Posture for the Tuba Player
Playing the tuba can be a very physical thing. Not only does it require a fair amount of effort to lift the instrument from one place to another, a poor sitting position and how you sit can cause issues that you aren’t even aware of.
Not sitting properly with the tuba can present some problems. There are a number of different size of tubas and the height of the EEb tuba can vary significantly depending on the make and model of the instrument. The sizes of BBb tuba, or C tuba can necessitate the player needing to either rest the instrument on their legs, the chair or even buy a stand to sit the instrument on.
To make sure that you are sitting properly with the tuba it is important to consider the place that the lead pipe of the tuba is positioned so that the instrument can be brought to the lips of the player. It is crucial to avoid slouching or stretching the torso so that the instrument can be played comfortably.
Maintaining good posture is discussed in the following articles that can be found here and here. The tuba does require specific attention in terms of posture whilst playing, lifting or even moving the instrument!
When lifting the tuba always ensure that you consider good lifting posture. Although this information is normally associated with lifting boxes (and usually is displayed on postures in the office) it is still good advice to remember how to lift without twisting or causing unnecessary stress on your lower back.
When you sit down with the tuba follow these steps to get your posture in the right place:
- Sit slightly forward on the chair so that your back does not touch the back of the seat
- Keep both feet flat on the floor
- Make sure the lower parts of your legs are vertical
- Allow your upper body and head to fall upwards
- Keep your eye line so that you are looking directly ahead
- Bring the tuba so that it moves to your body’s alignment
- Ensure that your stand is at a height where the alignment of the body doesn’t need to be altered
- Allow the arms to hang freely and rest on the valves
- Keep the fingers curved on the valves and allow the wrist to stay loose and flexible
Remembering the last part of the list above is possibly the most important bit. Adjusting the body to fit the instrument is such a common mistake and is something that really should be avoided.
Moving the upper body out of the correct alignment can cause problems with breathing, increase tension or even lead to the onset of an RSI.
Hopefully these tips will help you to achieve and maintain a good posture when playing the tuba. Let us know
if you have had any issues with your own posture and how you have overcome the problems that you have faced.