The Bow List CLAWS
Oct 02, 2010
The bow has 5 basic jobs. CLAWS in an acronym to describe those jobs: Contact Point, Length, Articulation, Weight, Speed. The various combinations of those jobs are endless and so therefore musical expression becomes limitless. But having limitless possibilities can seem daunting and overwhelming. That's why I made this simple list.
CLAWS is a a list of tools. Having the list to refer to, I introduce students to each tool. Later - when we're engrossed in discussing how to play the music, we refer to the CLAWS list giving us both speaking terminology, and ways to discuss all the complexities of what to do with the bow.
Here is an example of a typical interaction I have with a student using a crescendo:
Teacher: What can we use from the CLAWS Bow List to make a crescendo?
Student: Weight. We can go light to heavy
(We now practice light to heavy.)
Teacher: What other tool can we use?
Student: Speed. We can go slow to fast.
(We now practice slow to fast.)
Teacher: Believe it or not, there still are 2 more tools.
Student: Length & Contact Point
(We now practice changing the length of bow changing and the contact point moving towards the bridge.)
The example clearly shows that we are able to converse easily having broken down all the different actions into words. Also - practicing the crescendo thinking only of one aspect or tool at a time helps students to learn to control that tool. In reality we end up using a combination of the tools and that's where the individualism of self expression comes through.
The Bow List CLAWS download
by Diane Allen
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