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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
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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: 11580
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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Every instrument, every voice, every sound in nature ... these are are all my private tutors ... 24/7 for free, and all I have to do is listen.

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#100888 - 05/02/03 06:10 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 40918
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 Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9226
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 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14564
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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#100895 - 05/02/03 07:39 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 40918
Quote:
Originally posted by travlin'easy:
within the next few weeks, I'm 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,


Gary,
Can't wait to meet you and your wife.
I'm sure you'll have a great time at my Dance Club. Don't worry we'll lighten you up for sure!! See ya soon

Dnj

------------------
www.donnypesce.com

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

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#100896 - 05/02/03 07:49 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Catsailor Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/02
Posts: 163
Scott,

I don't play professionally (really nothing more than a rank amateur) but I was wondering if you just couldn't compromise. I have seen some advertisements for a seat that can be adjusted to a position that looks like one can be in a semi-seated/standing position. It adjusts up a rail and goes higher than a bench to almost a standing position. This might give you the height presence and still allow you to be somewhat seated. There is also a back available for it. I think it's made by Quiklok. This might ease the strain on your back enough to make you feel better when playing. Another thing, you might try is a better pair of shoes. I believe there are men's shoes that are made along the lines of nurses shoes(orthopedic shoes); because they spend a lot of time on their feet and need better shoes, shoe manufactures keep improving the designs. These shoes apparently ease up the back strain. My ex-wife was a nurse with a bad back and loved these shoes. I just thought these ideas might help. I've learned so much from your posts that I hope I can give a little in return. Good luck with your back and thanks for all of the great music and information you share.

Peter

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#100897 - 05/02/03 07:51 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
DonM Online   elvis
Senior Member

Registered: 06/25/99
Posts: 15954
Loc: Benton, LA, USA
Of course I sit at the "piano" bar nights. Other jobs I use a high architect-type adjustable stool, with back. It has allowed me to continue working despite some rather bad back problems. At the 1-hour Nursing Home jobs, I stand.
I use two pedals, as Dave does, one for Vocal Harmony, the other sustain. I've always used my hands for the fills.
DonM
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#100898 - 05/02/03 07:57 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 40918
Peter.....





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

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#100899 - 05/02/03 08:24 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
MacAllcock Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/02/02
Posts: 1158
Loc: Preston, Lancashire, England
I play foot bass with the left foot - therefore I'm a sitter. And it is definately more difficult to sing properly sitting down than it is when you are standing; posture become very critical. Sit stooped and you will do your back in very quickly and you will sound terrible (or in my case more terrible than normal). I have quite a high seat and also set the microphone so that I have to sit properly to sing into it.

[This message has been edited by MacAllcock (edited 05-02-2003).]
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#100900 - 05/02/03 08:57 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
cam8neel Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/01
Posts: 299
Loc: Providence, RI USA
I sit when I perform. It gives a "piano man" effect, especially since the majority of my repetoire is Manilow, Elton, Joel, etc. Also, doing mostly "lighter" classic rock and not much in the way of dance-type music, I am more comfortable sitting, as most of my audience is also sitting...and listening, too, I hope...

Angelo

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#100901 - 05/02/03 09:12 AM Re: 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...
Thanks to everyone for the great input and feedback. It's interesting to read that there are other standing position players here who also need to utilize some kind of high stool for added support as I do. I agree that standing provides the best performance position for all the reasons listed above, but currently the only way I can stand (without feeling back strain from standing) is to take the high stool, yet I hate the hassle of having to drag yet another thing to a gig.

I'm convinced that my standing position back ache is caused by having to support my entire upper body with one foot while the other foot activates the sustain pedal. My doctor tells me that its this that's throwing my body (back) out of alignment and that I should instead be standing solidly & balanced with both feet on the floor.

Seeing now that others, like UD, are able to stand (without the need for a stool for added support) and who also utilize & play the sustain pedal alot as a traditional piano damper pedal, I'm now wondering if there's a trick (pedal positioning or some other standing position technique) which could be shared which might shed some light on your success. I really would like to LEAVE the stool at home.

Scott
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#100902 - 05/02/03 10:11 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Alex K Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/99
Posts: 731
Loc: Phoenix, AZ USA
Scott,

My reply to your original question may be a bit late, but here it is anyway...

