foot chart

said: Aug 14, 2009
 1 posts

Can someone provide instruction on how to draw a foot chart? Thanks.

Jennifer Visick said: Aug 14, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

Get something sturdy and slightly larger (wider) than the student’s “Playing Position” stance.

Cardboard, heavy paper or cardstock which you will later laminate, stiff foamboard, large manilla envelope, etc.

get the student to stand in rest position on or near the middle of it. Trace around the outside of their feet with a permanent marker of one color.

If the teacher uses an intermediate step between rest position and playing position, trace around this in a different color, perhaps in dotted lines.

Get the student to step into playing position. trace around their feet with a marker of a different color.

Write the student’s name and/or have them personalize the foot chart (I advise that young students be allowed to draw or put stickers on the backside but not the front side).

said: Aug 15, 2009
 89 posts

For a small child, a file folder works just fine.

Laura said: Aug 15, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

Different colored Jiffy markers on small carpet samples. You can often get carpet samples for free or very cheap. They are a little less portable than other options, but highly durable. You can stuff them in a large enough tote bag.

(I’m sure there are tons of ideas!)

Katie said: Aug 16, 2009
3 posts

Poster board works. Using a red marker for rest position helps some students to remember.

Jennifer Visick said: May 1, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

what is a jiffy marker? I’m having a hard time imagining a marker that works well on carpet.

Diane said: May 1, 2010
Diane AllenViolin
244 posts

Check out

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Barb said: May 8, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
678 posts

A Jiffy marker is a big fat broad-tip permanent ink marker.

I didn’t use a foot chart for my young cello students last year, and see a big improvement in the playing position of the one who started this year using a mat.

For cello the mat needs to be larger because it needs the spot for the stool and the end pin as well as the feet. We also marked a spot to put the bow down along the right side.

We started with a piece of corrugated cardboard which would roll up, but the parents then bought a small area rug/mat which is more durable and rolls up easily. I think it was the child’s idea to use duct tape to mark off the spots. Some use a washer taped down for holding the end pin.

Is this student unusual? A five year old boy who can keep his feet glued to two spots for 30 minutes? I wouldn’t insist on this—only while he is playing, but eventually—there they stayed! (I have an older boy who needs to get up and move sometimes.)

In the future I will require an end-pin strap which connects to the leg of their stool or chair for those who are maybe too old for a mat. I usually mark the correct length for the end-pin, but sometimes they come back to the next lesson with the end-pin out the correct length, but either too close or too far from them.

Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
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Jennifer Visick said: May 8, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

I’ve been considering buying a large thick yoga mat and cutting it to size for my youngest students (violin/viola).

What would be really nice to stand on would be a gel pro kitchen mat or similar “fatigue reducing” soft mat. However, that would be for my studio and home practicing use—too expensive for a pre-twinkle expense and too heavy to be easily portable.

we use activity mats from the learning store ( for placing young or wiggly students during group classes. I find that having both feet “on” the mat for rest position and “one foot on, one foot off” for playing position works fairly well.

said: May 9, 2010
 89 posts

How thick are the lakeshore mats? Is there a notice-able height difference between “on the mat” and “off”?

Jennifer Visick said: May 10, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

I haven’t measured, but maybe 3 or 4 millimeters is my guess. A quarter of an inch max. There is not a noticeable difference for one foot on, one foot off. (Well, at least I don’t notice it.)

Phankao said: Oct 5, 2011
Phankao WanPiano, Viola, Violin
128 posts

I used a non-slip table placemat. Easy to fold and keep in the zip-up portion of the violin case.

Matthew said: Oct 6, 2011
Matthew Olson
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Bellingham, WA
16 posts

I use kitchen drawer/cupboard shelf liner.

It comes in a roll and can be cut to width—which is helpful as larger students need more space for their feet in playing position.

Also, it doesn’t crack or wear out where it bends and can be rolled up for easy transportation. Some of my students roll it up, put a rubber band around it and then it fits nicely in there music bag.

I tried everything else and have been very happy with it.

Matthew Olson

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