3 Important Checklists: the Body, the Right Arm, the Left Arm

3 Important Checklists: the Body, the Right Arm, the Left Arm

If you’ve been around ViolinSchool any length of time, then you’ve probably heard us talk about the importance of checklists. For years, we’ve been making the point that the purpose of a checklist is to systemise your behaviour, ideally to the point that it can become automatic.

And when you’re dealing with something as complicated as violin playing (or flying a plane, or carrying out surgery, etc.!) – well, a checklist can come in very handy indeed.

If you’d like a more detailed, non-violin-orientated(!) overview of checklists, then get yourself a copy of The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande – we highly recommend it!

For a few months now, we’ve been handing out three core checklists at the end of our Beginner Violin Classes. And we’re pleased to share these new updated checklists with ViolinSchool members here today.

The first checklist is our full body checklist, which reminds you to keep a good posture at all times when playing the violin. The second checklist considers the right arm and hand, and the third covers the left arm and hand.

VS Members can download all three checklists here, in this printable PDF:

How to use the Checklists

It’s really important for us to internalise the concepts represented on these checklists, until they become so automatic to you that you always remember to carry out each step.

Therefore, a good aim in your violin practice is to refer to the checklists every single time you’re about to play, so that you can reset your body posture. A good strategy would be:

  1. Print out the checklists and keep them visible in your practice area (pin them to the wall? tape them to your music stand?)
  2. Every time you bring your violin towards your body and prepare to play, think through each step on each checklist. Make sure that your body position / posture is correct according to the checklist
  3. Repeat until you are achieving 100% accuracy in your posture / setup
  4. Gradually start to think more quickly through each checklist, until your ‘posture check’ starts to happen instinctively.

If you do this consistently and conscientiously for several weeks, you’ll start to see a good improvement in your posture. And most importantly, you’ll start to set your body position correctly without even thinking about it.

And it’s when that automatic-ness, that automaticity really starts to take hold, that you truly have the freedom to focus on the music… knowing that your body is doing the right thing… even when you’re not thinking about it!

  


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