Thoughts Upon Sitting Still

Very few people can do it successfully. Or even harder, to stand still. Not stand in place but wiggle, fidget, look up at the birdies, and so on, but stand or sit without moving in a noticeable fashion.

The military teaches people how to do it. OK, “teaches” might be a little too kind of a description. Things like choir are supposed to encourage you to learn how to stay relatively motionless without passing out. But dang, I watch people on live TV, such as in the background of a speaker (POTUS*, preacher, choir during a concert) and the wiggling!

First, don’t freeze like the proverbial deer in the headlights. You need to be relaxed, weight evenly distributed, shoulders relaxed, neck relaxed. Freezing just makes it more difficult, unless you are holding a pose for a few seconds for a reason.

If you are standing, don’t lock your knees. There’s a reason why everyone says “Don’t lock your knees!” I watched a ten year old girl pass out because she locked her knees. Kudos to the choir director who lunged forward, grabbed her with one arm and held her up while still conducting with the other arm. A parent glided onto the stage, carried the young lady off, and the music went on without a single beat being lost. I’m not sure if most of the audience noticed.

Stand with your feet a little apart, weight evenly distributed. Wear comfortable shoes if possible, otherwise shoes that you can at least stand in. Yes, ladies, that means no spikes or really towering platforms, unless you’ve practiced and are certain that you can stand for more than three minutes without swaying or losing your balance.

Good posture basics, yes?

So, when I sit and I know I’m on camera or otherwise ought not to be wiggling, I fold my hands in my lap. Shoulders are relaxed, legs crossed at ankle, head up and looking toward the speaker or performer or conductor, unless I am on the far end and it will be a while. Then I look straight ahead, or slightly toward the conductor. I don’t want my neck having a spasm. Then I just sit.

No, it is not easy. It took me quite a while to learn how to sit still without “freezing.” But it is a valuable skill. Likewise standing still. I’m relaxed, hands at sides, knees unlocked, sometimes shifting weight just a little if it is a really long piece and we don’t come in for a very long time (Christus am Ölberg. Plus the host gave a 45 minute introduction on top of the cantata. The long introduction was not repeated on the second night. The choir threatened a mutiny.)

But lord love a duck, if you know you are going to be on camera, for up to 90 minutes, and you are sitting, why can you not sit still?!?

*President Of The United States.

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8 thoughts on “Thoughts Upon Sitting Still

  1. Pretty sure you are expected to not sit still at a POTUS concert.

    More seriously, I work as a professional hunting guide. Lady, you are preaching to the choir here!!

  2. Nancy just can’t go more than three minutes without some sort of, “Me! Me! Look at me! Pay attention to me!” activity.

  3. Bearcat, that’s also true for photographers, even when working with a tripod mount. You can mess up by subtly shifting or pressing the camera body. Works for low-light exposures and for ‘snapshots’ of a particular target or subject.

    Be calm, relax, and focus on breathing. Be part of the background. Awkward to practice, but it makes you look good (or not prominent) in public. No one except a soloist really wants the choir director’s attention.

  4. Bearcat beat me to it. Same with sniping… And standing at attention for inspection in the military, THAT can take a while… sigh… Of course locking the knees was a good way to get out of it, but if you did it more than once, you got ‘talked to’… 🙂

  5. Teaching the inner discipline and awareness to actually sit still runs against everything the post-Dr. Spock educational system stands for. It also requires a specialized kind of physical fitness, especially as you get older.

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