I do not sing, so our situations are not exactly analogous, but having tried performing in both sitting and standing positions, I find that I can put way more energy into my music when my behind is resting. Also, this makes it easier to use pedals (I use two). So for the most part I prefer a sitting position. I do try to stack a couple of chairs (usually not a problem getting a couple of those at most of my venues), so that I can sit a bit higher.

While I agree that standing looks more professional, the sitting position makes me sound more professional, so the choice is easy.

I have tried other alternatives, such as adjustable-height drum thrones. However, neither the mid-range nor the high-end ones were comfortable for a 2+ hour gig. I don't think a piano bench is high enough for me, but would like to try the stool Donny was suggesting, if I could only find one in a store around here. My other problem is that the keyboard does not feel sturdy enough on the X-stand, when I stand (but I think we have beaten this one to death in the other thread).

Regards,

Alex
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Alex

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#100903 - 05/02/03 11:31 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
KN_Fan Offline
Member

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 481
Hi Scott,
I agree with UD. My response is basically just echoing what UD and others said already. Standing looks better and more mobility. When you dance also- the audience will feel more energy.

Perhaps you're already doing this- fast song, standing. Slow song, sitting down..but since you're already setting up your keyboard for standing position, you'll need a high stool to rest.

From our conversation the other day I'm not surprised that you're practically standing with one foot. You control a lot of stuff with pedals (I only use it for sustain...that's about it).

I don't know how weird this would look...can you live with two microphones? Perhaps one head set and one standing microphones for the Harmonizer. That should eliminate one pedal function.

for Fill ins-can't you just use the fill in button (I think you also use pedal for this right?) I played a very brief gig (at a Mexican restaurant for a month) before. Played some fast songs- I managed to do just fine. Of course, sorry to make a comparison between my amateur gig to yours.

That's my .02.....

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#100904 - 05/02/03 12:09 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
trtjazz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 2683
Here's keys players that come to my mind that all sit for the majority of their performance with only the occasional get up....Oscar Peterson, Stevie Wonder Barry Manilow, Elton John Jerry Lee Lewis Burt Bacharach Carol King Brian Wilson Melissa Manchester Bruce Hronsby......so it can work I think.

------------------
jam on,
Terry http://imjazzed.homestead.com/Index.html
_________________________
jam on,
Terry
http://www.artisans-world.com/

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#100905 - 05/02/03 12:11 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Leon Offline
Member

Registered: 04/14/99
Posts: 585
Loc: British Columbia
Hi Scott...Late post.
Yeah, I too prefer to stand now. I used to do the bench, but visually, at least for me and my particular audience. it works out better. When it comes down to it though...either standing or sitting, as long as you're giving 110% and the audience is enjoying what you're offering...to each his own..(or her own)...not to offend our female forum members.
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...L

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#100906 - 05/02/03 12:23 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 11580
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by trtjazz:
Oscar Peterson, Stevie Wonder Barry Manilow, Elton John Jerry Lee Lewis Burt Bacharach Carol King Brian Wilson Melissa Manchester Bruce Hronsby......


Right .... all concert players. They don't do what WE do. They have the benifit of stage crews, band members, theatrical lighting etc..... I saw Elton lay on the floor in front of the piano once too ..... should we all do THAT?
_________________________
Every instrument, every voice, every sound in nature ... these are are all my private tutors ... 24/7 for free, and all I have to do is listen.

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#100907 - 05/02/03 12:36 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
KN_Fan Offline
Member

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 481
UD Wrote:
I saw Elton lay on the floor in front of the piano once too ..... should we all do THAT?

Uncle D,
After five beers...does that count?

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#100908 - 05/02/03 02:48 PM Re: 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...
Quote:
Originally posted by trtjazz:
Here's keys players that come to my mind that all sit for the majority of their performance with only the occasional get up....Oscar Peterson, Stevie Wonder Barry Manilow, Elton John Jerry Lee Lewis Burt Bacharach Carol King Brian Wilson Melissa Manchester Bruce Hronsby......so it can work I think.


Terry, now that you've mention it, I've attended many smaller club venues (similar to the 'room size' I play) which have featured Chick Corea, Harry Connick Jr, Michael Feinstein, Diana Krall (and who play the same type of material I do), and they ALL perform 'sitting down', whether singing & playing the acoustic piano or on a synth with backing tracks.

Quote:
Response by Uncle Dave:
Right .... all concert players. They don't do what WE do. They have the benifit of stage crews, band members, theatrical lighting etc.....


