Keeping eye level with conductor and avoid neck spasms

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    I find that, by playing standing, I often bend my neck rather than look down at the music and the conductor. It seems easier when players are sitting to have their stands lower than eye level so they can see the conductor. Is it a posture issue that I need to be conscious of, even when practicing at home?

    What is the best way to correct this, do you think? I have tried sitting, doesn't work for me!

    Thanks for reading and sorry if posted in the wrong section!
  2. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    I play standing most of the time. I just keep the stand high enough for comfort and low enough so I can see the conductor. Pretty much eye level for the center of the stand. Maybe you're not standing as straight as you could be, use the mirror. You shouldn't be watching the conductor so much anyway, he/she will just confuse you.
  3. Try using other hinges to redirect your vision, particularly your knees and hips. I find that my playing posture while playing standing up lends itself nicely to a lowish music stand. I really don't stand perfectly straight anyways; a little more forward as if I were getting ready to perform an athletic task rather than a still, starionary one.
  4. Dbass926


    Jun 20, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    It's also crucial to keep your neck from locking, move your head and neck from time to time rather than aiming to keep it stationary.

    This problem is indicative of tension in your playing that you will have to deal with eventually. The sooner the better, to be sure.
  5. Michael Eisenman

    Michael Eisenman Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Eugene, Oregon
    I place the stand at a comfortable level to read the music. I don't so much look at the conductor as notice his movements in my peripheral vision.
  6. Yes, if you are standing, the stand should be high enough that you can read the music without looking down, and at the same time clearly see the conductor in your peripheral vision. If you do need to look directly at the conductor (which is required at times) you should be able to do so, simply by raising your eyes, not your head or neck.

    For me at 5'-11" standing, that means my school stand is pulled to the top of it's range.
  7. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Thanks all, some good advice here, let me put it to good use.
  8. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Whether I'm standing or sitting, I like to have the top of my stand, visually, level with the conductor's stand. I prefer to have a stand to myself rather than share. This way the conductor is always right in front of me and my eye/head movement is up and down plus I can catch most of the subtleties without actually having to look up or away from the notes. I look up if there's a cue so he/she knows I am actually watching.
    DC Bass likes this.
  9. DanielPerry

    DanielPerry Guest

    Dec 7, 2014
    Winnipeg, MB
    I like to have the stand high enough to cover the conductor, so I don't get distracted and mess up.
    Torkil Hjelle and neilG like this.