Shrugging and hunching back.

December 5, 2018, 10:41 PM · I've started to develop a bad habit of raising my shoulders and hunching my back when I play passages that are fast or are difficult for me. My teacher pointed it out a while ago and I've been trying to correct myself while I practice, but the issue is I don't notice I am doing it in the moment. It isn't until I finish a passage or two that I realize I'm hunching over. I feel like this will turn into something completely damning if I don't stop it now, but trying to spot it and correct it when it happens isn't working so far.

Replies (6)

December 5, 2018, 10:50 PM · Mirror.
December 6, 2018, 7:06 AM · I sometimes practice while standing on a balancing board. It is almost impossible to hunch when standing on the board.
December 6, 2018, 7:25 AM · How's your vision? Are you leaning into the music stand because you can't see the notes clearly? A prescription for glasses or lenses that let you stand back from the music and still see clearly might help keep your posture upright and open.
December 6, 2018, 9:13 AM · Are you trying to grip the violin with your shoulder? Perhaps a taller chin rest or different shoulder pad might reduce the temptation.
December 6, 2018, 12:05 PM · I’ve tried taller chin rests and shoulder rests and different styles as well, and none of them felt as good as my current set up. I do have poor vision, but this happens whether I’m sight reading or not. If I’m completely honest, it mostly happens when I use vibrato on difficult passages, so I think it’s causing me to tense up. But I don’t tense up when using vibrato on simple things.
December 6, 2018, 7:20 PM · It is very important to play the violin, both sitting and standing, with a straight back.

Here is a simple exercise, without violin, to show why. Stand up straight with a hollow lower back, reach forward with both arms horizontal and straight and then swing them up as high as you can. You should be able to your hands pretty well vertically above your head. Now repeat, but slumped forward with a bent back (you'll be at least a couple of inches shorter), making sure your arms are straight. Notice how difficult it is now to get your hands much above the level of your forehead, and vertically overhead may be impossible.

This illustrates how important an upright posture is for full arm movement, whether standing or sitting. It enables better control and more power to be delivered with the hands and arms. Breath control, so important when playing the violin or any other instrument, will also be at its best.

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