I don't know about others, but I 'DO' consider myself a concert player, whether it be a 45 minute show for a senior retirement center, or a show at a small local theatre where tickets are sold. No stage crew or band members, but lighting & small stage may or may not be available, with the audience seated. For venues like this, sitting provides a more intimate interaction with the audience. On the other hand, for large venues (large banquet parties, weddings, dances, etc), unless you are on a stage or riser along with stage lighting, standing is mandatory if you want to make any kind of visual impression.

Uncle Dave: I just checked those two pictures of you performing in a bar (one taken by Tom Cavanaugh and the other taken by Donny Pesce) and noticed that they both show you 'seated' while playing the keyboard. Is this the norm for these smaller club gigs or do you usually play standing up for these too? Btw: I'm still waiting to hear about any tricks (techniques) used to avoid back pain when performing standing up (without a stool) especially when a good portion of your weight needs to be on the opposite foot than the foot that's used to operate the sustain pedal. I'm wondering if I need to reposition the sustain pedal to be more directly underneath my right foot when in full standing position, as opposed to the pedal situated more underneath the keyboard, which creates feeling more unbalanced. Exactly WHERE do you recommend placing the sustain pedal when standing?

As an added note (and to further the topic conversation): I take along a piece of thin plywood with indiviual (3) pedals mounted to it using industrial strength velco to keep them from moving around. The plywood is kept from moving by the kb stand itself. What do others here do to prevent your foot pedals from slipping & sliding around on the floor?

Scott
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#100909 - 05/02/03 03:19 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
trtjazz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 2683
Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Dave:
Right .... all concert players. They don't do what WE do. They have the benifit of stage crews, band members, theatrical lighting etc..... I saw Elton lay on the floor in front of the piano once too ..... should we all do THAT?


Dave,
Bottom line in my experience is, A good show is a good show. It's more about the excitement that the performer passes on to the audience, not whether they sit or stand. I once caught Santana and John McGaughlin at the Chicago opera house, they came out and jammed for 3 hours on acoustic guitars sitting cross legged on the floor and is one of the more memorable shows I've ever seen.

Over the years I have played in and seen hundreds of acts in small clubs clearly the majority of the keys players were sitting and I never thought to myself, what a dull act the guy/girl should be standing.

The canarys sans the keyboard I see standing and is the norm.Usually the keys players I see standing are the rock & rollers.

Performers great at what they do leave an audience wanting more by their skills not theatrics and parlor tricks.

What's next for the Uncle Dave dog and pony show, pyrotechnics? That'll get you dancing to the rhythm.



------------------
jam on,
Terry http://imjazzed.homestead.com/Index.html
_________________________
jam on,
Terry
http://www.artisans-world.com/

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#100910 - 05/02/03 03:21 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14564
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Scott,
My footswitch, which I purchased with the Digitech Vocalist VR, has three switches and measures about 8 inches wide. There are small, rubber feet on each corner that prevent it from moving. You have to physically pick it up in order to move it to another position--you cannot slide it with your feet.

Tonight, I'm headed to the carpet store and picking up a 2X3 piece of plush carpet, and additionally, the thickest carpet pad they sell. A friend of mine who plays in Baltimore tried this about three weeks ago and said he no longer has back pain or sore feet, even after doing a 5-hour stint at the keyboard. I'll let you know if it works for me.

Good Luck,

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

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#100911 - 05/02/03 04:54 PM Re: 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...
Quote:
Originally posted by travlin'easy:
Scott,
My footswitch, which I purchased with the Digitech Vocalist VR, has three switches and measures about 8 inches wide.


Hi Gary: Can you please provide the brand/model number and possibly a website link with pic? Thanks. - Scott
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#100912 - 05/02/03 05:16 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
trtjazz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 2683
Here's one Scott. http://www.tc-helicon.tc/Default.asp?Id=542

$40.00 @ Muscicans Friend.

------------------
jam on,
Terry http://imjazzed.homestead.com/Index.html

[This message has been edited by trtjazz (edited 05-02-2003).]
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jam on,
Terry
http://www.artisans-world.com/

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#100913 - 05/02/03 05:35 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14564
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Scott,
It's the Digitech FS300, which has a single, 1/4-inch, stereo connection on the back of the switch. I checked the schematic diagram and you can pretty much use it for any function, and if you wish, put together a modified, three-line cable that can go to three different devices. The switch was about $39 at the local music store.

