginner needs guidance and I personally use for my first year students the beginning hold with the thumb on the outside of the ferule. I think this helps to
develop the muscles in the hand to keep circle of the thumb and middle finger open. I move the thumb inside after I see they have developed a good shape to their hand that is consistant when they play. Since I work with children, they grow,,, and grow,, and grow,,, and I notice that
as they do they seem to change their bow holds slightly. Some of this is due to the fact that while they are little they have baby hands but as they develop into young adults, their hands change in structure, loss of baby fat, etc. I keep a watchful eye on the bow hold.
A bow hold is a means to a beautiful singing tone on the violin. Music and sound are what it is all about.
Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching
Shar Products Co.- only
$60.00 item number H20
Has some excellent advice and visuals to help with learning about the bow hold.
The thumb cushion that is put onto the stick to cushion the thumb and also to protect the stick can be made from leather, either lizard or grain. The lizard tends to wear longer. Some rental violins that have fiberglass bows with them have those nasty plastic thumb grips on the sticks. They tend to slide out of place and are hard surfaced. A pencil thumb cushion can be purchased fom a school supplies store. They come in inexpensive packages.
They are made of foam and you will need to cut them in half. Then CAREFULY remove the frog and slide the thumb cushion up until it is over the them grip cushion already on the stick. This is NOT a replacement for a new thumb cushion by a luthier it is only a means to a softer thicker resting place for your thumb.
These can also be purchased already sized for the violin bow from violin suppliers. To the parents I would like to add. Yes, it is normal for a thumb cushion to wear out during the time you have a violin and it will need to be replaced.