Jump to content


Photo

holding the concertina


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:11 AM

Hi,
I got a Jackie, and just received the Wim Wakkers book for beginners :D
There he says one should hold the concertina and play it so that it would form a V and one gets support from the bellows at the front of the concertina. Which, in my mind, means that one should play the concertina by opening/closing it horizontally. Is that right? I had a look on YouTube and I see many different players, each of them playing differently, but mostly either bending the concertina over their knee, or opening it horizontally but without the V form recommended in the book. <_<
I do not wish to take bad habits, therefore I wait for your expertise before I go further :P
Nisse

#2 Reed Bellows

Reed Bellows

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Further from Old Blighty than I'd rather be

Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:39 AM

Hi there Nisse!

I also have a Jackie, and I found the included tutor to be more of a guideline rather than a fixed rule. (also, I recall one of the diagrams had extra buttons that weren't on my instrument! :blink: )

As far as holding the concertina, you want to find a position that's most comfortable for your wrists and elbows while playing. The "V" that Wim talks about in the tutor is more implied than expected. I recommend watching Pauline de Snoo's video tutors on YouTube (click here), and also keep an eye on the Concertina Videos & Music forum here as our very own Leo posts links to new concertina videos every Friday.

Happy learning and discovering your new instrument!

#3 Larry Stout

Larry Stout

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 589 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Normal, IL

Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

Take a look at the (at least 16 part) series English Concertina for Beginners. Here's a link to part 12, which shows what the innards look like.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=54whKytAZKI

Thanks for reminding me to go look for this series again. There's a lot of good stuff on YouTube that I lose track of!

#4 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:47 AM

Hi Reed bellows!
Thanks for your links :)
I saw Pauline de Snoo on YouTube but she has a neckstrap and holds the concertina in the air, which looks quite stressing for the arms and shoulders so I did not retained the idea, as I play on my knee, and I suppose it will change the technic a little bit? :huh:
I guess I have to find my own position but as I see many threads here telling about painful arms, wists and shoulders, I would like to get a good position from now, before I get used to an other position which could be painful after a while :blink:

Edited by Nisse, 13 February 2012 - 11:58 AM.


#5 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:58 AM

Hi Larry,
I had a look at this serie, yes it is good ;) The part 2 shows how to hold the concertina, with the base on the knee instead of the bellows. But he does not discuss how you should open/close the beast. Perhaps because it is not THAT important... :ph34r:

#6 Leo

Leo

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1766 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Western Pennsylvania United States

Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:44 PM

Martyn was kind enough to put all them in a playlist that should automatically play them in order. Somewhere back in the olden days, there is a separate post on Concertina.net with all them in one spot, but I can't find it.

http://www.youtube.c...-0lKvnQKlJeqFYD

Here's another way to hold it. It's an older video, but it has some closeups.
http://www.youtube.c...gybemxaI&fmt=18

And no, I don't think there's one dogmatic "correct position". Chances are whatever is suggested, is a good place to start and will change as needed. I tried in the beginning to use the finger plate on the bottom as suggested, and found I couldn't reach all the buttons comfortably. Now I don't worry about it and use my little finger to help position the instrument better to reach buttons. I also find it difficult to place one side or another on either knee while standing.

Whatever works. Try it, modify it, but think of it only as "one way", but not the only way.

Thanks
Leo

#7 Johanna

Johanna

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 129 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Maryland, US

Posted 13 February 2012 - 01:02 PM

Hi Nisse,

I hope you're enjoying your concertina. :)

When I first got my Jack (baritone version of the Jackie), I found the "V" technique to be useful, to keep my little fingers from getting tired from holding up the ends. But somewhere along the way, I found that the "V" was no longer necessary, and I could easily play with the bellows opened horizontally. I don't know whether my little fingers got stronger, or my technique subtly changed in a way that I don't even realize, or what.

So I'll echo everyone else: Do what is comfortable for you. If you try something and it hurts, stop, take a break, and try something else.

