Control: Flexibility/Balance

  • To find a balanced and flexible bow hold natural to the individuality of your own hand.
  • To unlock stiffness and rigidity in your bow hold.
  • To balance your bow, enabling control of strokes, nuance and articulation.
  • The need to hold the bow with a tight grip results from a lack of organization, balance and flexibility. If your bow grip is tight, don’t be afraid in the undoing process to temporarily feel loss of control. The exercises in the video will help you so that you don’t have to hold on for dear life!
  • Every fine cellist will tell you that subtle changes in their bow hold have evolved over many years of continual experimentation. Balance, flexibility, organization and comfort are all interrelated goals; the smallest change can make a huge difference in the execution of articulations, sound production and in expressive control.
  • Increased tactile sensitivity provides you more control in your music making.  Feel the frog with your finger pads.
  • Placing your finger pads on the bow, demonstrated in Bow Hold Principles Part 1, will also help you find better balance.
  • Pay particular attention to your thumb to make sure that you’re not squeezing.
  • Balance requires flexibility. Flexibility requires balance.
  • A looser, more flexible bow grip will change the feel of all bow strokes and bow changes. These strokes do not always instantly and automatically sound better. Use your ear to guide the new motion and find the sound you want. Subtle differences in inflection and articulation become possible, but the ear and imagination must search and ask the hand for them.


A tight bow grip blocks agility, sensitivity to touch, and hence, nuance and color. Paul Katz

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