I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
Evangelos Skropidas

Re: I'm never really totally in a

Post by Evangelos Skropidas » Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:41 pm

12 years playing electric guitar made me used to not only stand, but to jump up and down while playing :lol: I just prefer to sit comfortably. When I have the money I will certainly buy an Ergoplay and be done with the footstool. Maybe I wil try and make a diy ergoplay style support if I can find any plans for it.

Jeffrey.C
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Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Jeffrey.C » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:53 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Chicken or the egg? The footstool raises the left leg higher than the plane of the hip. Pretty much every ergonomic material that I've read on the seated position has BOTH legs sloping down, with the knees lower than the hips.
Whichever way you look at it the classical footstool position is not a 'natural' position for any human being to be in for any lengthy period of time. You can say the same for a Guitar strap, ergoplay, dynarette etc. but at least these devices place the person in what is considered a more ergonomical position. They have also become very popular.

I'm well aware on the wealth of literature that says the foot-stool raises the leg so that the body isn't in an ergonomic position and well, it's true but, that doesn't mean it's a cause for injury. It's easier to screw it up and injure yourself but there is a way to sit with it properly. Look at the world's top players, Williams, Azabagic, Tamayo, Gorbach, Bianco, Perroy, Krivokapic, Vidovic -- I could go on. There's a reason why they choose to use the foot-stool and it's not because of classical dogma. Using a foot-stool, any support (or playing an instrument really) and not injuring yourself is all about balance and positioning which is something missed by many teachers who don't necessarily know how to use a foot-stool correctly and it's not really their fault given how the guitar didn't really have a solid pedagogy until recent history compared to other instruments.

As for the popularity of the ergoplay, dynarette etc. they are easier to use in a way that won't fatigue the player as quickly but at the same time, there are heaps of players who don't use it properly. There are heaps of players who manage to use the thigh-supports incorrectly just like the foot-stool.
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." - Gustav Mahler

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Michael.N.
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Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:48 am

Sure. Of course one can play perfectly relaxed using a footstool. My point was really that the footstool places the player in a less than optimal position. Some of the more recent innovations places the player in a more ergonomic position. That in itself will lead to fewer players experiencing injuries. Of course they will not eliminate injuries entirely. It's simply that the likelihood is diminished somewhat.

Azabagic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YFgp4m-4Yc

Gorbach:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxj2zz_Jmyg

Not really the finest examples to support the use of the footstool. Notice both players right leg. Both have a tendency to move it around a lot. Probably (perhaps correctly) to relieve tension. Vidovic I can't watch ( :shock: ) without feeling intense neck ache!
Williams is one of the few who actually appears to be 'relaxed' and extremely 'correct'. Not many footstool players come even close to his demeanor.
Historicalguitars.

Scott Morris

Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Scott Morris » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:36 am

I have one of those Gitano guitar supports that allow you to sit normally(legs down) but yet keeps the guitar raised in the "classical" position. Notice it was never brought up in this thread. Is that something that is shunned around here?


Scott

Jeffrey.C
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Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Jeffrey.C » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:52 am

Michael.N. wrote:Sure. Of course one can play perfectly relaxed using a footstool. My point was really that the footstool places the player in a less than optimal position. Some of the more recent innovations places the player in a more ergonomic position. That in itself will lead to fewer players experiencing injuries. Of course they will not eliminate injuries entirely. It's simply that the likelihood is diminished somewhat.

