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Sitting and Chairs

QUESTION

Can anyone recommend a good cello bench or chair? I believe there are several types available, but the Shar catalog I have doesn't list any, and the one in the Southwest Strings catalog may not be tall enough for me (it adjusts to 18"). At present, I sit perched on a pillow on the edge of a chair; believe me, this is not good for the old back! Please help, this may be a medical emergency!

ANSWER:

Chairs are one of my pet peeves when performing. The available chairs are usually those aweful metal folding chairs that slope backwards, or chairs that are too low. I know tall cellists that sit on cushions to gain the extra height unavailable on standard chairs.

I would like to point out that, though sitting back in the chair helps with back support, it also restricts your freedom of movement and therefore your ability to express yourself. The chair restricts the movement of the legs as well as the upper body. I would suggest that you try other options first. Find better chairs, one's that slope forward instead of backward, and one's that are high enough to allow your knees to be below your waist. Some put blocks under the back legs of the chair to create the needed slope. Also, make sure your posture is healthy. You may want to do exercises to strengthen your stomach and lower back muscles too.

Some violinists sit back in their chairs. This practice is a point of controversy in the music world. These violinists look so lackadaisical when they play. Often, the looks match how they play, unfortunately. I have seen one violinist who puts a black cushion on the back of the chair so that he can still sit on the edge of his chair.

For those who spend hours in rehearsals every day, like the professional orchestral musicians, sitting back in the chair may be done for mere survival. But the rest of us should look for other options first.

I second Robyn Gallimore's advice re posture and end pin length. In addition, I recommend looking into a "Music Posture" chair from the Wenger Corp., Owatonna, Minn. 55060. They supply a variety of equipment and furniture used on stages for plays, concerts,etc.. I've found their chairs to be quite good - even purchased one myself. They make several models. I would advise asking them where one can find one to try out.

Tim Janof

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ICS Staff
Tim Janof, ICS Director
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