There are some ‘body issues’ that are generational, they come and go. One of them is the enormously heavy backpacks students have become all too accustomed to; I don’t believe they were in fashion twenty-five years ago. Although things are beginning to change, packs on wheels seem to becoming more acceptable, the majority of students still carry their books on their backs.
I want to talk today about what happens when one is not carrying a backpack. I’ve noticed when students are sitting-be it in a chair, on the bus, in a car-that their back assumes an ‘as if’ shape; as if it still has a backpack attached to it. They are slumped, their spine is shortened, their neck is tight. This is not good. This collapsed posture effects all of the body, from the alignment of the head and spine, to the breath, to the sense of groundedness.
It is also carried over to the way the young musician stands or sits while playing their instrument-yes, how you sit on the bus is reflected in the way you approach and play your instrument.
So notice-when you don’t have a load on your back, try to feel the base of your spine touching the back of your seat and your spine long. Notice your chest and your breathing. And when you play, before you lift your arm, feel your long spine in the chair.