The Bow Stops Here

The-Bow-Stops-Here Cover 2How Anyone Can Achieve Energized Anxiety-Controlled Perfection in Any of Life’s Performances

Mary Smale presents an amazing practice method – developed by Charl Ann Gastineau — that promises anxiety controlled perfection in performance — any performance — from the more active performing in martial arts, or sports, or drama, or dance, or on a musical instrument, to more sedentary performances in mathematics or art. This book covers both.

In chapter one, Gastineau meticulously describes how an average student can attain anxiety free perfection in practice which leads to anxiety controlled perfection in performance. The key is connecting the focus to the muscles for the active practices, and the focus to the pictures in your brain for the more sedentary activities.

In the mid 80’s her sister, Mary Smale – the author — began using a version of the method to attain perfection in her martial arts practices, which eventually lead her to attain black belts in four different styles of martial arts and eventually lead her to win seven open black belt kata divisions after the age of 50.

In the 90’s Smale began using yet another version of the method in her middle school math classes. And eventually she used it in her math-lesson performances on the popular television show, Homework Hotline on KLCS in Los Angeles.

Additionally, Smale examines Extreme High Anxiety (EHA) in different scenarios, from the stage fright of the performer, to the EHA of the victim.

The book also contains Q and A sections in which the most frequently asked questions about the method are answered.


“…Charl Ann was right! It really doesn’t take four-to-six hours of mere practice, it takes centered attention on what our hands and fingers are doing – focus, dedication, and clear, concise Stop Bow. Though this may seem tedious, practicing this way makes the most difficult passage of a concerto seem effortless.” Tara Gillaspy

“The Stop Bow Method was what really carried me from a basic knowledge of a piece to a confident mastery of the piece. I was learning Mozart’s A major concerto with the Stop Bow Method. The technical difficulties and transparency of the piece were a new challenge for me, but through careful, slow practice with this method, the difficulties of fast passage work and high notes lost their intimidation factor completely. I really felt that I truly could learn and perform anything, even the hardest pieces in the violin repertoire.” Rebecca Tseitlin

“The difficult passages were no longer difficult because the student could go as slowly as needed and simply play one note at a time… Under the high pressure of a fiddling competition, where the competition was stiff, using Stop Bow was a must. From the foundation of perfect, slow, consistent Stop Bow practices came the ability to play quickly and flawlessly during those high-intensity performances. .. I now teach violin and every new song is learned with Stop Bow only.” Morgan Gillaspy

“Slow and accurate playing forces you to engage your mind and mentally concentrate on what you are doing which leads to faster and deeper learning.” Dr Harry Cozen

“At the time, I thought Stop Bow lessons were simply torturous, painful and just plain cruel. Every lesson ended with sore fingertips and pure frustration. But I learned that if I wanted to learn a piece well, the most effective way was by stopping every bow stroke and making sure every note was captured. My lessons forced me to be accurate at every moment.” Melodie Arbaban-Ghafouri

“If you don’t have much time to practice, then you’d better make the most of the time you do have. The Stop Bow practice ensures that every note will be perfect then, and later as well.” Asher Smith

“The method taught my son to be deliberate and exacting in his playing. It taught him discipline, both in timing and intonation, which was something not often seen in young fiddlers.” Richard Giacopuzzi

“Using the Stop Bow Method ensures that the time spent practicing is quality time which ultimately results in beautiful music.” Eva Masarang

“I wish I had had the Stop Bow Method to use in my singing and guitar work. Over time, I developed so much performance anxiety that I quit playing in public.” Michael Leppert