Azabagic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YFgp4m-4Yc

Gorbach:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxj2zz_Jmyg

Not really the finest examples to support the use of the footstool. Notice both players right leg. Both have a tendency to move it around a lot. Probably (perhaps correctly) to relieve tension. Vidovic I can't watch ( :shock: ) without feeling intense neck ache!
Williams is one of the few who actually appears to be 'relaxed' and extremely 'correct'. Not many footstool players come even close to his demeanor.
I agree
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." - Gustav Mahler

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by AndreiKrylov » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:21 pm

Yes, you could play almost in any position when you are young and strong, sitting, with footstool or not, with ergoplay etc.
Yes there are some players who managed to keep their bodies well and have long careers and avoid major injuries from thousands and thousands of hours of sitting in basically not comfortable pose...
Similar to some people who could smoke and yet live to 100 years, or work with asbestos and do not develop cancer etc.
But majority of guitarists who spent thousands and thousands of hours playing in sitting position develop different problems and back pain as they aging...
For the young people the concept of aging is not something which they really understand...
when we young we feel invincible, we could do anything, our health is endless and we could challenge it any way we would like...
When there are other people ... who could come to the guitar in older age... and one of the reason (together with the love of music and sound of the guitar) that they feel that this activity is relaxing, that for the most people classical guitar is associated with sitting...

Therefore my try to convince some guitarists here, that playing in standing (free, relaxed)
position is normal for classical guitar and even more ergonomic and productive as the way to work, all my efforts to try to convince people here to try to play standing are useless and waste of my time...
Please forgive me for my point of view which came after many years of working with guitar (44 years to be precise) and do whatever you feel right for you.

Good luck with your guitar experience!


Jeffrey.C wrote:
Michael.N. wrote:
Chicken or the egg? The footstool raises the left leg higher than the plane of the hip. Pretty much every ergonomic material that I've read on the seated position has BOTH legs sloping down, with the knees lower than the hips.
Whichever way you look at it the classical footstool position is not a 'natural' position for any human being to be in for any lengthy period of time. You can say the same for a Guitar strap, ergoplay, dynarette etc. but at least these devices place the person in what is considered a more ergonomical position. They have also become very popular.

I'm well aware on the wealth of literature that says the foot-stool raises the leg so that the body isn't in an ergonomic position and well, it's true but, that doesn't mean it's a cause for injury. It's easier to screw it up and injure yourself but there is a way to sit with it properly. Look at the world's top players, Williams, Azabagic, Tamayo, Gorbach, Bianco, Perroy, Krivokapic, Vidovic -- I could go on. There's a reason why they choose to use the foot-stool and it's not because of classical dogma. Using a foot-stool, any support (or playing an instrument really) and not injuring yourself is all about balance and positioning which is something missed by many teachers who don't necessarily know how to use a foot-stool correctly and it's not really their fault given how the guitar didn't really have a solid pedagogy until recent history compared to other instruments.

As for the popularity of the ergoplay, dynarette etc. they are easier to use in a way that won't fatigue the player as quickly but at the same time, there are heaps of players who don't use it properly. There are heaps of players who manage to use the thigh-supports incorrectly just like the foot-stool.
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

Evangelos Skropidas

Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Evangelos Skropidas » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:49 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:Yes, you could play almost in any position when you are young and strong, sitting, with footstool or not, with ergoplay etc.
Yes there are some players who managed to keep their bodies well and have long careers and avoid major injuries from thousands and thousands of hours of sitting in basically not comfortable pose...
Similar to some people who could smoke and yet live to 100 years, or work with asbestos and do not develop cancer etc.
But majority of guitarists who spent thousands and thousands of hours playing in sitting position develop different problems and back pain as they aging...
For the young people the concept of aging is not something which they really understand...
when we young we feel invincible, we could do anything, our health is endless and we could challenge it any way we would like...
When there are other people ... who could come to the guitar in older age... and one of the reason (together with the love of music and sound of the guitar) that they feel that this activity is relaxing, that for the most people classical guitar is associated with sitting...

Therefore my try to convince some guitarists here, that playing in standing (free, relaxed)
position is normal for classical guitar and even more ergonomic and productive as the way to work, all my efforts to try to convince people here to try to play standing are useless and waste of my time...
Please forgive me for my point of view which came after many years of working with guitar (44 years to be precise) and do whatever you feel right for you.

Good luck with your guitar experience!


