Always keep the chest up and out for proper breathing. This is the key to correct posture. When you do this, all of the other elements of correct playing posture fall into place:
Feet flat on the floor and straight
Sitting on the edge of your chair
Shoulders back, down, and relaxed
Face to the horizon
To get a feel for this, find a wall that is flat from floor to ceiling. Stand with your back to the wall so that your heels, buttocks, shoulder blades, and the back of your head all touch the wall. Your face must look straight ahead, not up or down.
You will notice that your chest feels much higher up and out than you have felt before. Your shoulders are back, down and relaxed. Your chin feels lower than you would expect with your face looking straight ahead. This is standing up straight correctly!
Now sit in your chair and keep this posture from the waist up. You will find that everything on the list above also happens to keep this posture. It may feel strange at first, but you will play and look much better. When you begin to do this as a habit, you will find that you can sit this way longer with more comfort than any other posture, although you probably won’t believe it at first.
Make keeping the chest up and out the one step for your perfect playing posture!
Copyright Norlan Bewley 1999
A. Playing tight: Hips closed, chest collapsed, throat closed.
B. Playing open: Hips open, chest open, throat open.
A. Playing “tight”, using a conventional mouthpiece in the upper register. This approach, leaning forward in the chair with the head tilted up (blocking the throat) is no longer necessary when playing in the upper register using Monette tuba mouthpieces.
B. Collapsing the chest, blocking the hips, and blocking the throat all inhibit the player‘s natural resonance and make the player “play high on the pitch”.
C. Playing “on center”, with the head over the spine, the chest open, and the hips open in all registers helps the player to produce a more resonant sound, and helps one to better realize the acoustic advantages Monette tuba mouthpieces offer.