Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Concert Dress I

The Other day J Spurling asked an interesting question

"I've got a question Paula, as a transgender low brass player .... do you consider how to sit with your instrument? I mean do you consider trying to sit in a feminine fashion? I know with the horn I sit with my legs shoulder width apart, but even with an ankle length gown I can't imagine sitting like that."

Feeling rather nervous before Paula's first concert
To a certain extent it depends on the instrument and the environment I am playing in.   Of course most of my playing is in rehearsal, in which case I tend to dress pretty much the same as any of the other women there.   Like most of the other girls at the moment I will probably be wearing jeans and a sweater often with boots, when the weather gets warmer the sweater will get replaced with a tee shirt or other top. But the general principle is the same, as a general rule I will be dressed and will behave like all the other girls.

I play several instruments and which instrument I am playing will dictate both what I wear, and how I sit.   With the trombone and the euphonium it is perfectly possible to sit in a ladylike manner while maintaining a good playing posture, as long as the back is straight and shoulders back but relaxed I find there is no problem keeping my knees together, and maintaining a ladylike modesty.   The tuba on the other hand, sits between the legs, either resting on the seat base or in the lap, depending on both the instrument and the player, either way this means a minimum of legs and feet shoulder width apart (interestingly the same as  horn, which although playing generally much higher is actually the same length as an F tuba).

When playing the trombone or euphonium I have a selection of little black dresses or skirts and tops that I can choose from, with the tuba I a much more limited, I do have one mid calf length dress with a very full skirt that works well, but most of the time I will be found wearing trousers and a top.   I have a couple of pairs of dressy trousers that teamed with a nice top, heels, and some sparklies looks very nice and still has a little glamour.

I always try to remember that people are coming to hear me not look at me, I feel better and suspect that I play better as well because I feel good when I am dressed properly, but it is the playing that take precedence, so yes I do consider sitting in a ladylike fashion, but much more I consider a good playing position.
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