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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The idea that's ROCKING MY WORLD!

This idea isn't totally new..I've heard of teachers using a variety of tubular objects for students to practice straight bowing...such as toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, PVC pipe, and even pool noodles (cut into chunks and used with a wooden dowel).  Usually, these types of bowing exercises are done away from the instrument.  For example, young violin/viola students place a tube on their shoulder while bowing inside the tube....cello players sometimes put tubes on their knees and place bows inside.  The reason why I like this 'new' object for practicing bowing is that it can be placed directly on the string for bowing practice without making a bit of it's so soft, there's no way it would damage the instrument. It's the best thing I've ever seen for practicing straight bows!  It would be perfect for an orchestra/strings classroom because students can do this themselves as the teacher monitors...or a teacher could have students practice in pairs (one student holds the tube, the other bows).

Anyway, I'm sure you're getting curious...what is the object that is rocking my world???


They work perfectly for cello students.  The left hand can hold the roller in place as it sits softly on the string while the bow hand practices various rhythms.  You could even have students 'roll' the paint roller to specific strings to practice bow levels.  Why practice straight bows away from the instrument?  This way seems so much more practical.

Violin and viola students might need a person to hold the roller...but there is a way to make the roller stay in place on the string and still be flexible enough to allow students to roll the bow inside the roller to specific strings.  To do this, I used a large rubber band - many of you probably have these large sized rubber bands on hand for shoulder rests.  By putting the band around the violin length-wise, the roller easily slides underneath and will stay put even as students rock to different strings.

I found these rollers a Wal-Mart for $2.97 for a 3-pack.  I plan on buying quite a few of these for my beginners.  There are many ways to make silent bowing more fun.  You could teach simple rhythms and have students practice bowing rhythms...teach bow direction...have students bow silently to fun music/popular tunes for bow exercises.  You could even teach bow distribution using these babies...what a good visual to help students really see how much bow they are using.

So what do you think?  Does this rock your world, too?...or am I just an orchestra geek?


  1. I love this idea! Thank you for sharing.

  2. You can use toilet paper/ paper towel rolls for even cheaper!

  3. Second with paper towel rolls! However, it's not as fuzzy as paint rollers!

    1. Yes...the reason for using paint rollers is to dampen the strings so that students can easily practice straight bowing directly on their instruments without annoying scratches, etc.