Monday, July 07, 2008

Orchestra stools

Tiny children playing violin in orchestral ensembles suffer as a result of their diminutive size. While they can be seated on small chairs, this often means they are hidden behind a music stand that won't go low enough for them to see the conductor over. Even if the music stand does go low enough, their standpartner likely wants it higher.

The solution is an orchestral stool. It's a small footstool, painted orchestra black so as to look like part of the stage equipment. The tiny child sits up high on a regular sized chair, and sets her feet on the orchestra stool. She is up high so she can see the conductor and the music, but her feet are planted, not swinging, and her body is balanced. We made one for Erin when she was 9, on the first percentile for height, and the youngest by a couple of years playing in the "String's the Thing" intermediate orchestra. It worked brilliantly.

This year the SVI decided to procure twelve such orchestra stools for the summer institute, and a kind local woodworker / Suzuki dad donated the materials and his time. This week they arrived at our place to be stained black. So we set to work outside, a small assembly-line. Fiona will be playing in her first reading ensemble at the SVI, so she'll get to use one. And Sophie, who has been playing in orchestras for a while now, but is 9 and tall for our family but still just on the 10th percentile, is looking forward to using one of the ones she stained.


  1. SummerSusanna5:18 am

    What a perfect idea....we are going to be needing one of these for our 8 year old son(who is the size of a 6 year old) in Sept. when he participates in an orchestral program. Any way of getting the dimensions/plans for one of them?(We are so unhandy!)

  2. Hi Tiffany! Our stools are 7 1/2" wide, 14" long and 5" high. They're made out of four pieces of wood. The top and the two 'legs' are of 3/4" solid wood, and the spacer is of 1" stock. They're glued and screwed, two screws joining the top to each leg and two screws joining each leg to the spacer. They seem really solid.

    You might find something similar at a place that sells unfinished pine furniture.

  3. SummerSusanna11:42 am

    Tiffany? Perhaps you have the wrong number.......perhaps Tiffany also has an 8 year old boy who looks 6 who is starting in an orchestral program in September? (Could there possibly be another??? My son would be thrilled!)
    But thanks for the dimensions! Now to track down some little pieces of wood.......

  4. Ack, sorry, I was responding to someone named Tiffany in another window Sophie called out the measurements to me. I got my windows mixed up. Sorry Susanna!


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