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Spent about a half hour, trying to use back muscles instead of shoulder muscles, in the raising of the arm.  At first with open strings with only focus was on the back muscles.  After a while, actually a relatively short period of time, I thought I could hear a qualitative difference in the sound.  The closest comparison that I can think of is when you play a ring tone in tune.  The note did not have an edge to it.  

Then I played the bow line rhythm for Simple Gifts.  Again no thoughts past focussing on using those back muscles.  What I found was: I was not as sore at the end of playing the piece a few times straight through.  I would first hear the tension creep back in, then feel the tight muscles, then told them to relax and restarted to use the back muscles.  My hand felt more relaxed.  And lastly, it was easier to stay on the sound point.  The bow hair seemed to want to stay where I placed it.  

Long story short, I need to make this a daily routine, yes with open strings for now but also integrate this method into all of my playing.  The goal, of course, is to make it automatic in all of my playing without thinking about it.
2 Responses
Posted: December 5, 2018
Last Comment: December 7, 2018

Posted: December 7, 2018
It is a work in progress.  :)))  The more I focus on lifting with my back muscles the more I am discovering how much bad tension I have been playing with.  There are moments where I can hear the difference and feel the good tension of the back muscles.  My plan is to work on using good tension 2 - 4 times a day.  This will form the unconscious habit of using the back muscles quicker and over a shorter time period.  That is the plan for now.

Posted: December 6, 2018
This is incredible. There really is a floating feeling in both arms when I try this! What I notice is that the 'hanging' feeling of the bow arm is lost though. I do use a little arm weight for depth to the index finger and into the string. I'll have to figure this out...