We play the cello sitting. Not standing. Obvious, isn´t it? But what´s the difference between sitting and standing?
The answer is alarmingly simple: We fold our legs. That´s it. By doing this the weight of our body is shifted from the feet to the butt.
„Sitting“ is „like standing – just on the butt.“
Let´s make a reality check: How does sitting with the cello feel like for you? Some cellists – especiallly those with a bent endpin – seem to be lying under their cello.
Your supporting basis – your fundament – as you sit is your pelvis.
Experiment on yourself:
Stand up on both legs – just normal. Think: “I´m now standing on my feet. Soon I´ll be standing on my pelvis.” Then fold the three joints of the legs (hips, knees, ankles) and “stand on your butt”. Does that result in a different way of “sitting”?
Stand up again – thinking: „I´m sitting down to play the cello – as always.” How is this different?
Playing and experimenting with this two versions is absolutely worth it. And if you video yourself doing it I´m sure you´ll gain precious insights!
The most important joints for cello playing:
The hip joints are crucial for cello playing. Why? Without them we couldn´t even sit down. Furthermore we would be condemned to immobility. And I don´t want to even image what that would sound like. The hip joints connect legs and torso. If they can move freely they enable us to have ground contact, they are a relief for our spine – and even the breathing frees up.
In short: hip joints are central, crucial and an astonishing design of the evolution – and so incredibly underestimated.
Therefore I urge you: Declare the following two weeks as “weeks for the freedom of hip joints”.
It will boost your wellbeing in cello playing and they simply deserve to be appreciated every single day!
Our phantasies about WHERE they are actually located are often quite clouded. That´s why we often accidentely mis-use other parts of our bodies for the folding movement that are not designed to do so.
Locating the hip joints:
Stand up and sit down again. What is the hinge you use for that movement?
Does it look similar like this?
Stand up again. Palpate along the front bony edge of your pelvis (pubic bone) until you reach the groin.
In this area our hip joints are located – the hinge designed for folding. Take your time until you have realised this new information.
Now release your buttocks and sit down again. How is the movement different? Is your sitting different?
Most people are now sitting more upright with less tension. They are literally standing on their pelvis which is easily upright. They are more in balance which results in less muscular effort for being upright.
If you now transfer this to the cello you will definetely have to adjust the length of your endpin.
This is an intermediate phase!
Play with this ideas – preferrebly without the cello. Observe your gorgious hip joints throughout your day – as you walk, sit in the train or put on your shoes. Where can you apply this newly discovered freedom? You can already apply it to the cello – if it disturbes you – don´t worry! In this learning phase the most important part is having joy with the roundness and ease in this central area of your body in everyday life!
We need it for a great sound. The next blog will make this connection! Don´t miss it!
Until then: Happy Hip-Joints!