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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#100914 - 05/02/03 05:45 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
brickboo Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 2068
Loc: Fruita, Colorado, USA
Scott the greatest of all "Ray Charles" sits and so does another exceptional singer player that you even remarked about his "presence." Sonny G.

If you can play you can do it laying down and people will take note.

In essence, do it the way you are more comfortable. If your back bothers you, take care of it. You'll probably be doing this a long time. Unless you want to come mix mortar for me to lay brick. Ha! Ha!
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I'm not prejudiced, I hate everybody!! Ha ha! My Sister-In-Law had this tee shirt. She was a riot!!!

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#100915 - 05/03/03 03:54 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
trtjazz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 2683
Quote:
Originally posted by brickboo:

If you can play you can do it laying down and people will take note.



Brick,
I agree 100%
Terry



------------------
jam on,
Terry http://imjazzed.homestead.com/Index.html
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jam on,
Terry
http://www.artisans-world.com/

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#100916 - 05/03/03 08:56 AM Re: 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...
Quote:
Originally posted by travlin'easy:
Scott,
It's the Digitech FS300, which has a single, 1/4-inch, stereo connection on the back of the switch. I checked the schematic diagram and you can pretty much use it for any function, and if you wish, put together a modified, three-line cable that can go to three different devices. The switch was about $39 at the local music store.
Gary


Hi Gary,

I think I'm confused . Let me see if I got this right: The 1/4" stereo ouput cable from the FS300 switch box plugs into yet 'another'? $39 switchbox used to convert the FS300's stereo ouput into 3 separate mono cable lines?

Please provide more detail how to configure the 'Digitech FS300 3 button foot switch' to work with & connect directly into the 3 footswitch inputs (1/4" mono) on the Yamaha Tyros or PSR2000 (two 1/4" mono inputs). If an 'additional' switchbox is required, what brand/model is recommended? - Scott
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#100917 - 05/03/03 09:56 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Uncle Dave Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/01/99
Posts: 11580
Loc: Philadelphia Pa, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Scottyee:
I just checked those two pictures of you performing in a bar and noticed that they both show you 'seated'


Scott,
That's the only place that I sit, unless it's an acoustic job. The owner spend about $700 on the psuedo-piano shell that houses my keyboard, and it was made to look like a spinet piano ..... so I can't adjust the height of the keys. I have a tall stool, and I often get up during the night just to relax !

If I use MY stand ... I stand.
As to back pain:
I try to limit the overuse of the susatain, but I really do use it alot on piano parts. I get a break when doing dance tunes on organ or brass, and I can readjust to a shouldar width stance on both feet. Ahhhhh....

Playing Clav parts also does not require sustain, so I get a break on the funky stuff too.

Terry ....
No dogs or ponys in my future shows ..... guess you'll have to watch "animal planet" for that level of entertainment.
_________________________
Every instrument, every voice, every sound in nature ... these are are all my private tutors ... 24/7 for free, and all I have to do is listen.

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#100918 - 05/03/03 11:11 AM Re: 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...
Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Dave:
.
As to back pain:
I try to limit the overuse of the susatain, but I really do use it alot on piano parts. I get a break when doing dance tunes on organ or brass, and I can readjust to a shouldar width stance on both feet. Ahhhhh....


Ahhhh . . . It looks like you understand what I'm talking about now , being the acoustic piano is my principal performance instrument (in addition to my voice), the majority of my show consists of me playing the piano patch (along with the sustain pedal) 95% of the time. I've even experimented with moving the sustain pedal as close as possible to where my two feet (standing) are positioned at 'shoulder stance', but once my right foot begins controling the sustain pedal (throughout the song), my body alignment immediately becomes off balance, resulting in lower back ache strain. I can deal with this for 3-4 songs, but by the end of the night. . . . ouch
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#100919 - 05/03/03 11:25 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 40918
Quote:
Originally posted by Scottyee:
, being the acoustic piano is my principal performance instrument (in addition to my voice), the majority of my show consists of me playing the piano patch (along with the sustain pedal) 95% of the time.


Scott,

Just wondering about the above statement.....I'm surprised that your not using a 88 or at least a 76 key "PIANO" with styles/arranger features so you have the key range needed to suit a piano player plus accomp.
There are so many new portable Models on the market.

