Following a free path
The instrument must be adapted to the player, and not the other way around
The body is our primary instrument. It is therefore necessary to be aware of our body and develop a feeling for how far it is ready to play.
To stand upright, the body needs a certain amount of tension, meaning muscle tension, because of gravity. If a person is well adapted, the effort of maintaining this muscle power is very small and standing is done without effort.
If this is achieved, it is possible to perceive the stability in the lower part of our body (pelvis to feet). The upper body is free from unnecessary tension. Tension often occurs, as a result of lack of ground contact which leads to the unconscious need to stabilise the body.
Prepared and target orientated
This effortless body position is the optimal basic stance. In order to be active and ready to play now, tension is created so that the body feels poised for action, “ready to go”. The front part of the upper body is open in the chest area. The target of our action lies before us.
Holding the instrument
The well-fitted shoulder rest with a suitable chin rest is laid on this chest/shoulder area. Together with the weight of the head on the other side, this creates an optimal stabilisation of the instrument.
Posture comes before movement - flexibility and stability
In order to make flexible, expressive music-making possible, the instrument must be placed in a stable position on the body. The activity of the bow, the left hand and also the player’s need to express himself all create movements which lead to a great deal of disturbance. A stable basic position for the instrument means a reliable environment for playing to occur. The player’s natural tendency to move expressively when playing is based on a stable foundation.
Playing with freedom
If all the above prerequisites are fulfilled, the fingers are now free to move without having to hold the instrument. The path is now open for more secure intonation, reliable position changes and a vibrato capable of modulation.
Playing problems and position
Insecure intonation, a stiff vibrato, unreliable position changes and cramped trills are often caused by an unresolved positional problem.
As long as the left thumb, the left hand and even the arm are holding the instrument, fine motor actions are physiologically impossible.
It is therefore worth examining and optimising the existential basis of upper string instruments.
If you are aware of a continuous feeling of discomfort, tension or even pain, I definitely recommend that you check your basic position and also playing habits.