In this game, the student forms an L with the right hand and places the right hand thumb against the corner of the fingerboard, plucks the string with the index finger, and follows through with a full elliptical bowing motion. Rolland called this game “flying pizzicato.” The purpose of the game is to begin developing flexibility and the awareness of the body motions involved in bowing. Movie X demonstrates this game. Note the placement of the thumb when playing pizzicato.


The purpose of shadow bowing is to learn how to make the correct arm movements with the bow and learn how it feels to move the bow before we get the instrument involved.

I like to use a dowel and a tube of foam pipe insulation for this activity. Dowels can be purchased in an arts and crafts supply store, and pipe insulation can be purchased in a hardware store. Cut the pipe insulation into 6 -8 inch segments. You can also do this activity with the bow and an empty toilet paper roll or empty paper towel roll in half, although the bow tends to wander a bit in the tube. Violins and Violas should hold the tube with the left hand and place it on the left shoulder. Cellists and bassists hold the tube in the left hand in front of their bodies.

Play rhythmic patterns with the bow. Put on a recording, and play along. Use students names for rhythmic patterns. For example, "My name is Michael Hopkins" is a rhythm that can be played with the bow. Let the kids make up rhythmic patterns with words.

Remember to review the bow hold frequently throughout the Shadow Bowing activity.

The movie above presents pizzicato with bowing motion and shadow bowing activities.