Tips for Standing Still

Posted: 5/18/2020 7:18:44 AM
aliamo

Joined: 2/16/2018

I prefer to stand and play theremin rather than sit. Does anyone have any tips for standing as still as possible while playing? I tend to be able to stand the most still when I lock my knees, which I know is not good to do. And even then, I still have a tiny sway. Any advice is much appreciated!

Posted: 5/18/2020 7:14:53 PM
JPascal

From: Berlin Germany

Joined: 4/27/2016

My thoughts on this.

Your body does not have to remain exactly fixed to play a single tone well, only your hand must. For example: Watch a full cup of coffee while walking: you will spill it. If you didn't pay attention to the cup, it would probably be fine. Practice keeping a tone better by ear, but not by standing still.

Posted: 5/18/2020 8:51:46 PM
oldtemecula

From: 60 Miles North of San Diego, CA

Joined: 10/1/2014

With my fine skills holding a steady note is done with a bar stool, not to sit on but to touch my butt as a third point of reference.

I would play you a tune but some would accuse me of advertising.

Christopher
www.Hwy79.com

Posted: 5/24/2020 1:06:47 AM
CB Thereminist

Joined: 1/28/2020

Personal advice from experience...

Sway is never going to just go away, and there are no real magic tricks. Precision is something you've gotta constantly develop. For me though, these are three principles I work by to help me out in my practice:

1. Relax. Don't fight your body. Lean if it helps you keep your center of balance (but of course keep a healthy posture). Keep your joints loose and free, but not stiff. It's important to be comfortable to have control of your body, and to play well.
2. Be conscious of both of your hands. Not just of what they're doing - really embody them. Be present with them, be meticulous in how you control them. Really control your sound. Maintaining a mental balance between your hands will likely help you to actually balance your body. It's sort of hard for me to explain why, but for me, it's tremendously helpful.
3. Don't fight the little bit of remaining sway - work with it. Your vestibular sense is a powerful thing. Develop the ability to feel those small movements in your body, and you can learn to hold your pitch steady with corresponding little movements in your hands. It will end up becoming pretty automatic eventually - particularly if you practice #2. After all, body sway is natural - but you can always work with it. Eventually, the same skill will help you comfortably lean while playing and not go out of tune, which is a blessing for not straining your arms too much in higher registers.

That's what I do to help with the same issue. Hope these little tips are useful to you too. Good luck!

Posted: 5/24/2020 2:01:54 AM
senior_falcon

Joined: 10/23/2014

I usually play seated in a chair. Being seated greatly reduces sway but a chair probably isn't ideal. Chris suggests a bar stool and Peter Pringle has recommended a drummers throne. (When Peter speaks I tend to listen.)  
But sometimes you wind up having to play standing up, and when all your practice has been seated, it is maddening because your pitch is all over the place. What I found is that by spreading your legs you can make the sway happen mostly in one direction. For example, with feet at 3 and 9 o'clock your sway will be mostly forward and backward. If at 12 and 6 o'clock you will sway mostly right to left. There is an ideal position to position your feet that minimizes hand motion toward or away from the pitch rod. For me that is about 10:30 and 4:30 or maybe 11 and 5 o"clock. 

Posted: 5/24/2020 2:25:00 AM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

So much of this subject is due to the inherent / intrinsic sensitivity (~1 octave / open-closed hand) of the analog Theremin, which is just way too sensitive (IMHO).  You probably want somewhere between 1/2 to 1/4 of that (IMHO).

Posted: 5/30/2020 10:03:25 PM
aliamo

Joined: 2/16/2018

Personal advice from experience...Sway is never going to just go away, and there are no real magic tricks. Precision is something you've gotta constantly develop. For me though, these are three principles I work by to help me out in my practice:1. Relax. Don't fight your body. Lean if it helps you keep your center of balance (but of course keep a healthy posture). Keep your joints loose and free, but not stiff. It's important to be comfortable to have control of your body, and to play well.2. Be conscious of both of your hands. Not just of what they're doing - really embody them. Be present with them, be meticulous in how you control them. Really control your sound. Maintaining a mental balance between your hands will likely help you to actually balance your body. It's sort of hard for me to explain why, but for me, it's tremendously helpful.3. Don't fight the little bit of remaining sway - work with it. Your vestibular sense is a powerful thing. Develop the ability to feel those small movements in your body, and you can learn to hold your pitch steady with corresponding little movements in your hands. It will end up becoming pretty automatic eventually - particularly if you practice #2. After all, body sway is natural - but you can always work with it. Eventually, the same skill will help you comfortably lean while playing and not go out of tune, which is a blessing for not straining your arms too much in higher registers.That's what I do to help with the same issue. Hope these little tips are useful to you too. Good luck!

Really good advice. Thank you! And thanks to everyone else for your tips as well.

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