The Violin Channel recently caught up with respected violin pedagogue Lucie Robert, at the Manhattan School of Music where she provided us some excellent insight into stage posture and balance.
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LUCIE ROBERT | MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC & MANNES COLLEGE | 'STAGE POSTURE & BALANCE'
I would like to speak to you today about stage posture and balance – and the importance of how you feel before you start playing.
I have for more than 25 years sat on the jury of auditions and international competitions and I feel I generally have a very good idea of how you will sound before you play – simply from the way you walk on stage, your body gestures and the way you collect yourself.
Firstly, I would like you to think about when you are comfortable, standing away from the violin and standing with a friend, and how your body feels when you are grounded to the Earth. Make a conscious connection of this feeling, as ultimately when you bring your violin up, it should feel just as natural.
To give you a more concrete idea, let's start firstly with your feet.
Of course wear sensible shoes because if you are not balanced, it will not be comfortable - and this of course will not help you.
I personally prefer the feet to not be parallel, as I feel parallel feet make one feel constricted. I would suggest opening them slightly and figure out what is comfortable for you so you get into your body and not outside your body.
I think locked knees are always a very bad idea, but I think bending your knees constantly is equally as bad as you'll have no sense of balance.
I think a good way to cure locked knees is to slightly rock – a little bit of sideways rocking, nothing rhythmical, just whatever feels natural for you.
Rocking forward is not, in my opinion, a good idea as we have a lot of things we need to do with string crossings and getting around the violin - unless you do it for a specific gesture.
Your hips should not be locked and do not stand on one foot for long periods of time – as this too will cause locking.
Following this advice will hopefully allow your upper body and shoulders to be more relaxed. It will also hopefully help you breathe better, and allow your neck to relax.
Ultimately breathing better will help you feel more comfortable and hopefully more like how you feel in your practice room.