“Keep your feet flat on the floor!”
“Lower your shoulders!”
These are just a few of the comments we musicians have all heard in our lives from a music teacher. Throughout the years, my students have asked me, “Why does it matter?” They want to know why it is so important to focus on posture as a musician. For example, does it really make a difference if your legs are crossed when playing the piano? Is it really a big deal if your shoulders are tight when playing violin? The short answer is “YES!” But more importantly, let’s talk about why.
Good posture is the cornerstone of optimal performance for musicians. It allows us to perform at our highest level. The goal for all musicians is to perform using our bodies in the most natural, healthy way. That means bodies should be as free of tension and stress as possible. We have to position ourselves in ways that allow us to have free range of motion, so that we can perform with ease for as long as needed. Unnecessary tension plus repeated motion equals too much stress that can result in injury.
To use an everyday, non-music example: have your wrists ever felt a little sore after typing on a computer for a long period of time? Or maybe your shoulders or neck feel a little sore? This soreness is usually a result of repeated use with unnecessary tension in the body. It’s hard enough to remember to make sure your shoulders, wrists, and neck are consistently loose when typing for a long period. But if your posture is bad (shoulders are hunched, neck is slightly forward and off center, and wrists are bent at a slight level because your chair is not positioned at a good height), your body can’t possibly have free range of motion.
Being off balance requires one side of the body to work harder than the other to keep the body upright. For example, if a vocalist stands with most of their weight on the left side of their body, the right side of their body has to work harder to keep the vocalist from falling over. This causes tension in the body that affects things like the freedom to breathe well, the ease with which the vocalist can sing, and can ultimately prevent the vocalist from performing at their absolute optimal level.
Good performance should FEEL good. The body should feel as much ease as possible, allowing the performer to sing or play for a longer period of time without feeling too tired. So the next time you hear the words, “watch your posture!”; be sure to think about why that is important, and let the “why” motivate you to make good posture a priority in your musical and everyday life!
Tiffany Sullivan – APA Music Director
Registration is OPEN for both our Glee Club and Drama Club! If your child is an aspiring young actor or musician, this is the perfect opportunity to join one of two amazing performing arts clubs we have here at APA!
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