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The ol' sit-or-stand debate....


dhanners623

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I've been chosen as one of 11 finalists in the North by Northwoods (NXNw) singer-songwriter competition later this month at Big Top Chautauqua, the big summer-long event held near Bayfield, Wis. I know this has been debated here and elsewhere, but in preparing for my trip to Big Top, I'm wondering how people view performers who sit as opposed to those who stand, or vice versa.

 

As an audience member, when a performer stands, what (if anything) does that say about the performer? And what about sitting?

 

I'll be doing two of my tunes and can perform them equally well (or equally badly, some might say) sitting or standing. I'm comfortable with either. I feel that I get more "energy" in a performance while standing -- it seems a more commanding presence -- but when I'm sitting, it seems more relaxed and I can concentrate on my guitar playing more.

 

And yeah, I'm probably over-thinking the whole thing. But I'd like to know what people think and whether the audience (or a contest judge) discerns any sort of distinction, consciously or subconsciously between a player who sits and one who stands. I should note that at this point, I'm leaning towards standing, although "leaning towards standing" sounds like I'm leaning....

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Lots of singer/songwriters and related workshops here in the Central Texas area. Although neither style is considered taboo; there tend to be more sitters than standers here where the music trends lean to Americana/Folk country.

 

Some consider standing as a more formal presentation also associated more with peppy tunes, particularly if there's a standing backup group. Personally, I prefer sitting which offers more intimacy with the audience in terms of ballads and heartfelt tunes.

 

Regardless of which way you choose to perform; Good Luck and let us know how it goes...

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First, congratulations!

 

For some reason, I always associate sitting with intimate venues, and standing with larger ones, whether indoors or out.

 

I'm a sitter myself, since I'm just playing for myself these days. I used to stand in my folkie performing days, however, as did most people.

 

Obviously, it's a bit hard to play rock 'n roll sitting down, as you just gotta move. A lot depends on your style of music, as well. Ballads work fine when sitting.

 

Playing style matters, too. Do you tend to hunch over the guitar, or prefer to stand up with the guitar slung a bit lower? Some people, like me, really like to brace the guitar in position, which means sitting can be a bit easier.

 

Your audience really needs to be able to see you, so if you're performing at ground level, or on a low stage, you almost have to stand to project properly

 

Don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, but if you need to reach out to a larger audience, you're probably better off standing.

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What Nick said. For larger venues, where we play as a trio we stand, for smaller venues as a duo we sit. Ideally I like to switch between both positions, sitting for the slower numbers and stand for the faster, driving ones.

 

Big congrats btw !

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Hep for the nomination. 11 – a funny #.

 

If you were younger, maybe both positions would take the trophy. Sitting down immersed during the first sensitive tune, then rising in an extrovert world-embrace for the second.

 

Now it's not easy to tell. It's a very personal matter and both sitting and standing is equally accepted.

 

Maybe you should consider the venue. Do you know what the room and stage look like. Or maybe the lyrics and possibility to express them should play a role.

The protest song and the stormy drama we would like to hear from a standing minstrel – the skinless and vulnerable inner chamber tale we'll prefer from a sitting soul.

 

A good rebus – a good Q.

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GREAT Venue - congrats. You'll be under the bigtop tent. If you can stand, I would vote for that - it'll give you more presence, and in competition it will evoke confidence. I think.

 

Have a good time, Smile Fierce !!! and play it like you stole it !

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I've always felt that a "sitting" guitarist (generally) connects with the audience better than a "standing" one. Sometimes in a performance a guitarist will switch from standing to sitting and you can almost sense a greater emotional connection with the audience.

 

Whatever you decide, best of luck and let us know how it goes.

 

MJ

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I agree, either works but to me it's a matter or ergonomics, I stand always as I primarily strum and have long arms. I don't have anything to back this up other than observation over the years, but it seems to me finger style folks are more likely to sit and strummers are more likely to stand.

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I think that obviously, there are types of music where it is normal to sit, and some that are normal to stand. Classical recitals are always sitting, "big band" sits, Rock stands, etc.

 

But besides that, I think the BIGGEST factor is respect for the audience. A musician is an entertainer, and as such, the audience always should come first.

 

For example, if you are playing a lounge or a restaurant, you sit, because you aren't there to distract or call attention. It's more respectful for the audience. If you are performing for a crowd that has come to see you perform, sitting might be disrespectful because they came to see you and expect you to give them everything you can for thier attention.

 

Just as long as what the audience sees is that you are there for them, and not them there for you. There are times when it doesn't matter sit or stand, just don't be caught sitting when you should be standing, or standing when you should be sitting.

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Thanks for all the replies, gang. I posted the same question over at the Soundhole discussion forum and there were some good points for both offered there. I keep vacillating back and forth. Sit. Stand. Sit. Stand.

 

As DuluthDan noted, it is a big venue. A circus tent, actually. I was a finalist last year (I stood) and the winner was some woman named Barbara Jean Johnson who was very good. During her son, I leaned over to my wife and said, "If she doesn't win, this thing is rigged." (I might note for the record that she stood while she played -- and she did her tune on a banjo at that -- and the second-place finisher sat.)

 

It is a big stage and a great sound system run by professionals. So whether I sit or stand, I'm sure folks will be able to hear me. I guess it boils down to the "mood" I want to create. The two tunes I'm doing aren't rockers. I'll probably open with "The Song of the Scarlet Tanager," which is a tune I wrote about the drug violence in Mexico. Here's a YouTube video of it, but I've changed the song a bit since I recorded the video. I've dropped the last chorus.

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Nothings easy. . . .

 

Stand, sit, stand, sit - Lyingup.jpgThis guy chose the third way while contemplating. . . .

Funny, but this dillemma seems to be the biggest prob. for you before the contest. I would consider that a good sign.

 

 

If I were playing a Taylor, it might put me to sleep as well..... [rolleyes]

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My congrats also. As far as your dilemma, maybe you could do one of each, you know sit for the song that you want to make the bigger connection with the audience. But I would stand for the first one and sit second. Sitting seems to make the audience more relaxed maybe. Doc Watson always made me feel at home seeing him. And Jim Croce had good stage mojo seated. Whatever you decide, GOOD LUCK!!!!! [thumbup]

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I hear ya Nick... [wink]:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

You GUYZ! Geez! We always complain when there is intolerance towards Gibsons (usually at the forum of which we do not speak) so we should show that we are not intolerant of other brands of guitars here at Gibson hmm? Except those freakin' Estebans! ~spits~ [-(

 

Michael Caine in Goldmember: "There are only two things I can't stand in this world: People who are intolerant of other peoples' cultures, and the DUTCH!"

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You GUYZ! Geez! We always complain when there is intolerance towards Gibsons (usually at the forum of which we do not speak) so we should show that we are not intolerant of other brands of guitars here at Gibson hmm? Except those freakin' Estebans! ~spits~ [-(

 

Michael Caine in Goldmember: "There are only two things I can't stand in this world: People who are intolerant of other peoples' cultures, and the DUTCH!"

Think I see what you mean, and notice the Taylor in your the sub-lines, but isn't most of the Taylor bashing here on the Board done from a humorous angle. F.x. Nicks comment on my corny post. Not that I'm in to defend nobody – people wouldn't need/want this at all – only that I've noticed a specific tongue in cheek, wizards spark in the eye whenever those flames of T-flak opens up.

I've regarded it as a territory mark, never as mean-spirited dragon-fire.

 

My shillings anyway - See you. . .

 

 

 

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