You & Your Cello Bow: Connection & Care

During my enforced temporary break from the cello I've had lots of realizations: One of the biggest is how hugely important the bow is to music making in a multi-dimensional way. Of course it is a fine instrument in and of itself. It requires a lifetime of study and attention. But the true magic of the bow comes from truly feeling it with incredible sensitivity and care...it lives and breathes. It will do anything that your heart feels if you learn how to use it and combine that with the wonderful sense of touch and hearing that we are gifted to have. And lastly, imagination: wherever you go in your mind, whatever you dream...there is a sound that can be painted with the bow to match it. Can you find that sound? This is the amazing journey of the bow... - April 29th's facebook status by Steve Balderston, cellist and Professor of Cello at DePaul University

So true. So true. Thank you for the wonderful reminder and insight! 

All the time I see students holding their emotions, worries, stress inside their body which changes their cello's sound. For example, a student may be nervous about m54 from the very beginning of a piece. This anxiety has physical consequences which directly affect how their bow makes their cello sound during the entire piece. Even general stress and anxiety from life can change how your bow/body interacts with the cello. Believe me, I know!

Love, happiness, and fulfillment can easily flow through your arm, into the bow, and out of your instrument when your body allows it. Even nervous energy, stress, anxiety, and worry - although usually unpleasant experiences at first - can have a beautiful sound if released into the cello with the right sensitive and caring touch. (Often times, these sounds end up being my favorites!)

How does one do this? My best advice (today) is to acknowledge what's going on inside and then breathe through whatever you're working on. Consciously releasing "it" into the instrument via breath can have some wonderful results!