Instrument and Left Hand Position

Standing and Sitting

  1. Stand with feet shoulders length apart
  2. Pretend to grab two hairs on your head and pull them up towards the ceiling. Use a helium balloon-head analogy to encourage the head and shoulders to float.
  3. Float down onto the front half of the chair (or bass stool).
  4. Stand or “float” back up, and sit or “float” back down several times, and finally sit like you are ready to stand. Practice standing and sitting with same feeling
  5. Use the tripod of support--"Sitz bones" and two feet—to support the spine and head.
  6. Have students “march” while sitting to feel the lower legs perpendicular to the floor
  7. Assessment: Students correctly demonstrate floating up and down from their chair.

About the Chair: Chair should be high enough to create a right angle at the knee. Hip must not be lower than the knee. A chair that is a little too high is better than too low.

Instrument and Left Hand Position

If you teach heterogeneous classes, and most of us do, have students have lower strings do worksheets while you work with violins/violas, then switch.

  1. Model the set up routines below; students follow the teacher’s lead.
    1. Violin and Viola Position and Worksheet
    2. Cello Position and Worksheet
    3. String Bass Position and Worksheet
  2. On subsequent days, take students through the routines while walking around the classroom to correct problems; expect students to follow the routine with increasing independence.
  3. Copy and distribute the above worksheets to the students. Review the checklist points and ask students to make connections between the set up routines and the points on the checklist.
  4. Assessment: Use the worksheets like a checklist to test the students. Pair up students and have them test and help each other.