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#100920 - 05/03/03 12:19 PM Re: 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...
Hi Donny: Good question. It admittedly took me quite some time to adapt to playing acoustic piano convincingly on a synth action kb, but now that I finally have, I'm NOT willing to give up its lightweight-small 27 lb gig portability vs dragging a heavier & larger (awkward & longer) 88 note fully weighted arranger board.

I'll admit that when playing a keyboard in 'solo piano' mode, it's a clear advantage to having 88 notes, but, when playing in arranger keyboard (auto accompaniment) split KB mode, as I do on the Tyros, the left hand (left of split)only requires cover 1-1/2 octaves (C1 - F#2), plenty enough to handle all chord voicings & inversions (including the more advanced rootless jazz style), leaving G2 thru C6 (3-1/2 octaves) available for the right hand. This (along with the added option of the octave shift button) provides enough (for me) for my acoustic piano playing in 'arranger keyboard' mode. I suppose I'm now more of an arranger player than strict acoustic piano player now, and adapting piano playing techniques to the arranger. I admit that it's a refreshing joy to play an 88 note acoustic piano along with real musicians (bass player, drummer) and have the opportunity to polish up my I'm sure rusty acoustic piano technique.
Guess it's time to wipe the dust off the Steinway. - Scott
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#100921 - 05/04/03 08:03 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14564
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Scott,
The FS300 was orriginally designed to be used with the Digitech Vocalist and uses a single, 1/4-inch, stereo connection at both ends of the cable. However, after looking at the schematic diagram, I was able to constuct a custom cable that has a single 1/4-inch stereo cable at one end, and splits into three 1/4-inch mono cables at the other end. It took a while to figure out the combinations, becuase within the switch box is a series of three momentary switches and two blocking diodes that make all this possible. As for use with the Vocalist VR, the switch on the right turns the harmony on/off, the center switch is reverb on/off, and the left switch is a program selector. I've built several small, multi-switch boxes for some local musicians and there's really nothing to it.

Cheers,

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

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#100922 - 05/05/03 12:45 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Scott Langholff Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/09/02
Posts: 3106
Loc: Pensacola, Florida, USA
My two cents:

In my rock band chord organ days I stood most of the time.

As I am really an organist, Hammond in the old days and Lowrey now, I always sit. I am a concert, dance music, jazzy type player. I don't sing, but sometimes I play trumpet with my right hand and keyboard with my left hand transposed down to Bb. I've had no problem for me or with any audiences because of sitting down. But, it probably is the reason I really prefer not to use a music rack. I think its important especially in my case that the audience can see my hands move and also I kind of move around on my seat, moving my legs tapping my feet, swaying back and forth etc. I have considered a video camera pointed at my hands with a TV monitor so the audience can really see what I do. I have done this before in concerts and people tend to be quite impressed with it.

As far as everybodys back is concerned, I learned a few things the hard way too. Make sure your wallet is not too thick, filled with a bunch of stuff. Empty it(send me the cash), or make sure you push it to the side so you don't sit on it. You would be amazed how many back aches come from that.

Make sure the heels on your shoes are not worn too much. I can vouch for this one big time.

Since I sit all the time, the trick to doing that for hours and feeling good and comfortable with no discomfort is to sit up straight, or you will have back discomfort, your lungs will not have enough room to get oxigen, meaning less fuel to the brain and body, so you will start to tire very rapidly. Found this out the hard way too. In my work (selling Lowrey organs) we used to spend a lot of time at the store front, standing and playing. At first this was tiring. But once you learn how to balance etc. it gets easy. At one time we had an organ in a Morrisons cafeteria at the mall. I was to play it every day for an hour or so. But I found myself getting tired, sleepy, I experienced lack of concentration and generally didn't play that great and wasn't having fun. After I analyzed it, I found I was leaning forward hunching over (very easy to do on a two manual organ), so I just tried to straighten up for an experiment and this took care of it.

Another example of posture. I have a student with a severe back problem. She was going to give up the organ because she could only play for about 15 minutes before she would have to quit. I spent some time with her shifting positions moving the bench forward and backward, having her sit closer to the front of the bench and then sliding back on the bench. I also worked with her arm and hand position, and helped her find her center of balance. The next day I called to see how it went. She had played for two hours with no back discomfort.

As far as lifting things in and out of a trunk, I can guarentee, the older you get you will not even question that this is very hard on your back, not to mention the joints in your arms and shoulders.

Scott Langholff

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#100923 - 05/05/03 11:42 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14564
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Well boys and girls, after reading all the posts on the subject, plus all of the previous posts on the subject from just two months ago, I decided to try standing again.

