3.2.3 Posture


Survey responses: 

    1. On the right side, like symmetrical to the left side. WDR wagnertubas are (too!) small, even though they come with an adjustable foot, it compromises the comfort of positioning the instrument.

    2. When I sit I place the WT on my leg,right hand in the right side, also If I stand I have my right hand on the right side.

    3. My right hand holds the tuba a little bit lower than the beginning of the bell. The angle is important. I try to lean a little bit more forward with my upper body so that the mouthpiece of the tuba is not too much pushing in my upper lip. This can happen when im sitting upwards. Because its difficult to sit in a proper upright position one tends to use less support. I really have to keep remembering to stay active in my upwards abdominal support, especially when you have higher notes to play on the tuba.

    4. I place the right hand around the bell at the point where the leadpipe crosses. That way I feel to have some control on placement and pressure. It is difficult to get the right angle from the leadpipe and mouthpiece on the embouchure. This angle is very individual and I have my instrument adjusted slightly. But still I feel I have to stick out my neck a bit and lift the chin, or push the bottom of the instrument a bit towards the belly.

    5. On the leadpipe. (Near the mouth piece). 

    6. Right hand just above the leadpipe.

    7. I held my right hand on the same height on the right side of the instrument as my left was on the valves.

The solution to the posture is quite clear from the answers. The instrument is rested on the right side of the body (right leg) and held with the right hand (as the left hand is in charge of the valves). What is not so clear and may vary from person to person is where to hold the instrument with the right hand. The answers say: little bit lower than the beginning of the bell, around the bell at the point where the leadpipe crosses, on the leadpipe, just above the leadpipe or same height (left hand on the valves). In addition to this, John Ericson (2019) sets out two types of options: one at the top, holding the bell and one at the bottom, holding the pipe near the leg support. All these responses and options make it clear that holding the instrument with the right hand is very varied and that it is not really something that has a big impact on the final result. As long as it is not too tight and does not eliminate the resonance of the instrument, it is up to the individual to find the most comfortable position.
Below you can see examples of the positioning of the right hand:

Another issue that is visible in the responses and which has also been discussed in the previous section is the inclination of the instrument and leadpipe. Some answers show how players have to recondition their body to find an angle that is comfortable and efficient for them, as an uncomfortable angle can lead to unwanted tension, less efficient air column and a bad sound result. But this is something that cannot be determined, every Wagner tuba and every person is different, so it is advisable to take some time to explore to find the most suitable posture.

All this is something I have personally experienced and had to work on, as it can be frustrating to feel so uncomfortable playing the Wagner tuba. So, from my experience, I would like to add to this section a trick that might help to correct the bad posture and that is the use of the pullbuoy (used for swimming). It is something I had to use with an Wagner tuba that was really too small for me and made my posture and sensations horrible. Of course, this specific object has a function that countless other objects could also fulfil.