Carefully designed as a temporary teaching aide, any bow holder or helper will assist the beginning string player. This homemade or DIY bow holder offers a good affordable option for assisting beginners with their first bow grips.
The downfall of this bow holder is that you have to remove the frog, so it’s best to have experience in this department. Once the frog is detached you can slide on the pinky holder which is made out of a pencil grip. We tested about ten different finger pencil grips to find one that was flexible enough to fit over the stick of the bow and durable enough to hold up under daily use.
We tested many brands of pencil grips before settling on this one:
The hole provides a visual and physical reminder of where to place the smallest finger AND because you’re making them yourself, you can adjust the location to fit the learner’s hand.
Start by cutting some of the “underside” of the bow, leaving just enough to connect the bow, then determine where your student’s finger should go. Next carefully snip a pinky hole at the location you desire for your learner. With a custom holder you can modify the fit for a learner with a smaller hand!
We found flexible pencil grips to work the best. You’ll also need to remove the frog to place this learning aide on the bow and this works on any size violin bow. As with the pinky holder don’t be afraid to use some cornstarch to slide on the pencil grip.
The bow-grip’s thumb indent, now reinforced with this flexible pencil grip, allows curved and comfortable thumb placement. We found in testing that a very small thumb (ages 3-4 and older learners with a small digits) does not work well with the less expensive option (from oriental trading) and works better with the more expensive option from amazon. Additionally, there is no “bump on top” like expensive name brand bow holders, but many teachers find this bump far too large for a young beginner.
I hope these instructions are helpful and you can use this cost effective violin teacher tool with your learners! Drop a comment if you’d like a how-to video!