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#100885 - 05/01/03 11:38 PM Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Scottyee Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 10427
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US...
I acknowledge that standing while playing the keyboard offers the best performance visability, but unfortunately (for me) it's turned out to be a not very comfortable or healthy playing position for my back now, especially because my playing style also requires foot pedal use (right foot: sustain pedal & Reg Memory advance, left foot: drum fill & vocalizer on/off pedals.

Unless I have at least an elevated stool to sit or lean against for support, standing is no good for me (especially for mutiple sets), as it means (in order to play the pedals) that I have to be constantly shifting my body weight (support) from one foot to the other.

On the other hand, sitting (with my derriere firmly planted on a keyboard bench) permits both feet to easily access the foot pedals at will, yet maintain solid centered support of my upper body seated firmly on the keyboard bench. Less performance visibility perhaps, but my lower back feels so much better now.

I realize that guys like Donny & Uncle Dave usually standing when playing the keyboard, so I'm curious if you guys ever experience back pain. Do you guys use foot pedals at all? I myself am not able to play the kb as an acoustic piano without a sustain pedal.

Interested in getting feedback from all you keyboard performers out there to find out what keyboard playing position (sitting or standing) works best for you these days.

Thanks, - Scott
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#100886 - 05/02/03 12:46 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Nigel Offline
Admin

Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6202
Loc: Ventura CA USA
I play rhythm/second lead guitar as well as keyboard depending on the song. So as I have a guitar strapped to me all the time I can only easily move between the guitar and keyboard by standing up and have the keyboard setup a couple of feet in front of me so it doesn't get in the way when I am playing guitar parts. In some songs I alternate between guitar and keyboard from chorus to verse. You can see exactly what I mean from a picture of me with my band at http://aband.com/ You can see me poking at the keyboard with a strat hung around my neck.

If I was just playing the keyboard then sitting would be my choice.


[This message has been edited by Nigel (edited 05-02-2003).]

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#100887 - 05/02/03 04:01 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 11586
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
I actually feel BETTER standing. It provides the greatest vocal comfort, and allows me to move a little with the rhythm. This is important to me, since I'm not much of a dancer. When I do acoustic piano jobs .... I get a "bunched up" feeling after an hour or so.

I am glued to the sustain pedal. It's a fault, but a harmless one. I rely on it for switching hand positions or making adjustments on the fly, as well as traditional use for damping.

Learning to use your hands for the fills was paramount for me in this standing position. I use only two pedals - sustain and harmonizer on/off. They are locked together and take up almost no space on the floor. The design of the pedals is such that they rest against the front of the keyboard stand leg (at the foot)and stay put all night with no extra help. The wires keep them in line and I never have to "fish for them".

Here are the biggest advantages:

1) visual (no contest here - it LOOKS better)
2) support - diphragm is free to contract and expand for better vocal control
3) space - it takes up less space to set up this way. VERY important sometimes (MOST times for me !)
4) cartage - no need to schlep a bench
5) mobility - allows me to move with the music .... keeps me "in the moment"
6) doubling - allows me to hang my guitar without readjusting position. Like Nigel, I sometimes leave my guitar (a Parker Fly .... under 5lbs !)on my body as I play the keys. Makes for a better switch between instruments.

**)sitting is more for a recital or concert, and then, you NEED a stage and lights and other visual enhancement. For entertaining on the go, standing puts you "above" the crowd, and lets you fit in with the population better. Someone here said:
A musician sits, an entertainer stands. It's not a concrete rule, but it sure is the norm in most shows I've seen.

Give it a try and you'll get hooked.
Scott - if you didn't have to lift in and out of a car trunk, maybe your back pain would improve? I find the convienience of the load in/load out is greatly enhanced by having a vehicle that is better suited to carrying gear. This isn't a slam against your Benz .... just a suggestion that you may be adding undo stress on you back BEFORE the job even starts. I'd hate to have to lift in and out of a trunk as much as I move around.
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#100888 - 05/02/03 06:10 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Dnj Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 40923
Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Dave:
I actually feel BETTER standing. It provides the greatest vocal comfort, and allows me to move a little with the rhythm.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
"To me standing up as an entertainer, singer, musician gives me the needed stage presence to stay in charge of the audience. You can "Groove" better and for me play and Sing with better dynamics with less discomfort at the end of the affair. IMHO I agree, sitting is for "Concert Mode" and even then I still stand when I perform versus when I am in concert with people just sitting and listening versus dancing which is my forte`."
.............................................
I am glued to the sustain pedal.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
"I only use 2 pedals, sustain, voc harmony. I dont use sustain musch at all because my style of playing and voice layers allows me to sustain manualy versus with the pedal. I will use the sutain pedal more when using [elec piano, piano, guitar, vibes, etc, sparingly"...................................

