Posture, and balance.

Posted: 7/22/2007 10:52:42 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

hey Thomas maybe check out working with an
Alexander Technique trainer
who knows might help
just a thought
Posted: 7/22/2007 11:15:44 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

Omhoge, I just googled the Alexander Technique, and it's funny you should mention it, because I started the theremin because I've been having severe, recurring vocal problems in the last few years. I may well look into it for the voice at least.

Posted: 7/22/2007 11:18:25 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

excellent yup it'll help
speaking, theremin playing
and pretty much any thing
that requires the spine
a smart investment
i think
go for it
Posted: 7/24/2007 8:53:00 AM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Thomas, yes coffee does help a bit sometimes.

A friend and I recently played at Starbucks and I had great energy and I could have played all night.

We actually have some video of the performance and I have bene debating whether I should post it somewhere.

It is informative for me to watch, though.

I reccomend video taping yourself to see how you look to others.

Ideally this should be done at an actual show to see how you act on stage.

You might be surprised.

Posted: 7/24/2007 10:28:03 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

The owner of the shop where I'm doing my saturday gigs suggest I videotape myself there for those same reasons.
Posted: 8/30/2007 12:19:39 PM

From: Brussels, Belgium

Joined: 8/27/2007

On the head too far back thing, a something singers are tought is to imagine being pulled up by a rope attached to the back of your head.
Posted: 8/30/2007 2:52:40 PM

From: St Paul, MN

Joined: 8/29/2007

Being a string bass player as well I have found that stretching my arms, wrists, waist and legs helps me keep better posture. I am aslo a BIG FAN of the Alexander Tec. Hey this works for me...
Posted: 9/2/2007 11:59:20 AM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

Reading up on the Alexander Technique, I was immediately struck by my related experience in fencing. It takes quite some time for a fencer to learn how not to fight his or her own body, but the effects are considerable. It greatly reduces fatigue and improves control; I will draw on those experiences.
Posted: 9/4/2007 11:50:50 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

As have other techniques, my stance has evolved over the last two years. The main influences have been the demands of the music, the need to avoid needless stress when playing, and to be presentable to viewers.

[b]Musical Demands[/b]

One tendency in my compositions has been to utilize an increasing note range. If I set zero beat at my shoulder, then the note spacings become smaller and hard to control. I tend to stand to the left of the theremin with zero beat approximately on my left shoulder. Thus, to play in the bass, I must shift my weight to my left foot. In general, the body of the Epro is even with my right shoulder. At times, I shift my weight to my right foot when playing higher notes.

However, for the most common part of the range (from around Tenor F up to F2) I do not have to shift my weight or lean.

When playing high notes, I use my perepheral vision to sight across my knuckles to the rod. I don't normally look at either of my hands, however when one plays close to the rod one must be aware of the left-right position of one's hand to the rod. On the Epro, I am always centered on the rod.

[b]Stress and Posture[/b]

The major sources of stress include: the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, wrist, and back.


Facial stress generally has more to do with one's concentration than posture. When I started playing and my family reported that I looked "pained" in my face, I consciously adopted a relaxed facial expression that with practice became habitual. This stress was the result of the intense concentration I was bringing to bear.

The problem with the facial expression is that listeners are uncomfortable looking at it. Another problem is that stress in the face transmits stress to the jaw, neck, shoulders, and arms.


When one is struggling to play, one may clench one's teeth. This tightens the jaw, neck, shoulders, arms, and wrists, too! The antidote is to keep your teeth slightly unclenched. This is not to suggest that you open your mouth, hang out your tongue, and drool on the stage! (Let your admirers do that!) Rather, the suggestion is to SLIGHTLY seperate your teeth and avoid clenching.


While one's concentration can cause stress in the face and jaw, FEAR causes stress in the neck. And what is the fear? For thereminists, it may be the fear of moving! After all, a slight movement is enough to throw things off pitch. An antidote to this is to distribute one's weight equally on both feet and assure yourself that when you are balanced, you won't move! In this case, extraneous movement is NOT the culprit, rather it is the FEAR of extraneous movement.

And the truth is, the determiner of pitch is the closest body part to the pitch antenna. Even if your head moves slightly as long as your torso doesn't move you probably will not upset your pitch.


Normal theremin playing should not stress your shoulders. If your shoulders hurt from theremin playing, then you may want to adjust your angle to the theremin or the height of the theremin. An overly low theremin height may encourage one to slouch forward which would cause stress to the shoulders and lower back.

[i]volume arm[/i]

I set the height of the theremin such that when I stand next to the loop with my arm at my side the front of the loop touches about 1 1/2" below my elbow. The point at which the sound becomes audible is set close to my loop -- if your "point of audibility" is higher, then you may need a correspondingly lower position for your height.

An overly-high position forces one to reach up to the loop, which needlessly stresses the upper arm.

[i]pitch arm[/i]

To avoid stress in the upper arm, I simply let my upper arm, from shoulder to elbow, hang in a relaxed manner. I make no effort to keep it rigidly at my side -- I just let it dangle. The elb
Posted: 9/5/2007 10:02:24 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

Kevin, Thank you for your outline. I do use most of the techniques you mentioned above, and it really does work. I have adjusted my stance recently, and I don't lean forward like I used to anymore.

Now, if I can just do something about facial expressions. (That's for another thread.)

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