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 sitting or standing
Author: D 
Date:   2006-08-22 20:04

I know this must have been discussed to death a million times but I have been unable to dig up anything with the search function.

Here is the question:

I consider it important to be able to play both while sitting and while standing, because you never know where you might have to play. Certainly when I used to play the flute I was probably 50/50 for concerts and rehersals, always standing for lessons and exams, and frequently sprawled on the stairs to practice. With the clarinet I find it very hard to play standing up, and therefore I could do with some advice.

How do I learn to play standing up? I can manage about two or three minutes on a good day before I get dizzy and have to sit down. Once down I never get dizzy.

Can anyone point me in the direction of existing discussion or does anyone have any handy hints? I have searched under sit, sitting, stand, seated etc but seem to get the same few threads everytime. Mostly regarding bass clarinet stands, audition position, chair placements and pad replacement!

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 Re: sitting or standing
Author: David Peacham 
Date:   2006-08-22 20:14

This may sound a very silly question, but.....

You say that if you play the clarinet for a couple of minutes standing, you get dizzy. What happens if you stand doing nothing at all for a couple of minutes? It's not unusual for people to feel faint under those conditions. You may need to move around a bit - sway in time to the music or whatever - to stop yourself feeling faint.

Flute players tend to wave their instruments around more than clarinet players do - maybe this is why you didn't have this problem when you played the flute.


Having said all that, I don't see there's any real problem if you can only play sitting down. Cellists and pianists always sit. Alan Hacker is one of England's leading clarinet players and he always sits - being confined to a wheelchair he has little option.


If there are so many people on this board unwilling or unable to have a civil and balanced discussion about important issues, then I shan't bother to post here any more.

To the great relief of many of you, no doubt.

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 Re: sitting or standing
Author: D 
Date:   2006-08-22 20:29

I'm fine standing without playing. I haven't tried walking and moving around while playing, maybe that is something to work on. It's so silly, because I spend hours standing at work and I'm fine.

Since I've been playing clarinet I haven't lived in one place long enough to find a decent teacher (9 and a half months is the longest I've managed but I'm ruining that by moving next week!) but hopefully next year will be a longer run and I can find a teacher prepared to take on an adult, and a temporary one at that. I think it is past time that I got some of these things properly sorted out.

The really silly thing is that I used to play alto sax standing up and not faint! Don't know if I can still do that, it's living at my parents house.

I might have to declare myself over the hill.

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 Re: sitting or standing
Author: hans 
Date:   2006-08-22 20:42


It may be something that you should discuss with your doctor.


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 Re: sitting or standing
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2006-08-22 23:24

Try to find where your limit is so you can ask a doc. Can you stand and play long tones for a few minutes? Can you stand and play without reading music (from memory)? Can you stand and just take long breaths (breathe deeply without a clarinet?) Figure out what your threshold is. Might help figure out what might be the problem.


US Army Japan Band

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 Re: sitting or standing
Author: seafaris 
Date:   2006-08-23 00:22

Make sure that your knees are relaxed and not locked.


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 Re: sitting or standing
Author: Hank Lehrer 
Date:   2006-08-23 00:49


I started a thread that might be of interest to you. The original intent was to think about this as a senior problem (I'm 68 and still playing lots of gigs).

There may be something helpful to you since one of the posters included a very good link.



PS Since I posted this thread, I have concentrated on taking deeper breaths when playing.

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 Re: sitting or standing
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2006-08-23 05:28

I have something called NeuroCardiogenicSyncope (yes syncope!). It is basically that sometimes I can faint if I stand too long in one place, especially after doing sports or playing or something like that. Most of the times even if I stand in one place after sport or playing I wouldn't faint and everything would be normal. A few times I will start seeing black and will know so I just sit or lie down to not faint. Sometimes I can faint (or more likely start seeing black and be able to stop it) without any sports or playing, just when I get up from sitting for example. I had something called Tilt test done and they found it. You are tied to a bed and they change the poisition like you are standing. You stand there for 30 minutes, if after 15-20 minutes nothing happen they inject you something. They injected me but a few seconds after they injected it (according to the doctor it didn't have enough time to affect) I fainted.

Lengthy post, but maybe it will be worth it to check this?

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 Re: sitting or standing
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2006-08-23 11:08

I agree with Seafaris, make sure your knees are not locked!

Then as a general rule, practice pieces for which you'll be sitting sitting, and work for which you'll be standing standing.

(Not that Clarnibass might be wrong!)

Good luck

James Tobin

Gnothi Seauton

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