One of the most corrected fundamentals in young players is imbalanced posture. Posture helps to establish a solid foundation for string performance. And it’s a good idea to educate your students about this when they are young, so they do not develop bad habits that can lead to strain and injury over time.
Signs of good posture:
- If the student is standing, the feet should be shoulder-width apart.
- The back should be erect, and the weight of the body should be centered.
- The violin/viola should be under the chin and positioned horizontally.
- The student should not slouch in his or her chair.
Many students may use a shoulder rest depending on the length of the neck or body type. In cases where the student’s neck is very short, the use of a shoulder rest may not be advised.
MENC Member Terry Alexander offers some advice on identifying and changing students’ posture: “I think catching them doing correct things in the moment and celebrate by making a big deal out of it when it is correct. I have found that I must state things as many different ways as humanly possible and also come up with games/props, etc. to reinforce my concepts of posture and hand position as many times as humanly possible every day. If I am consistent and persistent the students will become consistent.”
Terry L. Alexander is an Orchestra Director at Mountain View High School and Quail Run and Ironwood Elementary Schools in Tucson, Arizona.
Nicole Springer, June 18, 2008. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education.