Cellists should sit towards the front of the chair with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. The torso should be fully lengthened. The lower half of the leg should make a 45 degree angle with the upper leg, with the feet under the knees. Many cellists advocate a larger angle. The cellist should sit with a lengthened torso, broad shoulders, and a floating head. The size and style of the chair obviously becomes critical for establishing the correct cello posture.
For back comfort, it is important to sit with the hips higher than the knees. For this reason, many cellists like a chair that slopes to the front. There are special cushions and chairs designed especially for cellists. Some cellists raise the back legs of a chair with a prop. What you don't want to see is a cellist sitting back in a chair that slopes to the back. This will place the knees higher than the hips and may lead to back pain.
Stools are available that are appropriate sizes for children (Image 2).
If the endpin is extended to the correct length, the cello should be about chin height when student stands (Image 3).
When setting the endpin for the first time the teacher should assist. Ask the student to hold the cello by the neck or upper bouts. The teacher adjusts the angle of the cello so the C-peg is behind and below the left ear and the student’s knees are contacting the lower bouts. The teacher then loosens the endpin screw and extends the endpin until it reaches the floor. Once the contact point with the floor and the correct length have been established, set the endpin anchor length and place the endpin in the anchor (Image 2 and 4). Use a permanent marker to make a line on the endpin for future reference.
Once the endpin is marked and the anchor is set to the correct length, students can easily set up themselves. After removing the instrument from the case, students should lie the cello on its side to extend the endpin, or place the cello on their laps facing up with endpin to the right and pull the endpin out to the mark (this will be approximately the full reach of the right arm).
Cello should contact at three points:
1 and 2. Both knees should touch the side by lower bouts.
3. The students' chest should touch top of cello back at around the sternum height. The cello generally sits at a 45 degree angle to the body, but this angle may be adjusted so the C-peg sits behind and below the cellist’s left ear and the top of the cello contacts the student’s body at a comfortable place on the chest.
See Image 4 for correct cello placement and contact points.
Two games to play:
Have student place arms around and hug the cello. Rock back and forth.
Place hands on side of fingerboard and flap your wings.
Watch for common problems with cello posture and instrument position:
CELLO INSTRUMENT POSITION