Summer Violin Lesson 2 – Rocking the Bow

Lesson 2 – Rocking the Bow!

Hope you enjoyed spending a bit of quality time with your violin last week! You should be feeling more comfortable handling your instrument by now.

Violin Lesson 2 – Rocking the Bow! just went live on YouTube. Head on over to the channel and check it out. If you watch closely, you’ll even get to see my kitty, Macchiato in the background. 🙂

Lesson 2


  1. You can still turn in your Lesson 1 worksheet by email or just check your work with the Answer Key.

  2. Keep practicing “Bird Landing on Shoulder” to establish excellent posture habits!

  3. How is the Rocket Ship bow hold game working for you? We will learn a new bow game next week!

Bowing on Open Strings

Bowing Open Strings

Now that you are familiar with the different parts of the violin, bow, and how to hold them, let’s play! The first step is to learn how to produce a nice solid tone from each of your open strings. I’m guessing you’ve probably gotten curious and already tried to pull the bow across those strings. Did you like how it sounded!? Most people envision cat fights, chalkboards, and the like when they first try to get a nice sound out of their violin. Be patient with yourself! Put some time in with these exercises I’m going to give you and you will be sounding great!

Exercise 1:

Give me a nice full bow stroke, starting from the frog and traveling to the very tip/point of the bow. Practice bowing in front of a mirror as it is very natural to bow in a bit of a U shape. Ideally, the bow will travel parallel, in between the bridge and the fingerboard. Repeat these bow strokes 10x daily on each of the open strings.

Airplane Wing

Have you noticed the bow bumping the other strings while you’re playing? Learning the angle of each string will help you produce a clean tone on each individual string. This is a muscle memory exercise, pause on each string for a second and memorize how it feels.

Exercise 2:

Much like an airplane flying through the sky, tilt your arm to a new angle for each string. You will notice the G – String is much higher than you would expect (watch that Right shoulder though, it should stay down and relaxed). The E – String is pretty relaxed, your arm almost hangs at your side as it normally would.

Sustain Bow

Bow control is key to playing the violin well. At this point, bowing probably still feels pretty awkward to you. That’s okay! But we want to get you comfortable and confident sooner rather than later. Depending on how much weight (from your arm, hand, shoulder) you rest into the string, you may get scratches and crunching sounds from the strings. Finding the right balance of weight/support, heavy/light bow is what makes a clean bow stroke.

Challenge: See if you can keep a solid tone from frog to tip, sustaining the bow for 30 seconds.

Open String Notes on the Staff

Reading the Open Strings on the Staff

Many people are very intimidated by learning to read sheet music. Honestly, all it takes is a bit of memorizing, repetition, and diligence. I have taught many people to read music efficiently in one month’s time. The music staff is made up of just 7 letters of the alphabet, repeated in a stairstep sequence. For now, we will just learn the location of the Violin Open Strings on the treble clef staff.

  • The music staff is made up of 5 lines and 4 spaces.

  • The Treble Clef (or G – Clef) is similar in shape to the letter S.

  • Ledger Lines are a way of extending of the staff, much like an extension ladder.

There are several music clefs, but we will just be learning the Treble Clef staff because the Violin is a Treble Clef instrument. Does this still sound intimidating? 🙂 5 lines, 4 spaces, ledger lines, one clef, 7 letters of the alphabet? Let me know in the comments if this still sounds intimidating to you. If so, I’d love to know why!

Here are the Flashcards for the open string notes: Open Strings Flashcards Lesson 2 Worksheet

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