Learning to use your hands for the fills was paramount for me in this standing position. I use only two pedals - sustain and harmonizer on/off. They are locked together and take up almost no space on the floor. The design of the pedals is such that they rest against the front of the keyboard stand leg (at the foot)and stay put all night with no extra help. The wires keep them in line and I never have to "fish for them".
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"Triggering fills and all other KB functions are done Manualy, this gives me the greatest control over my playing, laptop access and on the fly split second changes."
.............................................
Here are the biggest advantages:

1) visual (no contest here - it LOOKS better)
2) support - diphragm is free to contract and expand for better vocal control
3) space - it takes up less space to set up this way. VERY important sometimes (MOST times for me !)
4) cartage - no need to schlep a bench
5) mobility - allows me to move with the music .... keeps me "in the moment"
6) doubling - allows me to hang my guitar without readjusting position. Like Nigel, I sometimes leave my guitar (a Parker Fly .... under 5lbs !)on my body as I play the keys. Makes for a better switch between instruments.
.............................................
"I strongly agree with all the above numbered statements."





[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 05-02-2003).]

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#100889 - 05/02/03 06:10 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Beakybird Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/27/01
Posts: 2171
If find that I sit so much in the car on the way to the gigs, that it is welcome for me to be able to stand up for a while. So standing has been very good for me. I started out sitting down, and my back feels better now.

On the other hand, I just use my right foot for pedals. It would be difficult to operate multiple pedals with both feet while standing. You should go with what makes you most comfortable. But try to stay as high up as possible so people can see you.

An option: You might have strained your back, and you might benefit from a series of massage and/or yoga classes.

Beakybird

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#100890 - 05/02/03 06:50 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
cassp Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/21/03
Posts: 3707
Loc: Motown
Now I stand because I'm usually playing as a duo or trio and if I sit I get lost. Since I'm also the lead singer, that's another good reason - visibility. I find that my feet hurt more than my back. I suggest that standers look into one of these 2x3 think/dense foam mats, similar to those used by cashiers. That relieves a lot of foot fatigue and helps support the back. I would prefer to sit if I could, but that darn VISUAL thing is a big determiner.

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Cass Pawlowski
Detroit, MI
PSR2000, Roland SC88
Cakewalk, Sonar, Power Tracks, BIAB
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#100891 - 05/02/03 06:54 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Fran Carango Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9227
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
Musically, I have been standing since day one..Standing while performing[again musically], gives me the comfort and moveability I need on stage..In my current band situation, I handle all the sound mixing[off to my left side], I need the visual contact with the lead singers, one guy and one gal, this requires a step back so I can look past the guy [to my right] and make eye contact with the gal[to the guy,s right]..mobility is a must also to have access to laptop operation, stage lighting adjustments, friendly customer contact[ the girls always come to me, being the keyboard player]...I use a sustain pedal and expression pedal to my right side, and a pedal reverb off when any of us speak, to my left[You just can't depend on vocalist to know how to step on a pedal when they speak, so naturally the keyboard player has to keep the show going smoothly..I do find some discomfort in my lower left leg[as in excersise], but being able to move back and forth relieves this...The very few times that I have sat while playing, I have found it more uncomfortable[back. shoulder and neck]..
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#100892 - 05/02/03 06:57 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
rhumba Offline
Member

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 160
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
I use two keyboards most of the time. There are two damper pedals and a Korg EC-5 pedal for the PA80. And so I ended up with about 50/50 of sitting and standing.

..rb

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#100893 - 05/02/03 07:16 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
travlin'easy Online   happy
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14573
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
While I would like to be able to stand while performing, physically, this is not an option. I agree with UD and Donny, about the positive aspects of standing, however, usually when I try it, by the end of two straight hours, both my back and feet are shot to hell. I also use a foot switch, one with three buttons, but I'm in the process of building a miniature version of the switch that will attach directly to the keyboard via a velcro strip. I did this with a foot volume control for the PSR-740 and it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Within the next few weeks, I headed to south Jersey to meet with Donny, listen to his powered speakers, then after picking his brains, I'm gonna' revamp my entire system, lighten the load, and try to come up with a setup that permits me to be at or near eye level with the audience by using a mid-height stool with a backrest. (I'm getting too old for this stuff.)

As for moving the equipment from the vehicle, I must agree, lifting from inside a car trunk is bad news for the back. Sell the Rolls and buy yourself a full size van, or even a mini-van. Then can hold an enormous amount of gear, they ride well, gas milage sucks, and they're easy to load and unload. My house is 165 feet from the end of my driveway, therefore, I hook up a 10-cubic-foot garden cart to the lawn tractor and haul the stuff from the house to the van using the cart. Lugging a 90-pound speaker that distance, uphill, even with a refrigerator dolly, is tough on the body parts.

Good Luck,

Gary
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PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#100894 - 05/02/03 07:33 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Big Red Offline
Member

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 125
Loc: Canada
If I could stand all night that would be great but I couldn't do that, I'd always end up with a sore back.

To maintain maximum height while sitting I bought a folding barstool at IKEA (seat height is 38" and it's a smart modern design) and, setting my X-stand at maximum height, I find that I'm visible enough to the audience - no one has ever commented that they can't see me.

The only drawback is that having the X-stand at max height obviously makes the keyboard somewhat less stable on its legs, and my EC5 pedal only just about fits between the feet, but I can live with that.

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