French Bow

Step One: Touch the tip of your right thumb to your middle finger between the first and second joint. This is basically how the relationship between those two fingers should look when you are holding the bow.

Step One

Step Two: Have your teacher or a friend hold the bow at the tip and frog in a horizontal position in front of you with the hair facing down. Be careful not to touch the hair.

Step Three: Start with your right hand relaxed at your side. Then, while maintaining that relaxed feeling in your hand, raise it up and place your fingers, palm down, in the middle of the bow. You should feel the stick touching your first three fingers somewhere just in front of the second joint. Your pinky will be touching the stick closer to the first joint or tip.

Steps Two and Three

Step Four: Slide your hand toward the frog and stop when your middle finger reaches the point where the frog meets the stick.

Middle Finger Placement

Step Five: Gently curve your fingers over the bow. You will know you are in the right spot if the tip of your middle finger is touching the point where the hair meets the metal part of the frog or the ferrule. Do not allow your index finger to wrap around the stick and only gently touch the bow with your other fingers. For the teacher: For smaller hands, it may not be possible to touch the point where the hair meets the frog. In this case the tip of the middle finger should stay suspended above that spot until the student’s hands get bigger. Do not force the bow into the palm of the hand in order for the student to have contact with this point, and do not allow the student to wrap his/her finger around the stick either. This will only restrict flexibility in the fingers of the right hand.

Steps Four and Five

Step Six: Place the tip of your arched thumb in the corner where the frog meets the wood of the stick. Your thumb should not be placed inside of the frog or directly under the stick. The tip of your thumb should have contact with the stick and the frog. Always remember to keep your thumb arched.

Thumb Placement

Step Seven: Now carefully take the bow away from your teacher or friend. Try not to clutch the stick too much, but hold it just enough so that it will not fall. You never want to clutch the stick so hard that it causes you pain or tires you out too fast. You should always try to hold it as effortlessly as possible. Hold the bow as if you are holding a baby bird. You do not want to hold it so tightly that you crush the bird, but you want to hold it firmly enough so that you do not drop it.

Step Seven
Relaxed Hold