David Brothers, assistant professor interior design at NJIT’s (New Jersey Institute of Technology), School of Art + Design, has created a chair to reduce the back pain of musicians who play for long hours.
“It’s well established among musicians that a good understanding of proper posture and breathing improve sound quality and are directly linked to instrument control and mastery,” he said. “What is less understood is the influence of chair design on the ability to achieve these goals.”
Brothers added the office furniture industry has developed countless chairs for medical professionals, but little attention has been paid to professional musicians.
“There are equally significant questions to address for the health and performance of people whose ‘office’ happens to be practice rooms and performance halls and whose sitting requirements, are as physically demanding as the contemporary knowledge worker.”
One proposed chair solution designed by Brothers can be ‘tuned’ to the individual preferences and body characteristics of each musician to best support their instrument type and playing style.
It features a seat that can be tilted forward to reduce the strain of the backward pelvic rotation, as well as adjustable seat height and backrests for proper lumbar support.
Brothers based his design on 18 months of research, including interviews and surveys with professional musicians and observational studies of orchestra and ensemble groups. The study concentrated on the ergonomic issues of sitting for musicians playing strings, brass and woodwind instruments.