While there’s lots to think about and some rules to follow, our bodies are so different there’s no one-size fits all approach to positioning your chin and shoulder rest. But we think this video by Hilary Hahn provides some useful tips.
‘Posture pointers for String Players‘ from Strings magazine is more than a decade old, but it too remains second to none in providing essential tips for maintaining a good playing position. Here’s a short excerpt:
“Muscles like to be in positions of the least strain and the least effort. Data indicates an increased risk of injury if work necessitates adopting awkward postures, fixed (or held) postures, or stiff body positions. These are undesirable as they load or put stress on joints in an uneven or asymmetrical way. Yet, many times these postures are unavoidable, especially when the nature of work seemingly yields no other options.”
And for those of you with an appetite for – and grasp of – the science of human movement and how it affects string playing, here’s an article from a medical journal that reviews the most common musculoskeletal disorders in professional violinists and violists. Excerpt:
“The main causes of musculoskeletal disorders seen in instrumentalists are overuse, nerve compression and focal dystonia. Pain is the main symptom of overuse lesions and musicians who play string instruments are the most affected.
There are intrinsic and extrinsic factors for these disorders. The relationship between musicians and their instruments is the focal point of ergonomic analysis and biomechanical training, while postural alignment is essential, leading to appropriate neck and hand positions.“