Stand or Sit?

May 27, 2008 at 02:40 AM · I find myself sitting to practice when I have to do tedious meticulous practice, and standing when I want to run through pieces. How do you practice and why?

Replies (33)

May 27, 2008 at 03:54 AM · standing simply because I sit most of the day.

May 27, 2008 at 03:58 AM · Always stand. Sitting creates more problems than it solves.

That being said-after a long day, I do pull out the chair and say heck with it.

May 27, 2008 at 08:03 AM · I took Buri's advice and have always practiced the music the way it was to be performed. I always practice orchestra music sitting down. I always practice solo repertoire standing.

May 27, 2008 at 08:32 AM · Standing. It's so much better for my posture and sound. But I practice chamber music sitting down usually...

May 27, 2008 at 11:05 AM · I usually do what Emily and Buri suggest, practice the music how it is to be performed. Orchestra music sitting, solo music standing. But there's some wiggle room for scales and etudes, and that depends on how tired I am and how my back is feeling. If I've been sitting all day, I'll stand. If I was barely able to drag my sorry butt into the practice room in the first place, I might sit.

May 27, 2008 at 11:30 AM · What Emily and Buri said.

May 27, 2008 at 01:04 PM · Ditto. Until my back begins to bother me, I prefer to stand since I think I can play more freely, however, most of my playing is done sitting down, so I have no compunctions about sitting to practice.

May 27, 2008 at 01:16 PM · I follow the sit/stand rules, but when I feel lazy, I also lean.

May 27, 2008 at 01:18 PM · After reading Emily and Buri's advice, I wonder if it would make sense to be asked to sit down to play for an orchestral audition?!

May 27, 2008 at 02:03 PM · I used to sit when I practiced for longer periods of time - but my sound is so much better when I stand, so I've been standing a lot more lately.

May 27, 2008 at 02:36 PM · Interesting question, fascinating replies! I always stand up to practice and would never consider sitting at all, somehow it just doesn't feel right and it makes me feel very constricted in my playing.

When I sit in an orchestra, I never use the back of the chair to lean on as again I find that affects my playing adversely and always leads to back pain, whereas sitting right on the front 2 inches of the chair with straight back is just fine.

May 27, 2008 at 03:03 PM · It may be of interest in this regard that the Emerson Quartet always perform standing (with the exception of the cellist). They say that it helps their sound and projects better into the room.

May 27, 2008 at 05:24 PM · Neil, I practice my orchestra audition excerpts standing.

May 27, 2008 at 06:42 PM · Sitting, my back can't take standing without

walking for very long.

May 27, 2008 at 06:51 PM · I've got the same deal as Ray. I can play all day sitting down but I can only do a couple hours standing before it starts hurting my back. And what's really funny is that the worse my posture gets sitting the easier it gets to play.

May 27, 2008 at 06:52 PM · Oddly, I don't find standing while practising tiring. I can go for hours it seems without it being a problem (with the occasional break of course). In fact, sometimes I feel beat after a day's work but after a few minutes practising the world goes away and I start feeling re-energized.

That said, I sometimes practice chamber music sitting so I won't be in for any surprises when it comes to the real thing.

May 28, 2008 at 12:20 AM · Greetings,

Zak makes an interesitng point. It is actually slighly more demanding on the body to sit than stand correctly. If one is siting wrngly (most poeple) that is murder.

Things have chnaged somewhat in the Alexander world but like Alexander himself, most good teachers still use the action of siitng and standing up as the basi for learning how to use ourselves well. AT seeks to bypass misuse of the body by digigng new grooves. Thus the act of sititng down is ignored and a person is simply asked to bend the knees , which is actually what sitting down is. This by passes the weird , screwing body action most people use and call sitting down/standing up. Interesitngly, I had an older student the other day who has accumulated so much fear in her bnody, while lsoing track of her legs she couldn`t actually bend her legs to sit down although her legs bent perfectly other wise. Maybe her knees were on backwards....

What I sai apart, it is always ineresting to do the pposte of somehting so why not try concertos sitting down and orhcestra standing up for a change?



May 28, 2008 at 06:42 PM · I stand up while practicing. I seem to be able to focus more while standing vs sitting down-get a lot more done in a shorter period of time.

May 28, 2008 at 07:30 PM · Absolutely, both. Sitting is more complicated but must be learned as well. Standing, and playing while slowly walking is very beneficial for balance and relaxation.

May 29, 2008 at 02:49 AM · Always sit, arthritic knees bug me if I stand still for very long, so it's sit or walk around...

I use a backless stool.

May 29, 2008 at 04:02 AM · Standing most of the time, as it feels freer, more grounded and supported by my back and my feet standing than sitting. Sitting when I am tired of standing. Walking or dancing around some time if the music calls for such action. I also follow the rule Karen mentioned to a great degree.

May 29, 2008 at 04:04 AM · Greetings,

it would actually be very beneficial to practice sitting on one of these huge exercise balls to icrease sensitivity to balance. Ooops , there goes another Strad and the cat.



May 29, 2008 at 04:52 AM · Yes, but not so huge that my legs are dangling or I have to balance myself like Humpty Dumpty on the wall. Actually, my AT teacher cautioned me about sitting on these balls for too long as she believes it could cause tension.

May 29, 2008 at 01:38 PM · What about sitting on a hard (as opposed to cushioned) backless stool?

May 29, 2008 at 10:57 PM · Greeitngs,

okay as long a s its not upside down.



May 30, 2008 at 12:29 AM · I like to sit on the tuttis.

May 30, 2008 at 01:21 AM · I stopped wearing one after unkind people laughed at me in the street...

May 30, 2008 at 03:47 AM · What Buri said,

as far as the practicing the way the music is preformed.

May 30, 2008 at 04:10 AM · What Buri said about not wearing one any more broke what is where my heart should be.

People can be so cruel.

May 30, 2008 at 07:57 PM · I suggest practicing standing repertory sitting, and practicing sitting repertory standing. This is because it is least "anal-retentive" (to quote Laurie). Non-analretentiveness, or anal nonretentivness to be scientifically correct, will benefit one far more than anything to be gained from adopting a supposedly correct positioning. Disclaimer: I am not a member of the Danish Philharmonic Orchestra. Simple physics shows us that anal nonrentiveness has the possibility of blasting you ahead of your competition, leaving them in the dirt.

June 3, 2008 at 01:42 PM · Since I suffered some serious back injuries in my mid-20s I have done all my practicing sitting down. Before that I did all my practicing standing - although most of my "playing" was sitting orchestral or chamber music.

But now - it is almost 50 years after that original injury, and although I still practice sitting, I do stand to play sonatas with a pianist or to perform solos. But I find that 1-1/2 hours of that is about all I can take.

But standing allows me to put so much more into my playing, at least it feels like it to me.


June 3, 2008 at 10:45 PM · Greetings,

Jim, I am about to maret a chair with a small protusion located under the anus when seated. This is guaranteded to increase anal retentiveness which given the amunt of prunes violnists consume , is a real blessing. Its going to be called the `Playonmethane.)



June 4, 2008 at 05:05 AM · It depends what I'm working on...if it's a performance piece and it's a violin solo piece I'll stand if I'm playing a group song where everyone sits I'll sit a practice.

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