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Welcome to my site, about all things violin and viola. Here you will find interesting tips and pointers, and thoughts about playing these beautiful instruments.

4 Sep 2012

Candle imagery

Here's a relaxation exercise you might like to try, to experiment with your posture.

Stand with feet hip width apart.  Check that your knees aren't locked, and you feel relaxed and comfortable.

Now imagine your body is a warm candle, wax melting thickly down through your body.  Your shoulders are melting down through your hips, hips through your knees, knees through your ankles... and down through your feet into the floor.  Everything is heavy and sinking down through the body through the floor.

On top of your shoulders, your head is the candle flame... floating up from your body, weightless.  Try not to stretch your neck up.  Just let it float up weightlessly,  perhaps slightly wavering in a gentle breeze.

  1. Are both sides of your body melting evenly?
  2. Are there any places the wax hardens?  Can you soften this area?
  3. How or where is the weight balanced through your feet?
  4. Can you find a place (gently rocking back and forward) where you don't need to tense any muscles to stay balanced?

Now try and lift your arms up and down to their position when playing.  Imagine your heavy, wax dripping arms are being lifted by puppet strings attached to your wrists.  Try experimenting with how this feels, where do you stay relaxed, and where do muscles tense... How easy can this action feel?

Lastly, try this out with your instrument.  Is it possible to hold your violin or viola easily in that balanced position?  Can you lift the instrument without tensing your shoulders or neck?

  1. Do you need to move the balance point through your feet?
  2. What muscles are you using to hold the instrument up?
  3. Are there any areas you can feel tensing that you might not need to use?
Try it out... and let me know if you find anything interesting.  

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