Proper posture is essential for good violin playing. Standing or sitting up straight not only improves tone production and control, but it also prevents injury and discomfort.
Many violin players, however, struggle with their posture, which can lead to poor technique and cause both short and long term injuries. Not to mention you’ll end up looking like Quasimodo.
Poor posture can be a result of many things, such as sitting or standing without interruption for long periods of time, lack of muscle tone in the back and abdominal areas, or bad habits developed over time.
The good news is bad posture can easily be fixed by performing a few simple exercises a day. Below are 10 wacky, but effective, ways to improve your posture for better violin playing and overall health.
1. Swap your desk chair for an exercise ball
Sitting in an office chair or school desk for eight hours a day can wreak havoc on your posture. To prevent you from slouching, swap your desk chair for an exercise ball.
Sitting on an exercise ball strengthens your abdominal muscles, which leads to better alignment of the spine. While you might get strange looks from your colleagues, you’ll enjoy better posture, less stress, and improved violin playing.
2. Duct tape an X on your back
Using duct tape or another thick, non-stretch tape, have a friend tape a giant X on your back starting from one shoulder to the opposite hip. Make sure that you’re shoulders aren’t rounded when placing the tape.
It sounds uncomfortable, but doing this will help retrain your back. If you don’t want to walk around with duct tape on your back all day, start by taping your back during violin practice.
3. Practice yoga moves at home
Not only does yoga help relieve stress, but it can also counteract bad posture. There are many easy yoga poses—such as child’s pose and mountain pose—that will help you stretch and correct the body.
And the best part is you don’t have to attend expensive yoga classes to learn and perform these moves. You can practice yoga in the privacy of your home or practice space.
4. Post photo reminders in your practice space
Print out some pictures that show proper posture and pin them up around your practice space. These pictures will serve as mental reminders to straighten up when you’re practicing the violin.
5. Ditch your shoes
Most people stand with their weight bearing on their heels, which applies unnecessary pressure on your ankles, hips and lower back.
To strengthen your feet— which in turn helps align your body—try going barefoot while lounging around your house or practicing the violin.
6. Set a reminder to adjust your posture
Set a reminder on your phone or watch for every 20-30 minutes to correct your posture. While it may sound a little extreme, overtime you’ll start to see major improvements in your posture and overall violin playing.
7. Stop crossing your legs
Believe it or not, crossing your legs is bad for your posture. The proper way to sit in a chair is to place your feet completely flat on the ground.
Breaking the habit of crossing your legs can be difficult. However, once you practice how to properly sit in a chair, you’ll become more conscious of when you’re sitting incorrectly.
8. Place a pillow in your lap
When you’re lounging on the coach with your tablet or laptop do you ever get a burning sensation that radiates between your shoulder blades? This could signal that you’re hanging your head too low.
To fix this, sit with your back against the rear of your couch or chair. Then place a pillow in your lap to support your arms.
9. Form a posture police
Oftentimes, you don’t even realize that you’re hunching over for hours at a time. Ask your family, friends, and violin teacher to alert you when you’re slouching.
Not only will this help alert you when you don’t notice that you’re hunching over, but it will also help hold you accountable.
10. Go hands free with your smartphone
Your smartphone addiction could be contributing to your bad posture. Most people tilt their head to one side while talking on the phone or slouch forward while texting—all of which leads to bad posture.
To avoid straining your neck while talking on the phone, go hands free with a Bluetooth or earplugs. If you’re texting, bring the phone level with your eyes so you aren’t learning forward.
Whether you’re an advanced or beginner violin player, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to your posture. Use the exercises above to help improve your posture for better violin playing or ask your violin teacher for alternative ways.
Photo by Pawel Loj