Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Ross T. Harbaugh

Second Committee Member

Charles Castleman

Third Committee Member

Thomas M. Sleeper

Fourth Committee Member

Shannon K. de l'Etoile


Performance related musculoskeletal disorders are common in musicians. Studies show relatively high numbers of these disorders among violinists and violists. These disorders can occur because violin and viola players often do not make movement, coordination, injury prevention, and tension redistribution their foundational priority. String players often allow the visual and auditory aspects of practice and performance to become their top priority. Musicians are constantly in motion, but they rarely describe what they do using movement vocabulary or as a movement sport. Unfortunately, movement vocabulary is typically reserved solely for enhancing stage presence, reducing pain or repairing an injury. Archery is a sport that utilizes a very similar set-up, similar movements and many of the same muscle groups that viola players use. Like music, archery is also an art form that that requires discipline and patience. Archery pedagogy emphasizes the importance of creating a shooting objective and the promotion of physical knowledge and wellness before even picking up the bow. Aiming for the target is the final step in the draw process because the shot is done with the body and the vast majority of the shooting process is physical. This essay synthesizes and applies the fundamentals of archery technique, pedagogy and training to viola performance by prioritizing the physical aspects of playing and promoting the use of proper back tension.


viola; violin; upper strings; archery; performance related injury; music pedagogy