Should violin students use a foot chart? What are the benefits?
First lets actually define a foot chart. When talking about beginning violin, a foot chart is usually a piece of cardboard (about the size of a pizza box) where a young child will stand and place their feet where marked. The idea when talking about “stance” is that a violinist should stand in a way that provides the most comfort and ease of movement. The violin (and the viola) is not a symmetrical instrument. It is held to one side of the body, and if held incorrectly (including an incorrect stance), everything around playing the instrument can become quite problematic (This is one of many reasons why it is important to have a good violin teacher!).
It can be argued that the foot chart actually creates more tension in a student’s body by too rigidly imposing how a child will stand. However, once you have worked with very young students for a while, you will understand that it is important to be pretty specific about how they stand, where they stand, and how much locomoting is going on!
In my own teaching, I find that I fall somewhere in the middle ground of the foot chart conversation. I do not use foot charts much anymore, but I do work with children on how they stand when holding the violin and when in rest position, and I do have a specific location of where children will stand while in lessons and when performing in recitals.