Bow Dough

Maintaining a bow hold that is flexible yet firm can be quite the trick for a young musician!

Teachers often refer to a ‘play-dough’ hand when they work with little children’s bow holds. “Can you make your hand soft like play-dough while you hold your bow?” Referencing a squishy, familiar substance helps little ones to loosen up their bow holds.

We recently made our own squishy dough, and decided to call it “Bow Dough.”

Bow Dough helps remind students to have soft, flexible bow holds.

During our practice sessions, I can pull out the Bow Dough and let my kids knead or play with it for a moment if they are getting tense. I also use Bow Dough to demonstrate what their thumb palm muscle should feel like. If the thumb palm muscle is hard like a rock, I remind them that it should feel soft like Bow Dough.

If the thumb palm muscle feels hard, the bow hold is too tight.

Here’s how to make Bow Dough:

1 – Dump equal parts hair conditioner and corn starch (I started with 1/4 cup of each) in a bowl. The hair conditioner that we used smells SOOOO good, my kids kept smelling it!

Only two ingredients: Hair conditioner and Corn starch.

2 – Mix with a spoon or spatula.

3 – Adjust. If the Bow Dough is too crumbly (dry), add some more hair conditioner. If it looks too much like frosting (wet), add some more corn starch.

Add a bit of either ingredient, according to a wet/dry consistency.

4 – Knead until it forms a flexible ball.

5 – Add food coloring by forming a nest, dropping two or three drops in, and then kneading further.

Create a nest shape.
Add 2-3 drops food coloring.
Fold and knead.

Store Bow Dough in a plastic bag in your child’s instrument case. Bow Dough can double as a stress relief ball before a lesson or performance too!

Bow Dough is fun to make after a Suzuki group lesson.