While there’s lots to think about and some rules to follow, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to positioning your shoulder rest. So, we asked Osteopath Sebastien De Sa Neves Da Rocha for his advice on how to play in a relaxed and safe way. In this video he shares how his professional expertise helps him in his own musical practice.

For advice on how to find the setup that is right for you, we think Hilary Hahn provides some useful tips.

Posture pointers for String Players‘ from Strings magazine is more than a decade old, but it 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.