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I'm sure many of us musicians have heard the 'don't force the sound out', 'stop the tension' teacher quotes. Yet will simply relaxing produce that clear, sustained, non-flautando sound? Perhaps. For me, that only does a portion of the trick. Because alas! Sometimes we relax too much and end up playing French music. The other half consists of my own awareness towards my natural weight, how I'm catching the string and my bow control. All basic stuff that we often forget - too easily.
Alright let's expand on these ideas.
Quite often I remember bow control when I observe great players performing live. (Usually my senpais - colleagues /classmates / older 'brother' and 'sister' in Japanese) I notice when they begin playing or stop a note they don't just sloppily take the bow off the string. instead they know exactly which part of the bow they are using and place the bow purposefully. While it hits the string gently, you'll find it's gripped on like magnet - it attracts naturally, no need for added pressure. When they draw the bow across, the grip is still there, felt by the input of your natural body weight.
To be honest, it's difficult to put the feeling into words as you really need to be aware of your own body and 'feel' it.
Nevertheless I hope you get what I mean sometime during your next practice session!
I was never told exactly how to gradually intensify a note (and vice versa). Naturally I adapted to using 'hard' pressure. Tense force from my shoulders were transferred into pressure from bow to string. It felt great when the sound became louder and I felt totally in control.
After a period of studying in London, I'm slowly realising other ways of doing a simple crescendo without potentially injuring myself (due to constantly creating unnecessary tension).
All you need to do is relax, place the bow on the string (and just that! Be conscience you're not 'preparing' such a simple movement - you might realise you're doing all sorts of shoulder lifts / head stretches / heel lifts / etc. which is totally unnecessary - unless you can prove otherwise), choose a slow speed to start the bow off with, then gently increase the speed of the bow - not pressure.
So far I've found it miles easier than all the 'moving to prepare making an increase of loudness' / 'serious forceful powerful flair' - you know what I mean. (Right?) My sound has become much more resonant and it's a lot easier to make a louder sound too!
Anyway, of course I don't believe you should cut out all pressure altogether, but (as with all areas of violin playing) learn how to use the element and not just have it come out because of old habit - make use of it to create a colourful and vibrant palette!
Now...back to learning the basics. *smiley face*
So this isn't exactly a 'violin lesson' post. It's musical problems/lifestyle theme inclined. Something I suddenly felt an urge to write a quick note about - for myself and for you.
As the title suggests, I'm going to be briefly mentioning the problem with memory slips. And what you could do about it. Small and big ones.