HarpCello Performance Chair
Important Article by Robert Fletcher “Ergonomically Correct”
Article International Musician, June 2004 “Don’t Harp On About Back Pain”
A SOLUTION AWAITING A DIAGNOSIS
“How frustrating it must be to find yourself sitting on the solution to a problem that many musicians aren’t even aware that they have. The problem – poor posture!
“Youthful exuberance veils the problem. It is only when we get older and we are forced to listen to the messages that our body is sending us that we acknowledge a problem and begin to explore its origins.
“My daughter has played the cello since she was in the fourth grade. Trained in the classics all the way through college it will not surprise you to know that she ended up playing cello in a variety of rock bands in Seattle, even touring Europe with one group. (In the off broadway musical “The Fantastics” two fathers sing a ditty about their offspring, to wit – “Plant a radish, get a radish, with progeny, it’s hoge-poge-enny! )
“Over time what had been the thrill of on stage performances before packed venues degenerated into sporadic and painful practice sessions. In my daughter’s case it began with a tingling in the left thumb and forefinger which quickly became a numbness. What was initially diagnosed as an ulnar nerve issue led to a recognition that one shoulder was significantly lower than the other and subsequent massage sessions revealed a misplaced rib.
“Having previously purchased a Concert Design piano chair for my wife, I was well familiar with the thoughtfulness of their design and the quality of their product. It was my hope that their Interval Cello Chair could do for my daughter what their piano chair had done for my wife.
“Once unpacked we adjusted the height of the chair, the slope of the seat and the height and degree of the back support to find what we perceived to be the ideal cello posture. To our surprise the height was some three inches higher than the chair she had been using. As with the piano chair the waterfall edge coupled with the slope adjustment of the seat relieved the pressure on the legs and buttocks that comes from sitting on a hard edge. The multi-adjustable back rest appears to be a blessed bonus for a weary cellist.
“Can a height adjustment as little as three inches really make a significant difference? Yes! Does a rounded edge and tilting seat really matter? You bet! Does an adjustable backrest contribute to good health and better cello playing? Very likely!
“Will this chair make a difference for you? Only you can tell! But if your body speaks to you of its agony be aware that the solution may well lie in Port Franks near the shores of Lake Huron in Canada – to which we might appropriately add, “God save the Queen!” – and Lois and Sal too!”
Hal Wharton, Olmsted Falls, Ohio, USA (2012)