Ergonomics looks mainly at improving activity productivity "...while minimising the adverse effects of task performance, such as fatigue, repetitive strain, stress, boredom and occupational injuries...The nature of work and its effects on the human body and in the capacity of the individual to respond to these demands" (Hagedorn, 2000, p. 177).
Whether one chooses to play the guitar whilst sitting or standing is mainly a matter of preference. Most playing positions are determined by where and for whom one is playing for (Luttjeboer, 2010). When I am practicing my guitar playing at home for long periods (2-4 hours), I find it less tiresome to do so in a seated position. This automatically changes when I am playing the guitar at Church where I have to be standing as part of worship, but probably play for just about 30 to 45 minutes at a time.
Guitars are also designed with ergonomics in mind using anthropometry in general or specifically for custom made guitars like the example below. The ergonomically designed guitar below is about how an instrument relates to the body when in use during playing/performance or what I would call 'occupation versus ergonomics compatibility.' This ties up with and supports Caulton & Dickson (2007) when they write that ergonomics is about constantly making "... slight invisible adjustments to an activity to adapt to the needs of those taking part and ensure that it continues to work for its intended purpose" (p. 93).
An ergonomically designed custom made guitar
Other than the ergonomic considerations of the equipment (guitar), ergonomics also involves the environment and the mood of the activity. In guitar playing, the design of the guitar can also affect endurance during a performance (light versus heavy instrument or generic design versus custom made as above). These can have a bearing on conditions such as 'Occupational Overuse Syndrome' (O.O.S) if I play for long periods, especially when playing standing.
- Godhelp Mutero Nyashanu
- I am a Zimbabwean who is a permanent resident of New Zealand after coming to New Zealand in July 2007. I am currently (in 2011) studying for the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree at Otago Polytechnic (second year), Wintec Avalon Drive Campus in Hamilton, New Zealand.