Position of music stand when seated to play

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bizsmom, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Wow - are we beating this to death or what? I never really thought about it that much. I positioned the stand high enough so that looking over it to see the conductor wasn't that big of an issue, and if I just had to have my head buried in the music, I could still see the conductor enough through peripheral vision that it wasn't an issue. And I played off to the side - not into the stand.

    To me it was a matter of pragmatism - don't blow into the stand and place it where you can see what you need to see. Doesn't seem to difficult to me.
  2. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I think the issue that caused the original question had to do with how crowded the area was where the person plays -- in many situations there's plenty of room to place the stand how we want it and to hold our horns how we want to. But then there are theater pits and choir/organ lofts where there isn't a whole lot of room and everybody has to contort to fit into the space, leaving little room for extra space for any individual.
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I was always told to play[project] my sound to the person sitting in the last row. This is impossible if you're playing into the stand or the back of the player in front of you.Find a position where you can see the conductor and still have a clear path to the last row. I went to college on the GI bill ,so I was older than the others and used to always yell bells up to the rest of the section. Once they got used to doing this, we were able to be heard without working too hard.
  4. Jackson Arch

    Jackson Arch Piano User

    Mar 6, 2010
    dhbailey makes a good point. Sometimes, there just isn't much room for options. In a full band on a tight stage, there may be very little to no room between stands (calls for better sharing of stands). My wife, after attending a recent concert, mentioned to me on the way home that the trumpet players to my left were playing down or into their stands and she could not hear them. She said that there were a few times when I did the same and the trumpet section (8 trumpets...) sounded weak. Oouuch! :-o

    Had I realized the problem, that "bells up" command would have done wonders. That stage wasn't too terribly tight, so some could have played around the stands, but it was a good lesson.
  5. Bourbon City

    Bourbon City Pianissimo User

    Jun 8, 2004
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    I think you need to add into this equation of stand positioning the subject of setting position of the player.

    I'm not sure what they are teaching today, but I will always recommend the player sets on the outer part of the chair with back straight. Here's rest: Breath with the diaphram. Hold the trumpet with bell tilted downward. Position the stand slightly off to one side so not to block the sound. Position the stand high enough so the player can see the music with the Director in their peripheral vision. The player should be able to move their eyes easily from music to director and back as needed. Being able to see and understand the movement of the Director's arms is very important in selecting stand position.

    My 2-cents.
  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Click! Click! For a player that requires bi-focal lens correction and wears the conventional bifocal lens with a line, imagery between conductor and music becomes the irritating flicker. I wear a graduated lens.

    I learned to play from an orchestra music stand. The lay of my music was at a 30 degree angle up from a horizontal plane that measured 18". Take note that quite a few conductor podium stands are set at this same approximate angle.

    My point is if you can't play above such a music stand, don't expect me or many others to hire you. Now the question is getting around the head of the person in front of you and that is best solved by risers or space.

    The truth is that at home I played mostly from a angled drafting table "music stand." The clamp on table lamp was a boon!
  7. Bizsmom

    Bizsmom New Friend

    May 14, 2010
    North Georgia
    Thanks for all the info. I knew I could count on you good folks for lots of suggestions and opinions. My favorite is the idea of keeping the conductor a little blurry ;-)

    I'm an experienced musician (NOT professional by any stretch of the imagination)...but I've been away from the trumpet for awhile so I'm still working out some of the logistics. For vocal solo's I memorize my music so there are no obstructions when following a conducted piece (like some of the Messiah arias, etc.) and I will plan on memorizing any "solo" parts I happen to play on trumpet (if any get thrown my way :-) ). It's not realistic for me to memorize 6 or 7 hymns on a weekly basis, though...so I will employ some of the stand strategies presented here.

    Thanks again :-)
  8. Jackson Arch

    Jackson Arch Piano User

    Mar 6, 2010
    Ed Lee - Good point about the angle of the music stand. I remember, way back when, that we had these hardboard folding music stands which were made in a couple of heights. I reckon that was a fairly standard thing for Big Band equipment. Once set up, the music would lay on an angle less than 45 degrees, maybe approaching 30 degrees. Even if seated behind one, you'd have to point the horn waaaay down in order to get it into the stand.
  9. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Novato, CA, USA
    Al (Innella) is spot on, as usual.

    Want to tell the amateurs from the pros quickly? Look at who is playing into their stand. I kid you not.

    We play instruments that are VERY directional in output. It only makes sense that if we play into our stands, the sound will be diffused.

    Anyone who complains that this has been beaten to death has obviously not played with many community bands. Playing into the stand is endemic.

    Ever notice that on occasion some charts will indicate "in stand"? that's for a reason. It changes the sound drastically.
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Somewhere among my still unpacked memorabilia I have one of the hardboard (masonite) folding music stands our high school stage band used. They were cloth covered and hinged with a fabric tape reinforcement. During WWII a folding metal stand was considered strategic metal.

    Too, I've one of the $300 custom wooden cabinet stage music stands as were used in a group I later once played with. These cabinet stands provided rapid access to mutes, other sheet music and had solid turn out stands for instruments. I've refinished the face so as to remove the original group name as now will be on a slip in sign since I added oak molding for such. Such would now cost at least twice what I paid. Too, these had heavy canvas travel covers and wheels. I've since changed out the wheels to heavy industrial from the furniture type. The oak "skirt" I added lessens the stage sight of the new wheels, but it rolls a lot easier.

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