Cello Posture & Instrument Position
Thanks for watching our video on cello posture! In this video, we take a closer look at a topic from our very first cello video.
Cello playing position is important to get right, both so that you have the right mechanical advantage to play cello well and so that you don’t end up playing in a way that could cause yourself harm or injury.
The basic idea behind cello posture is that everything above your waist is the same as it is when you are standing comfortably, just with your legs and hips bent.
This means a more upright posture than typical sitting, where the chest is more out and the hips are more rolled forward. Although this is a more “active” way of sitting, with time it should come to be easy to sit for many hours this way.
As a result of the need for good posture, having a good chair to sit on is really important. You want your knees to be a little below your waist, not 90 degrees.
This way, your feet can comfortably be flat on the floor in front of you, and your knees at the right height on the side of the cello body to help move it around and keep it in position.
The cello itself, as a reminder, rests at about a 20 or 30 degree angle to your body, with the top of the body of the instrument resting between your solar plexus and collar bone.
A good chair will be flat (though lightly cushioned is fine) with no armrests. If your only option for the moment is a chair with arms or that has a curvature to it, sit as far on the edge as possible.
Orchestra chairs are designed in a way to accommodate all players, and sometimes a special cello chair is used, which is raised slightly higher and has a slope to it.
The slope is to help rotate your hips forward and sit properly. One way to help accommodate different chairs is to use a seat wedge, also called a cello seat cushion.
You’ll want it to be as hard as possible so that the slope stays effective. You can go to http://www.celloseatcushions.com/ to check out some really good custom cello wedges.
Find a good chair for yourself at home. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. I like to use a stool that happens to be the right height for me. Height is an important factor because it influences how your knees sit.
Too short a chair and you won’t have enough room for your legs, but too long and you won’t be able to control it with your knees/get the right angle as easily.
For this reason some people sell adjustable folding chairs. These are good if you have several players in one home, or are having trouble finding a chair the right height for you.
The most important thing to remember about developing good posture from the get go is that while the advantages to your playing might seem abstract as you struggle to learn the fundamentals, the risk to your physical health is not.
It is very easy while moving repetitively and asymmetrically to seriously and even permanently do harm to your back, arms, wrists, or more. But correct posture will allow you to be relaxed while playing, which will help you play loudly, freely, and with good sound and intonation.
For a while in the old days, cello didn’t have an endpin. Instead, it was held between the legs. Eventually endpins replaced this, as they allow much greater freedom of motion and control.
Today, you can get several different types of endpins, and getting one that helps you have the right height, and is the right weight, are important from the get go. Later on, you may experiment with different setups for better sound production and resonance.
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