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What's Your Playing Stance?

Halfers

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For no practical reason, other than because the thought has come into my Head.

Whilst having a blow and a waggle this morning (I've moved on from not being much bothered about playing, to having a regular blow and waggle, which is my personal and loosely descriptive approach to "intense" practice), I had a thought about how I hold and stand as I practice. (I appreciate some sit whilst playing and we've had a thread on this recently).

My usual playing stance (if I'm standing, with a Tenor, the connoisseur's choice) is pretty much square on, with the tube of the Sax running straight down the centre of my body. I don't know why I do this, but I do. I generally rest the bow of the horn against the inside of my right leg and hold the horn quite close to my body rather than push it far in front of me like Sonny does! I find that a bit of a strain on my thumb.

I had a bit of a play around with my batting stance today, turning to my right side by around 40 Degrees and running the Sax down the right side of my body like I've seen lots of players do. This creates a much different angle on the Sax, puts less strain on my thumbs and I found I was much more able to finger lower notes with less pressure. Having made the suitable adjustments to the neck and mouthpiece angle to suit my new 'style', I adjusted my strap a bit higher. It seemed to have a slight improvement on my Tone, or at least it sounded a bit different. Maybe my left ear, being the one close to the horn, hears a bit differently...

Is anyone still reading... blimey, you must be as bored as I am :confused2:

What's your preferred stance? I imagine it might be affected by a number of things (or not)

What version of the Sax you're playing
Whether you're practising or performing
Whether you're sitting or standing
Whether you're feeling in the mood (or playing 'In The Mood', or 'I'm In The Mood For Love' or 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing (romarncing)')
Whether you're trying to impress a certain member of the Audience
If your Back is up to it

Do you have any 'performing' stances that you bring out for the big occasions or after that big glass of wine. Maybe you have a magic move that wows Audiences (what were they, Daddy?)
Anyone stand on one leg like that bloke out of that Prog Band with the Flute?
Interesting stories of stances that went bad?..

Pictures would be enjoyable..
 

BigMartin

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puts less strain on my thumbs and I found I was much more able to finger lower notes with less pressure. Having made the suitable adjustments to the neck and mouthpiece angle to suit my new 'style', I adjusted my strap a bit higher. It seemed to have a slight improvement on my Tone, or at least it sounded a bit different
Seems like you answwered your own question. It's more comfortable and works better --- for you. That's the postion we all need to find. Mine is similar to yours, except that 40° soubnds like quite a lot (I've never measured it. More square-on for alto, and less for baritone.
 
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Halfers

Halfers

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Seems like you answwered your own question. It's more comfortable and works better --- for you. That's the postion we all need to find. Mine is similar to yours, except that 40° soubnds like quite a lot (I've never measured it. More square-on for alto, and less for baritone.
Indeed. I'm not sure what the actual angle was, but if normal hip position for facing 'square' to a wall are hips at 9 and 3 (with the facing wall at 12, shifting my right hip back to around 4 or 4:30, that kind of thing. Anyway just a means of demonstrating the move rather than anything concrete.

It wasn't really as though I found standing square to be 'uncomfortable' as such, it's just that a random decision to have a play around found a slightly more 'comfortable' position and a change in (perceived) tone quality. That might though be coincidental.
 
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Halfers

Halfers

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One of the reasons I had a tinker with my stance is that over the Lock Down period, as well as doing a lot more walking than I would normally do, I'm also re connecting myself with a very simple set of Qi Gong exercises (Think T'ai Chi but a bit more static) I first came across 20 odd Years ago. Just simple, relaxing movements, awareness of body positioning, breathing etc. Very meditative and strenuous in a very different way to Calisthenic based exercise. Got me thinking about Body position and ease of movement whilst playing my horn.
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
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Interesting question. :thumb:

I have no choice but to sit when I'm practising, which is so often really annoying as I really like to move when I play. I hold both alto and tenor to the right side, resting on the outside of my hip.

Playing live, I actually have a similar problem as there's rarely any room at all to move on stage, too, as I/we are usually at the back. At least I get to stand, though, usually (I've noticed) with that rock guitarist's legs spread stance. If it's a more exciting section, the left leg comes forward so that you're sort of playing at the audience. Thinking about it, that's a guitarist's thing, too, as I used to put my foot on the monitor. :D

I'm sure I must have a pic or two somewhere with the different stances.

Sax-wise, that spends most of its time resting (or possibly more accurately described as anchored) to the front of my right hip. I occasionally have it to the side (if I'm moving and want the sax to remain as stable as possible or, as in the case of the attached image, because there's wasn't enough room to have it anywhere else). Sometimes the sax is held in front of my body - this is purely a visual performance thing for me as I don't find it a comfortable way to play.

poses.jpg
 
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Halfers

Halfers

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Interesting question. :thumb:

I have no choice but to sit when I'm practising, which is so often really annoying as I really like to move when I play. I hold both alto and tenor to the right side, resting on the outside of my hip.

Playing live, I actually have a similar problem as there's rarely any room at all to move on stage, too, as I/we are usually at the back. At least I get to stand, though, usually (I've noticed) with that rock guitarist's legs spread stance. If it's a more exciting section, the left leg comes forward so that you're sort of playing at the audience. Thinking about it, that's a guitarist's thing, too, as I used to put my foot on the monitor. :D

I'm sure I must have a pic or two somewhere with the different stances.
Good pics!

Yes, so much of playing live is not conducive to live playing! (certainly in my set it up yerself in the corner of the sweaty pub experience).

Once I'd gained enough guts to take the horn on stage with me, I was pretty much forced to take up the same left leg forward, knee bent, lean into the sax mic and audience stance!) Not ideal but no option with the Bass Player's Headstock threatening my right ear and the guitarists elbow digging into my ribs and the Bass drum squeezing me up against the monitor. The positive was that I couldn't look the Audience in the eye while I was playing, which helped me remember what the hell I had to play!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
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3,657
Not to be outdone by Veggie Dave, I too mostly adopt the left foot forwards and lean towards the mic, except, when I feel a little more expressive (depends how pretty the young lady is too!
2487E275-35B7-4F95-93B6-E25462588216.jpeg
6C88E8C4-BFB3-4213-A712-28A8CC42E2E3.jpeg
 
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Halfers

Halfers

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Great stuff @Taz

I see you also go for the full on flamboyant! I have nowhere near the chops for flamboyant! I admire the showmanship!
 
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Halfers

Halfers

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Prof. Eugene Rousseau on "Sitting and Standing Positions for the Saxophone. See 4th video.

Thanks, Clive. It would be good to explore all aspects and approaches to the Sax Stance here. I've posted the video below of ease of access. It's a very 'Fundamentals' approach, which is useful. I'm not sure what Eugene would think of some of the Gig pics that have been posted.. :)

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=83&v=0oH-yIF49ic&feature=emb_logo
 
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Halfers

Halfers

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From a concert I saw last year. View attachment 14678
Who is this Nikki? Personally, I think the lean back while playing needs expertise and total confidence to pull off, so this guy is clearly a Pro. I never lean back when I play because I'd bum a note and no doubt put my back out of joint. I also admire the Suit and very comfortable shoes combo :)
 
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