Jeffrey.C wrote:
Michael.N. wrote:
Chicken or the egg? The footstool raises the left leg higher than the plane of the hip. Pretty much every ergonomic material that I've read on the seated position has BOTH legs sloping down, with the knees lower than the hips.
Whichever way you look at it the classical footstool position is not a 'natural' position for any human being to be in for any lengthy period of time. You can say the same for a Guitar strap, ergoplay, dynarette etc. but at least these devices place the person in what is considered a more ergonomical position. They have also become very popular.

I'm well aware on the wealth of literature that says the foot-stool raises the leg so that the body isn't in an ergonomic position and well, it's true but, that doesn't mean it's a cause for injury. It's easier to screw it up and injure yourself but there is a way to sit with it properly. Look at the world's top players, Williams, Azabagic, Tamayo, Gorbach, Bianco, Perroy, Krivokapic, Vidovic -- I could go on. There's a reason why they choose to use the foot-stool and it's not because of classical dogma. Using a foot-stool, any support (or playing an instrument really) and not injuring yourself is all about balance and positioning which is something missed by many teachers who don't necessarily know how to use a foot-stool correctly and it's not really their fault given how the guitar didn't really have a solid pedagogy until recent history compared to other instruments.

As for the popularity of the ergoplay, dynarette etc. they are easier to use in a way that won't fatigue the player as quickly but at the same time, there are heaps of players who don't use it properly. There are heaps of players who manage to use the thigh-supports incorrectly just like the foot-stool.
Your opinion is not useless Andrei, we dont have to agree for it to be useful. I do agree that it is viable to play standing up, the thing is that I dont feel the same level of control over the instrument when playing standing, and I really like to sit down comfortably without tiring my feet :D
You really shouldnt think that way, that we find your contribution useless, it is not the case.

Jeffrey.C
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Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Jeffrey.C » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:09 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:Yes, you could play almost in any position when you are young and strong, sitting, with footstool or not, with ergoplay etc.
Yes there are some players who managed to keep their bodies well and have long careers and avoid major injuries from thousands and thousands of hours of sitting in basically not comfortable pose...
Similar to some people who could smoke and yet live to 100 years, or work with asbestos and do not develop cancer etc.
But majority of guitarists who spent thousands and thousands of hours playing in sitting position develop different problems and back pain as they aging...
For the young people the concept of aging is not something which they really understand...
when we young we feel invincible, we could do anything, our health is endless and we could challenge it any way we would like...
When there are other people ... who could come to the guitar in older age... and one of the reason (together with the love of music and sound of the guitar) that they feel that this activity is relaxing, that for the most people classical guitar is associated with sitting...

Therefore my try to convince some guitarists here, that playing in standing (free, relaxed)
position is normal for classical guitar and even more ergonomic and productive as the way to work, all my efforts to try to convince people here to try to play standing are useless and waste of my time...
Please forgive me for my point of view which came after many years of working with guitar (44 years to be precise) and do whatever you feel right for you.

Good luck with your guitar experience!
I wasn't going against your point...?

As for smokers not getting cancer from smoking and people working with asbestos, that's not a very good analogy, you can't exactly be taught a good smoking position so that you don't get cancer and it's not like there's a special pose one can assume to avoid getting cancer from inhaling asbestos particles.

My point wasn't that you could play in almost any position and be fine, my point was that if you're taught how to use the foot-stool correctly, you can avoid being injured. It's not just lucky that players like Williams and all the others I've mentioned have been able to play with the foot-stool without injuring themselves like your analogy points out.

