Steps for establishing the proper violin and viola standing posture

Step 1: Stand tall with feet together

Step 2: Zip the feet into a "V" position

Step 3: Take a small step with the left foot slightly forward and to the left. Feet should be shoulder width apart.

Step 4: Stand tall, with a little bend in the knees.

Step 5: Rock back and forth between the two feet and feel the transfer of the weight.

I will refer to steps 1 - 5 collectively as the “Zip and Step” procedure.

Foot Charts

To assist young children with the zip and step procedure, the teacher and student can create a foot chart so the student knows exactly where to place the feet. Use a piece of cardboard, or a legal-sized file folder (laminate the folder after making the foot chart for durability). Ask student to stand on the footchart. The teacher traces the outline of the student’s feet in pencil. Ask student to make the “V” and trace their feet again. Finally, ask the student to step out to the left and slightly forward, and trace the left foot. Students can then trace the outline of their feet with colored markers or crayons, write their names on the chart, and stickers, etc. Color the feet positions different colors to help students remember. See Movie X for an example.

Common problems with violin and viola standing posture

1. When the feet are too close together, it makes the player off-balance.

2. If the knees are locked, it creates tension in the lower body and a lack of flexibility.

3. If all of the weight is placed on one leg, it creates issues of balance and tone production.  The most common problem I see is too much weight being placed on the right leg.

4. The feet shift into an unbalanced stance while the student is resting and the student forgets to go through the zip and step procedure when playing resumes. Crossed legs and standing “pigeon-toed” with the toes pointing inward are common problems.

Fixing violin and viola standing posture problems

If your beginning students display any standing posture problems, ask them to return to rest position, and have them go through the zip and step procedure again. It is a promising practice for teachers of beginning students to have them go through the zip and step procedure whenever bringing the instrument to playing position. Intermediate and Advanced students will need reminders to stand correctly.

Maintaining a lengthened and balanced posture that permits weight transfer between the two feet will permit freedom, and flexibility, free from tension while playing the instrument, leading to improved tone production.