Finally got myself some bowing lessons!

09/22/12 10:07:20AM

I have only just managed to find someone that I think I can work with in order to progress with my bowed dulcimer. I have noodled around at home for months and became concerned that I might be developing bad habits unawares, so I laid my BD away for a while and started the hunt for a tutor.

The solution came thanks to some lateral thinking. I know a very fine (in fact Champion) fiddle player, who has recently taken the step of trying to make his living entirely by music (both playing and teaching). What I did not know was that he can also teach cello up to grade 4. He is a multi-instrumentalist and a great session player, so I decided he had the kind of skill mix and mindset I was looking for.

Through the summer I have had three lessons with him. We have covered these areas:

Lesson #1

1. Right hand bow grip and correct wrist/arm action for bowing.

2. Correct angle of attack on strings, and finding the "sweet spot" on each string.

We designed a practice regime for me to work on these so that I could build up stamina in the very different set of arm muscles needed, and I came back 2 weeks later

Lesson #2

1. Refresh and check on RH grip and wrist/arm action

2. looked at LH first position and picked out G major scale and G arpeggio

3. Looked at different bowing techniques from staccato chops to slurring runs of notes together.

Again, we agreed a practice regime for me to work on these. Next lesson was a bit later (4 weeks) as he was working in Scotland and then holidaying in Greece

Lesson #3

1. Refresh on bowing techniques

2. D major scales and argeggios

3. Start learning a tune "Da Slockit Licht"

And this is where I realised that I have now got to a stage where I find TAB a distraction rather than a help; so from now on I think I will work from the dots (and/or the ear) and avoid TAB.

So with this structured approach over 2 months I am producing a good tone with my Pardessus most of the time (it is 4 string GDAd chromatic) and I am ready to tackle tunes.

The other outcome is that Jamie my teacher now also adores the BD and wants one!