Article: Good Bowing, by Mozelle Bennett

Here’s an article by violinist Mozelle Bennett from the March 1922 issue of The Violinist.


For the solo violinist who hopes to step “over the top,” I would offer a few suggestions. Although he already knows, he probably does not realize just how much a few little points, which have been discovered by the great masters mean to the young artist.

During my study in Eugene Ysaye’s Master Class he often repeated – “Good bowing counts seventy-five percent in violin playing.” Learn to use the point of your bow and change the bow without twisting it at the point. Practice scales making a crescendo at the point.

Practice playing on the opening strings – G – D – A – E – with one stroke of the bow, using most of the bow on the G string, making a crescendo at the point, then back again on the E – A – D – G, using most of the bow on the E string, and keeping the bow so close to the next string that it finally is impossible to detect when the bow changes strings.

Then practice the G major and G minor scales in the first position with the same bowing, holding down the fingers very firmly on the first string until the first note on the next string has been played.

All of the scales should be practiced, carefully following these suggestions, and a perfect legato will be the result.

Good Bowing, I have discovered in my concert work, is one of the greatest secrets of success.


Filed under Not My Writing, Women Violinists

6 responses to “Article: Good Bowing, by Mozelle Bennett

  1. Suzanne McCarthy

    I ran across your post while doing research on my former violin teacher, then known as Mozelle Bennett Sawyer, with whom I studied from 1963-1970 in Traverse City MI. Do you know her memoir, “Joy Fills My Heart”? It’s full of fascinating stories of her studies and performing career. After many years, I recently took up my violin again and have been trying to learn more about her. I wish I had appreciated her more during the time I was taking lessons.

    • I don’t know her memoir! I will need to look it up. Thanks so much for your comment. Best of luck with your studies!!

      • Mozelle Sawyer Bell

        My name is Mozelle Sawyer Bell, and Mozelle Benneett Sawyer was my mother. I’d be very happy to answer any questions about her. My e-mail is
        I went to Interlochen five summers in high school and before I went to Eastman. I knew I didn’t want to be a professional musician. After one year, studying violin with Jacques Gordon, I transferred to Michigan State College, where I was concertmistress my sophomore year. Then I graduated in Spanish and English. I got an M.A. in Spanish at the University of Minnesota when our three childeren were in high school and college.
        I live in St. Petersburg, Florida, and I play in the Tampa Bay Symphony. In the 196os I played in the Minneapolis Civic Orchestra, before Honeywell transferred my husband to Florida.
        I edited my mother’s book, Joy Fills My Heart in 1976. She mailed me chapters in longhand, and I typed them and had the first edition printed here in St. Petersburg. I just looked on page 196 at the list of some of her pupils. The only Suzanne I see is Suzanne Beers. I’d love to hear from you.
        It was such fun to find this article that my mother wrote after studying with Eugene Ysaye for two years. I’d never seen it before. I was Googling her and found it in the June 2011 issue of Song of the Lark.
        From the May 2011 issue I found Ruth Posselt, who was my teacher in Florida, listed as premiering six works for violin in the 1940s. I told her daughter, Diana Burgin, whose father, Richard Burgin, was concertmaster of the Boston Symphony many years. Her mother was soloist with them many times.

  2. I am currently enjoying “Joy Fills My Heart.” I am related to the Rubel and Oler families talked about in the memoir and I cherish the stories of Mozelle’s experiences with my ancestors. Originally I picked up the book just to read about them, but find that I am enjoying the entire story anyway. It’s a real historic account.

    • How nice to hear from you. I’m Mozelle Bennett’s daughter, Mozelle Sawyer Bell. Imogene Rubel Oler was a good friend of my mother’s at the Cincinnati Conservatory. She married Wesley Oler and lived in New York. We visited the Olers there when I was nine years old. Wesley’s sister, Bessie Oler, was also a good friend of Mother’s. We stayed at the Olers’ home in Larchmont. happy to the Larchmont m

      • I remember Imogene and Vere, just barely from meeting them a few times during my childhood. The photographs in your mother’s book are ones I’ve not seen. I have a few of my own in a trunk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s