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Bad Chairs

A Minute with Miles
Mary Noble Ours
SC Public Radio

Imagine you’re a professional basketball player, about to take a foul shot. You’ve practiced this thousands of times, and you know exactly how you need to set your feet and orient your body in order to get the best results. But then you notice that the floor is uneven, or slippery, or has a big depression right at the foul line, or has a board sticking up under your foot. It’s going to be much harder to make the shot. Well, this doesn’t actually happen on professional basketball courts. But something like it does happen to professional musicians on tour, all too often, in fact, and it’s called “bad chairs.” Chairs that are too low, too high, too hard, too slippery, or with seats tilted backward… they’re the bane of musicians’ existence. When you can’t sit right, it’s much harder to play your best, not to mention the fact that after playing a whole concert on a bad chair you often wind up with a backache.

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.