I'm not disagreeing against your ideas on standing up to play either, playing standing up isn't considered classically 'correct' but if you can find a way to play in that position without getting injured and still play well, I don't see a problem with it.
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." - Gustav Mahler

DarkHorseJ27

Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by DarkHorseJ27 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:32 am

Jeffrey.C wrote:
AndreiKrylov wrote:Yes, you could play almost in any position when you are young and strong, sitting, with footstool or not, with ergoplay etc.
Yes there are some players who managed to keep their bodies well and have long careers and avoid major injuries from thousands and thousands of hours of sitting in basically not comfortable pose...
Similar to some people who could smoke and yet live to 100 years, or work with asbestos and do not develop cancer etc.
But majority of guitarists who spent thousands and thousands of hours playing in sitting position develop different problems and back pain as they aging...
For the young people the concept of aging is not something which they really understand...
when we young we feel invincible, we could do anything, our health is endless and we could challenge it any way we would like...
When there are other people ... who could come to the guitar in older age... and one of the reason (together with the love of music and sound of the guitar) that they feel that this activity is relaxing, that for the most people classical guitar is associated with sitting...

Therefore my try to convince some guitarists here, that playing in standing (free, relaxed)
position is normal for classical guitar and even more ergonomic and productive as the way to work, all my efforts to try to convince people here to try to play standing are useless and waste of my time...
Please forgive me for my point of view which came after many years of working with guitar (44 years to be precise) and do whatever you feel right for you.

Good luck with your guitar experience!
I wasn't going against your point...?

As for smokers not getting cancer from smoking and people working with asbestos, that's not a very good analogy, you can't exactly be taught a good smoking position so that you don't get cancer and it's not like there's a special pose one can assume to avoid getting cancer from inhaling asbestos particles.

My point wasn't that you could play in almost any position and be fine, my point was that if you're taught how to use the foot-stool correctly, you can avoid being injured. It's not just lucky that players like Williams and all the others I've mentioned have been able to play with the foot-stool without injuring themselves like your analogy points out.

I'm not disagreeing against your ideas on standing up to play either, playing standing up isn't considered classically 'correct' but if you can find a way to play in that position without getting injured and still play well, I don't see a problem with it.
I believe it is an apt analogy, in that he was trying to show that just because some people can get away with doing something bad without consequence it doesn't mean everyone can.

Dons

Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Dons » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:57 am

I do not think that you can compare using a foot stool to smoking or working with asbestos. I learned from my teachers to play using a foot stool and have been playing since 1977 without injury. Thanks to Jeffery for pointing out that some pretty good players also use a foot stool. I thought that using a foot rest also had to do with your elbows and shoulders and your posture in general. By sitting up straight you are able to have better access to the fretboard. Of course standing would do this but old habits are hard to change. It is interesting to hear what other people have to say as I did not realize that this was an area of controversy.

Jeffrey.C
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Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Jeffrey.C » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:56 am

DarkHorseJ27 wrote:I believe it is an apt analogy, in that he was trying to show that just because some people can get away with doing something bad without consequence it doesn't mean everyone can.

That's not the point I was getting at though, where did I say you could sit any way you wanted and if you were lucky enough you wouldn't get an injury? My point is that you can be taught how to use a foot-stool in such a way that you won't get injured or feel discomfort and his analogy implied that if you were just lucky enough, you could do whatever you wanted with a footstool and not get injured. I understand his analogy but don't agree with it because he didn't understand the point I was making -- maybe I wasn't making myself clear enough since I wrote that on about 4 hours of sleep over a day.
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." - Gustav Mahler

Scott Morris

Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Scott Morris » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:08 pm

Can someone here point out the correct way to use a foot stool? Never knew there was a right and wrong way to use one. It seems so simple.....



SM

Jeffrey.C
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Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Jeffrey.C » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:51 pm

Scott Morris wrote:Can someone here point out the correct way to use a foot stool? Never knew there was a right and wrong way to use one. It seems so simple.....



SM

Basically, there's quite a few things to think about when you're using a foot-stool...

