Friday, January 05, 2007

Dounis Bow Twister

One of the ways that Dounis suggests improving staccato playing is through practicing this bowing exercise using the Kreutzer Etude #2. I think that it is one of the most difficult mental discipline exercises I have ever tried. This example shows two of forty-eight different ways of confusing the bow arm with combinations of up-bows and down-bows at the point of the bow, the middle of the bow, and the frog. I have been doing one bowing configuration every day, repeating the bowing pattern for the whole Kretuzer etude, shifts and all. I hope that this kind of practice is building up some kind of coordination between my brain and my bow arm.

I showed it to two of my students. One had as difficult a mental time as I had, but after playing a few measures of her Wohlfahrt etude this way, she was able to breeze through it easily with regular separate bows. My other student took to it immediately, and he got a kick out of the mental challenge. I guess that the term "different strokes for different folks" is operative here.

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