Thursday, May 10, 2007

Putting your best foot forward

We have all heard the expression "put your best foot forward" but
what does that mean in terms of playing in a concert band? It
relates to sitting posture and having the best position that makes it
possible to play your instrument with the least UNNECESSARY muscular
tension. In "Geometry Class" we learned that three points determine
a plane. Those three points are your left foot, your right foot, and
your chair (with your body sitting on it.) You have the most
stability and least effort in balancing yourself and your instrument
if your center of gravity is in the middle of the triangle formed by
your two feet and the center of your chair. It helps if one foot is
slightly in front of the other, but which one should be in front?
The answer is your dominant foot, and there is an easy way to figure
out which one it is. Just be aware for a few days of which foot you
always put out first when you go from standing to walking, or which
foot you put down first when climbing stairs. Then, "put your best
foot forward" when seated and playing your instrument. (Have a close
look at how professional orchestral players sit.) Then, since your
brain doesn't have to do so much "background processing work" to keep
you balanced on your chair, your brain can allocate more of its
resources to the background processing that makes it possible for you
to play your instrument with ease and grace. So... when playing in
the band, "put your best foot forward."

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