nachthorn Posted May 20, 2007 Share Posted May 20, 2007 This is my first post, although I've been 'lurking' for a while now, reading the various discussions with interest. Bit of a weighty topic for an opener, but I hope it's of interest! I've been playing for fifteen years now (since the age of 12), and although the organ and related music has always been a big interest for me, I've often felt less than comfortable when playing. In particular, my pedal technique is almost non-existent because it has always felt like a real physical struggle, and I'm afraid that the standard of my playing suffers considerably. Nonetheless I got through the ABRSM grades at school, and I'm now looking at doing the CertRCO. I recently bought a toaster to do some home practice, and got my girlfriend (a proper musician well versed in Alexander Technique) to look closely at my posture at the console as I play. Now, at 6' 5" tall, I realise that most consoles are unlikely to be designed with me in mind, but I never realised just how bad my posture was while playing. Once pointed out, it became clear that: 1. To allow my feet to slide across the top of the pedal keys, I had to lift my legs up quite strongly, leading to muscle tension in the tops of my legs (and resultant restriction of both vertical and horizontal movement). 2. Partly as a result of (1) I was also lifting the toes of my feet hard and holding my heels back towards me, leading to my legs/feet ending up in a sort of 'Z' shape. All of this gets my feet in roughly the right position to play, but rules out any chance of flexibility and quickly leads to cramp - not the best way to play any instrument! 3. Because of the placing of my knees and the need to raise the bench (and, if I admit it, to be able to find pedal notes by sight because of (1) and (2) above) I was sitting too far back, causing me to slump forward and leading to back muscle tension. All of this shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was certainly an eye-opener. Essentially, I enjoy playing and I'd like to think I have the musical ability to play well, but physically I'm a disaster area because of my height. The question is, are there any other tall organists who've found/solved this problem? I know that raising the bench must help to an extent, but how far can I raise it before I start creating problems with my physical approach to the manuals instead? Should I be aiming for the soles of my shoes to brush across the tops of the pedal keys when relaxed, or is some sort of raising of the legs needed by everyone to play the pedals properly? (Apologies to those who weren't expecting a post mentioning 'legs' this many times. I'll try not to do it again... ) NH Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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