"imagine the sound coming from your back"
I had an orchestra teacher who said this a lot and I don't think I fully understand what it means. she said not to overwork your hands and arms when you're playing and to use back muscles instead. because this was addressed to the entire orchestra and not me specifically, I'm not sure if I do play from my back. how can you tell and what are the dangers of not playing from your back?
I think this boils down to good playing posture. If a player is slumped in their seat (bad!) the tone and playing will suffer because the back muscles aren't doing anything. There may also be anatomical and physiological problems (e.g. breathing, for one) in the long term as a result. If you play standing then your tone and playing should be better because the back muscles are being used and you'll breathe better. It's no accident that violin teachers generally teach with the pupil standing. The beneficial results of this should continue if when you play seated you keep your back straight and upright as you do when standing.
We may tend to concentrate on fingers & wrists, blocking the rest of our body. It is worth spending a few minutes a day seeking the "source" of these motions, somewhere between the shoulder-blades.
I think I understand what she's trying to say.
I think especially with orchestra where the body is confined to a chair it pays to think about whether your bowing mechanics are still free. Maybe this is why teachers often advise sitting on the very edge of your chair in orchestra. (Although, I've watched players who sit all the way back in their chairs, and even one or two who actually looked rather slumped in their seats. And we're talking about famous players.)
Was your orchestra teacher a cellist????
my teacher was a cellist, actually
Kato Havas suggests imaginary weights behind the shoulders to balance the weight of arm and instrument.
Unfortunately I don't have to imagine the sound coming from my back - or the smell.
The reason I asked was because as a cellist I "play with my back." On the cello it is very important to use the largest muscles that can play a part in the use of both hands.
The back muscles are also immensely important to the pianist, as are all the muscles of the trunk. See “The Technique of Piano Playing” by József Gát, who discusses posture in great detail not only as regards to technique but for projecting emotional content as well.
I've often wondered if it is all back to front ...
Apparently, it is one of the advantages of a lowish right elbow.
Adrian can you get your friend to cite a source? Normal use shouldn't cause hardening or stiffening of the physical structure of muscle. If your friend is talking about myofascial adhesion, that is theory and not based on any evidence as far as I've read.
Jeewon, I haven't seen him for ages, but he said the muscle fibres themselves change.
Yes violin playing is normal use.
Glad you like them Christian!
In looking at this from the outside as a learner the idea of efficiency, balance and energy expended comes to mind. Much like cracking a whip, the hand needs to maximize the bow movement so that there is always the right amount at the right time in the right place.
What I find most difficult about playing violin is the contrast, or range, called for in composed music, especially when it's sudden.