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Concertina playing and muscular training

Guran 17 Aug 12 - 04:53 AM
r.padgett 17 Aug 12 - 09:52 AM
Guran 19 Aug 12 - 01:03 AM
Brian Peters 19 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM
The Sandman 19 Aug 12 - 12:17 PM
Dead Horse 19 Aug 12 - 12:31 PM
Guran 20 Aug 12 - 04:12 AM
Guran 20 Aug 12 - 04:25 AM
GUEST,FloraG 20 Aug 12 - 07:19 AM
Vixen 20 Aug 12 - 09:47 AM
Guran 20 Aug 12 - 12:34 PM
Vixen 20 Aug 12 - 02:26 PM
Guran 21 Aug 12 - 05:20 AM
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Subject: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Guran
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 04:53 AM

It is suggested now and then that systematic training in order to achieve greater muscular strength might be beneficial for concertina playing.Historically the same has been brought out for playing other musical instruments like guitar or piano. The interest seems to be periodical and fashion-like and even pedagogic "schools" may have popped up. The factual results are more obscure however and it is hard to find reliable objective reports. Nevertheless it would be of some interest to hear individual testimonies regarding practical attempts to improve performance by physical "work-out" of various kinds.


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: r.padgett
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 09:52 AM

good grief!

What version of an anglo are you playing and does Bernard Wrigley have one?

Maybe an accordion player may need some resistance training but anglos are usually playable even if sometimes it's like "ferret wrestling"

Ray


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Guran
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 01:03 AM

Well, I hear complaints all the time that people can't play their concertina standing - ordinary Anglos as well as larger Duets or Englishes - because they are too "heavy" for them. The question also comes up now and then whether it might be beneficial trying to improve finger "strength" by systematic training.
Concerning Anglos there is much concern about "weight" when comparing qualities of makes and models while the actual difference may be as small as 1200 and 1300grams.


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM

Playing the anglo standing up without support relies on the tension between the corner of the instrument, which sits at the base of the palm, and the back of the hand against the handstrap. So it requires mostly the muscles of the wrist (don't ask me what they're called) in pulling the hand backwards aginst the strap. This certainly needs practice! My anglo weighs just over 1400 grams, by the way.


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 12:17 PM

fingers can be strengthened by a grip master of piano finger strengthening exercises, concertinas can be made lighter by scrapping some of the higher reeds.


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Dead Horse
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 12:31 PM

Start out playing the lighter pieces and gradually work up to the 1812 Overture (with full canon accompaniment)


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Guran
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 04:12 AM

Brian Peters/19 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM
"Playing the anglo standing up without support...requires mostly the muscles of the wrist.. in pulling the hand backwards aginst the strap".

RE:Right! Such muscular activity is necessary to get stability enough both for pumping and to find the buttons.The resulting hand position is dysfunctional however for these reasons:a) it causes extreme extension in the wrist which is unsuitable for the joint structures b)it causes static muscular effort which always is harmful c)it limits the reachable keyboard area

BP:" This certainly needs practice!"
RE: The question is whether it is fruitful trying to "strengthen" the forearm extensor muscles by practise or exercise with the object to manage this ergonomically inappropriate situation better, or if a more stable connection between the playeer and the instrument along with more physiological playing habits might be more rational and efficient ways to deal with it.

BP:" My anglo weighs just over 1400 grams, by the way".
RE: It shouldn't matter in reality whether 1000 or 2000grams.Your combined extension power in the wrists likely is 10-20kg (or more) and the force fraction used to stabilize the connection with the instrument some 100grams - not the entire weight of the instrument.
Nevertheless *static* effort is a villain and should be eliminated if possible


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Guran
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 04:25 AM

Dick/19 Aug 12 - 12:17 PM
"fingers can be strengthened by a grip master of piano finger strengthening exercises"
RE: I have not managed to find any objective reports neither regarding training results from "Grip master" nor from "piano finger strengthening exercises".

D:" concertinas can be made lighter by scrapping some of the higher reeds".
RE: Although I agree that at least for playing common folk tunes and for singing accompaniment the highest (treble) octave may be skipped but that is a reduction of 50-70grams - completely negligable for the playing effort. (Skipping the highest octave and relocating the keyboard towards the top would of the instrument end would be a very rational measure however !)


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 07:19 AM

Surely any performance needs energy - the more the better - so a good overall level of fitness is good. I'm of the school where its better to stand than sit - I need to do that when calling dances anyway - and as I age it gets harder to do a 3 hour session.

I saw a young accordian player at Broadstairs with already very round shoulders. Most musicians need to be aware of how they sit/stand and hold the instrument to prevent injury. Are there particular dangers of concertina playing - apart from bending over to check the notes.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Vixen
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 09:47 AM

I do 15 minutes of resistance/free-weight (5#) work daily for my wrists--I play guitar, and I've found that my stamina is greatly increased since I started this regimen. I can play lickity-split bluegrass rhythm for an hour now without needing a break to stretch my wrists. My strumming used to get out of control from muscle fatigue after about 20 minutes. Reynaud plays concertina, and says that he finds playing standing up more difficult than sitting down, so unless we're doing strolling minstrelsy, he sits to play it. As for postural distortion--look at bluegrass banjo pickers: they're all permanently twisted from hauling 20# of banjo around over one shoulder strap. There's one who has a cane threaded onto the bottom of his banjo, and that holds the weight--all he has to do is keep it steady while he's playing.


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Guran
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 12:34 PM

Vixen, to evaluate your routine a little, can you please specify what exercise(s) you actually practise, the weight/resistance you use, number of reps or time/movement. Do you progressively increase the load ro do you use the same load? For how long in all have you been doing it?

FloraG, yes, good general fitness certainly helps for any work.What I rather meant was the possible benefit from directed "body-building" which may be dubious in many cases since "general fitness" is expected to be sufficient for most musical performance. Full size accordion playing really IS heavy work, drumming too, concertina playing is expected to be almost ideal from ergonomic viewpoint however but the instrument handles are not ideal.
"Dangers of concertina playing"...inflammatory reactions from static load or repetitive movements, like "tennis-elbow" or similar reactions from the shoulder. With the English extensor tendinitis of the thumb ought to be a particular risk. Dyscomfort and numbness of the fingertips may be expected with all British style concertinas - having (too) lean buttons


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Vixen
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 02:26 PM

I use 5# hand-held barbells, one in each hand. with hands at sides, I do 10 clockwise circles, and 10 counterclockwise circles, ten front to back wrist flexes and 10 side to side wrist flexes. I follow that up with aikido hand stretches, 10 each--flexor stretches, extensor stretches, and rotated stretches.


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Subject: RE: Concertina playing and muscular training
From: Guran
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 05:20 AM

Vixen, I can not fully understand what you are doing. What does 5# mean? 5 pounds? 5kg? In either case it does not sound as if significant improvement - neither of momentary power, nor of endurance - for the particular involved muscle groups may be expected - except as an initial result when you started up the routine.
When you say bluegrass "rhythm" do you use a plectrum? In such case it is expected to cause considerable static effort. When you say "strumming" is that left hand or right hand work?
Anyway guitar is quite different from concertina.Playing energetic rhythmical chords with a guitar may be heavy work indeed, classical guitar more a matter of tension from a strainful posture. With concertinas it should be possible to eliminate almost all static effort by using stable handles and adequate technique and consequently needs for muscular strength or endurance are minimal and no extra "work-out" ought to be needful.


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