Shadow Bowing as a Precursor to the Bow StrokeThe 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.
For violin and viola, the students learn forearm movement from the elbow. Opening up the arm from the elbow while keeping the upper arm relatively still is essential for straight bowing.
For cellists and bassists, this activity promotes the pronation and supination of the wrist while keeping the shoulder still that is essential for straight bowing.
You'll need a tube for this activity. Obtain an empty toilet paper roll, cut an empty paper towel roll in half, or roll up a piece of paper. 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.
Place the bow into the tube.
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 patters with words.
Remember to review the bow hold frequently throughout the Shadow Bowing activity.