Last night, while doing a three-hour private party, I tried standing on a heavily padded 2X3 section of plush carpet. Inside my shoes were soft inserts, which I wear most of the time. Keep in mind that I rarely take more than a five minute break between sets, and if the dancefloor is filled, I don't take a break at all.

At the end of three hours, my feet hurt, my back ached and I wasn't sure if I would be able to walk. My knees felt like the Tin Man's in the Wizard of Oz, in dire need of an oil can to get them moving.

Today, after writing two newspaper columns, I set up the X-stand, and tried a stool. Yep, it definitely put me up higher, but made it nearly impossible to reach the foot pedal. Additionally, the distance view the audience would have of my torso would be exactly the same when I'm sitting on my keyboard bench and the keyboard's lowered accordingly.

The bottom line is, for me, standing is out of the question. At the end of a five-hour gig they would have to wheel me out to the van on my refrigerator dolly and break by legs so I could drive home. Sometimes, especially during the past few years, I think I'm getting too olkd for this stuff. when I kick off, someone is going to inherit a lot of good equipment.

Cheers,

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

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#100924 - 05/06/03 08:44 AM Re: 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...
Quote:
Originally posted by travlin'easy:
The bottom line is, for me, standing is out of the question.


hi Gary: Perhaps standing provides improved audience visability, but except for short presentations (less than 30 minutes), I too can no longer deal with the painful fatigue and backache that occurs during standing kb performance. The bottom line is that no matter how you look at it, standing for long periods (in itself) is hard on ones lower back', but made worse when you have to extend your shoulders, arms & hands forward to play a kb, while at the same time not able to 'maintain' a solid stance on BOTH feet because kb playing also requires lifting up one foot to activate the footswitches (sustain, etc). This basically means having to support your entire body with the other foot, throwing off a centered balance. This is even worse if you play the sustain pedal a LOT (throughout most songs) like I do, as this means your weight is not being supported by both feet for the majority of the evening. I suppose I'll never solve the secret to painless standing position keyboard performance.
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#100925 - 05/06/03 09:06 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 40918
Boyz,

Standing does take time to build up the leg muscles, one gig is not a judge of inacative legs. I stand 250+ gigs a year with no problems what so ever.. I'm 50, but thats just me. Sitting makes me feel so helpless and not in control and I cant have that.
My singing would also be hindered by singing from a singing position for sure.

Gary,

Why do you only take 5 min breaks?
Whats up with that? I hope they are paying you for continuous Music.


[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 05-06-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 05-06-2003).]

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#100926 - 05/06/03 10:31 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
tony mads usa Online   cool2
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 13262
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
...... Have any of you tried one of these ... http://www.uline.com/ProductDetail.asp?model=H-651BL
I remember about 120 years ago when I was a young lad working as a computer operator we had mats like this in front of the console to help reduce wear and tear on our back and legs ... Of course I don't know how well they worked because I was muuuuuuch younger and NOTHING hurt !!! ....
t.
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t. cool

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#100927 - 05/06/03 03:34 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
Fran Carango Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9226
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
Tony, I purchased one of these pads at Home Depot for $8...I don't use it to stand on, I throw it over the electric wires outside the home when I need to use an extension ladder near the wires...I guess you can say it is a life saver...
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#100928 - 05/06/03 03:58 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
pierce buckley Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 11
Loc: Cahir Co Tipperary Ireland
I have flat foot so I sit --

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#100929 - 05/06/03 08:56 PM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14564
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Donny,

I kinda' got in the habit of taking short breaks many years ago when I was a kid playing lead guitar with a bunch of guys I was in the navy with. I think the longest break I've ever taken was maybe 15 minutes, and I think that was only once when one of the keyboard's crapped out. When I was 50, there were lots of body parts that were still functional--now some of those parts are missing. Gettin' old ain't fer whimps and sissies!

Cheers,

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

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#100930 - 05/07/03 05:33 AM Re: Re-evaluating the Standing vs Sitting Keyboard Playing Position
tony mads usa Online   cool2
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 13262
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Fran Carango:
Tony, I purchased one of these pads at Home Depot for $8...I don't use it to stand on, I throw it over the electric wires outside the home when I need to use an extension ladder near the wires...I guess you can say it is a life saver...


Fran.. Whatever works, for whatever purpose ....
t.
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t. cool

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