Showing posts from May, 2016

Making Subtle Changes In Direction

I'm a novice violin player. It's pretty difficult for a beginner to get any decent kind of sound out of a violin, so any time I make a step forward, it's usually accompanied by a gratifyingly audible change in my playing.

Lately I've been amazed at how thinking differently about the direction of the bow has made a really dramatic improvement in my sound.

Last summer I took a week's worth of workshops from Andrea Larson at Ashokan Northern Week. One thing she had us practice was, on an upbow, imagining shooting the bow over our shoulders. Normally I think of "drawing" the bow as a sort of rubbing action that involves more downward pressure on the strings. When I use the "shooting" idea, the direction of my effort is more across than down. The incredible thing is that to make this change in my sound, I barely have to do anything - I just have to remember to think about it.

We have a lot of similar ideas in aikido. One example is used in a techniqu…