Posture when Playing There are many aspects that a musician must consider when playing an instrument. First of all, a musician must not strain his neck muscles when playing for long periods of time. Having to support the approximately 15-pound head constricts the muscles in the neck and shoulder area, obstructs blood flow and compresses surrounding nerves, many of which extend down the arm. Over time, this tension can bring on disc or nerve problems, headaches, and eye strain. Secondly, it is essential to sit in the position of least strain. If a musician bends, turns, or twists the torso area, or leans forward or backward, he or she strains all the muscles and tendons in the back and stresses the spine. When playing on the A string, cellists are tempted to turn their bodies towards the right side, inevitably twisting the torso. Violinists may have a tendency to arch the backs and lean back. In addition, when players feel tired, they often slump. These postures produce more work for the body because they are unnatural, and holding an unnatural position requires sustained muscle tension. Thirdly, holding arms up for long periods of time is absolutely required to play theinstruments, but too much of this is harmful. Holding arms away from the body at or above shoulder level for long periods of time is tiring and invokes a position of strain when maintained. Good posture involves keeping shoulders relaxed and down.
Piano : Strings or Percussion? Strings? Percussion? Much controversy has arisen over whether the classical piano, a necessary instrument in most ensembles, should be considered a string or a percussion instrument. Those who favor strings argue that the sound produced by the piano originates from the piano strings, and all string instruments produce sound specifically from one or more vibrating strings. However, those who favor percussion hold that the method of playing a piano differs radically from that of any other stringed instrument. Whereas the player of any other string instrument directly manipulates the strings of all other instruments, the player of the piano manipulates keys that cause hammers to strike the piano strings.