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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000291.txt from 1999/06

From: Jack Kissinger <kissingerjn@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: [kl] Re: Posture, Hara, Tai Chi, etc.
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 20:50:14 -0400

Alan.Woodcock@-----.net wrote:

> ... the subject of
> standing .vs. sitting has often come up on this list, usually in connection
> with Double Lip. So when you write
>
> >> Alan wrote, "I know there are people who say you should not stand
> ..." I don't know who these people are or where this assertion comes from.
>
> ... well, now you know... they have revealed themselves...

Actually, I think I have to disagree. (Maybe it's the academician in me! ;^)
) My interpretation of the posts I have read from "double-lip" players has
been, "Double-lip players have a legitimate reason for sitting when we perform
and here it is ..." I can't remember a single individual in this group who
has ever gone on to say that because s/he needs/prefers to sit, no one else
should ever stand. I can't even remember any double-lip players who asserted
that all double-lip players *should* sit. Nor is it apparently necessary for
all of them. Richard Stoltzman plays double lip and I have seen him perform
standing (and from memory, too). Had you said, "I know there are people who
say/believe [it is not necessary] to stand ..." or "I know there are people who
[prefer to sit]" or even, "I know there are people who say you should not
[SIT]," I could not argue with you but I simply have never seen any
clarinetist on this list or elsewhere assert (let alone assert convincingly)
that the only appropriate way for everyone to perform in a solo role is
seated. For me, the assertion "I cannot stand" or "I prefer not to stand" is
not equivalent to "YOU should not stand."

> Now, while I'm only a very humble amateur clarinetist, in my profession I
> very often have to talk in public, give presentations, etc, sometimes to
> quite large assemblies. I always stand. I have things to say and the
> posture helps me to say them. And it helps people to receive my messages.
> That I know.
>
> Of course it is not just a question of standing. I know people who stand
> and communicate nothing. Sometimes I have to sit. It's less dynamic, but
> things like presence, projection etc. still have to be established. The
> message must get through.
>
> Isn't it the same thing with a musical instrument?

If you are asking my opinion (which is worth very little to anyone but me), I
would say that I can't think of a better way to put it.

> Here is the serious question :
>
> Is not posture when playing a fundamental technique (just like breathing)?
> If so, should it not be taught?

Again, IMO, yes! (And I think it is taught. Certainly, at least, many
beginning books spend time discussing correct posture. People pay alot of
money for training in the Alexander technique.)

> Are there not techniques which go beyond simple (restrictive) rules like
> "always stand for a concerto", "never stand if you use double lip"?

This set of rules would pose a serious conflict for a double-lip player who
wanted to perform a concerto. ;^)

> Just like for breathing "from-the-diaphragm-that-we-can-never-perceive":
> may there not be a whole new set of "metaphors", as Tony Pay calls them,
> which could help us to establish our position in front of the audience?
> (and to ourselves - perhaps even more important?).

> Mr Kissinger - you write that your wife is a certified Tai Chi instructor -
> I'm sure she would have an opinion - if so, please post.

Please, I'm not THAT old. (Well, maybe I am but I don't like to think about
it.) Call me, Jack. I'm not sure that the set of metaphors is necessarily
new. I suspect there are some good teachers out there that use them as a
matter of course. For someone who hasn't been exposed to such metaphors,
however, I also suspect that Tai Chi could be a useful source. I have informed
my wife that she has been invited (by one member, anyway) to post to this
august list. She is suitably flattered and says she wants to think about what
she would say. For starters, however, she says that, in her opinion, good
posture is ALWAYS important. She also believes that relaxation and the
recognition and elimination of stress are key lessons to be learned from Tai
Chi (sound like Alexander technique?). I'll see if she can't come up with some
metaphors to help accomplish this aim.

Best regards,
Jack Kissinger
St. Louis

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