Your height
The height of the chair
The height of the foot-stool
The size of the guitar
Positioning of the legs
Position of the arms
Position of the guitar
Balance
Weight

So the first thing that's most important is choosing the right chair and foot-stool height relative to your body height. Before you even put your foot onto the foot-stool or hold the guitar, place your feet about shoulder width apart bent at around a 90 degree angle (your shins shouldn't come in or outwards). While doing this, keep aware of your body and try to pinpoint any tension in your body at all (it usually manifests in the lower back for most players with bad foot positioning but it could happen in any part of the body). A good trick to find if you're sitting in a good position is to rock backwards and raise your legs in the air and to see if you feel tension and then to plant your feet on the ground and lean forward with a straight back and to see if you feel tension. If not, go ahead and place the foot-stool under your foot and do the same rock back and forth thing and try to feel for tension. If you do feel tension, think about the way you're placing your feet and determine where they need to go to relieve the tension. It's not very easy to describe what to look out for in what situation since it will be different for every player (everyone's proportions are different) and it's easier to correct problems in person. Ideally, good placement of the left leg happens when the left knee is in line with the left shoulder and the left foot can be barely seen when looking down. As for the right leg, placing it is a little more tricky and will take some playing around with but the bottom line is the same with sitting with any instrument: be comfortable.

Even if you do manage to sit comfortably with the foot-stool there are issues of playing well in both the right and left hands with good positionings and without tension. The tension often doesn't just affect the left and right hands but players trying to play beyond themselves will give themselves awful tensions in the shoulder, legs, back, jaw etc and as they keep pushing themselves thinking that it's normal to feel tension when playing a difficult piece and they eventually get back pains because all the tension in their body adds up and they blame it on the foot-stool.

Yeah, it is easier to injure yourself on the foot-stool because it is a less ergonomic position to be in than using a thigh-support or something but it isn't the cause of injury, bad positionings and a lack of body awareness are the cause of injuries on the guitar. I suppose alot of the hate that the foot-stool gets is because you see less people getting injured using a thigh-support because it's easier to stay injury-free with them but I have seen a few people give themselves some rather bad injuries using the thigh-supports too.
"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." - Gustav Mahler

Scott Morris

Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by Scott Morris » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:45 pm

Wow...I had no idea. I will print this out and try everything you suggested.

Thank you very much!


SM

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: I'm never really totally in a " -classical" - posture

Post by AndreiKrylov » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:20 pm

Dons wrote:I do not think that you can compare using a foot stool to smoking or working with asbestos. I learned from my teachers to play using a foot stool and have been playing since 1977 without injury. Thanks to Jeffery for pointing out that some pretty good players also use a foot stool. I thought that using a foot rest also had to do with your elbows and shoulders and your posture in general. By sitting up straight you are able to have better access to the fretboard. Of course standing would do this but old habits are hard to change. It is interesting to hear what other people have to say as I did not realize that this was an area of controversy.
Not some pretty good players use foot stool, but almost all classical guitar players use footstool or sit... I started to play with foot stool in 1968 :) and I still playing guitar and quite familiar with footstool and used it for years myself. Definitely I do not mean a straight comparison of footstool with smoking or asbestos... I just used those as examples that people have different health, strength and history...It was probably not the best comparison and I apologize for it.
It is an opposite thing - standing position considered in general as something non-classical, inconvenient, strange etc.
Myself I discovered that playing in standing (free) position immensely helped me in all aspects of my work. There is not only no difference in coordination and precision of both hands in sitting and standing position, but I could work much longer hours and stay concentrated all the time standing than sitting. I recorded almost all of my music standing.
I can't work for a long time sitting anymore... with footstool or not... I simply feel tired and feel pain, yet standing I could still work 8-10 hours a day and feel fine.
After having my own experience I looked in the Press and found great amount of medical studies etc. confirming my experience regarding sitting and standing in general.
That's why I shared my experience here - I thought it could help other people.
But I see that people here in general not interested in those scientific studies or my own experience. That's fine. Everybody should choose the best way for themselves.
I personally would gain nothing even if many guitarists will start to listen my arguments.
Therefore I'm sorry that I started this sitting versus standing discussion.
Please forgive me and forget me - I was wrong to start it.
My experience is absolutely irrelevant.
Good luck!
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

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