#8 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:43 AM

Here's another way to hold it. It's an older video, but it has some closeups.
http://www.youtube.c...gybemxaI&fmt=18


Hi Leo
Thanks, this is a real V position B)

And no, I don't think there's one dogmatic "correct position". Chances are whatever is suggested, is a good place to start and will change as needed. I tried in the beginning to use the finger plate on the bottom as suggested, and found I couldn't reach all the buttons comfortably. Now I don't worry about it and use my little finger to help position the instrument better to reach buttons. I also find it difficult to place one side or another on either knee while standing.

Whatever works. Try it, modify it, but think of it only as "one way", but not the only way.

Thanks
Leo

OK, I see. Then it is up to me, more or less, to find a position and be totally responsible if I get sore shoulders :P

#9 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:52 AM

Hi Nisse,

I hope you're enjoying your concertina. :)

When I first got my Jack (baritone version of the Jackie), I found the "V" technique to be useful, to keep my little fingers from getting tired from holding up the ends. But somewhere along the way, I found that the "V" was no longer necessary, and I could easily play with the bellows opened horizontally. I don't know whether my little fingers got stronger, or my technique subtly changed in a way that I don't even realize, or what.

So I'll echo everyone else: Do what is comfortable for you. If you try something and it hurts, stop, take a break, and try something else.

Hi Johanna,
I have had my concertina for one and a half month now, but I did not really have time to try it out before now :) What you say is interesting, you used the V as a start position but evolved from it, does it mean that you do not have any "bellow support" now? I found that the support of the base on my knee -as recommended by Martyn- was quite a good support in itself and the V is not really natural to me. Then it is good news when everyone says it doesn't matter :D But then, when playing as "comfortable to me", I still get pain in my hands, due to the tension in the little fingers I think... <_<

Edited by Nisse, 14 February 2012 - 05:32 AM.


#10 Anglo-Irishman

Anglo-Irishman

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1251 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Near Stuttgart, Germany

Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:24 AM

But then, when playing as "comfortable to me", I still get pain in my hands, due to the tension in the little fingers I think... Posted Image


Nisse,

That's nothing to worry about. It's like any new activity that uses muscles in a way they've never been used before - the longer you do it, the stronger the relevant muscles get, and the less it hurts.

Practising daily doesn't only improve your familiarity with the buttons, it builds up strength as well.

Cheers,
John

#11 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:16 AM

That's nothing to worry about. It's like any new activity that uses muscles in a way they've never been used before - the longer you do it, the stronger the relevant muscles get, and the less it hurts.

Practising daily doesn't only improve your familiarity with the buttons, it builds up strength as well.

Cheers,
John

Good to read that John, thanks :)

#12 Johanna

Johanna

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 129 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Maryland, US

Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:47 PM

Hi Johanna,
I have had my concertina for one and a half month now, but I did not really have time to try it out before now :) What you say is interesting, you used the V as a start position but evolved from it, does it mean that you do not have any "bellow support" now? I found that the support of the base on my knee -as recommended by Martyn- was quite a good support in itself and the V is not really natural to me. Then it is good news when everyone says it doesn't matter :D But then, when playing as "comfortable to me", I still get pain in my hands, due to the tension in the little fingers I think... <_<


I support the left end of the concertina on my right knee. I no longer support the right end on anything. I've thought about some things I might be doing that make it easier for me to play that way, without getting pain in my little fingers:

First, I got the thumb straps to fit snugly around my thumbs. (When the straps are too loose, the thumb can't bear any of the weight of the concertina, so the little finger has to bear it all.) Actually, the thumb straps on my Jack are much too loose for my thumbs even when they're tightened all the way - I solved the problem by inserting some rolled-up pieces of soft fabric into the thumb loops. It looks somewhat strange, but it works.

Second, even after the thumb straps fit correctly, it took me some time to break the habit of "pinching" between my thumb and little finger, and instead allowing my thumb to bear some of the weight.

Third, as I open the bellows, I allow the right end to droop downward somewhat. Then, when I change bellows direction, I quickly move the right end upward so that the bellows is curving up. Then the right end is again moving downward as I close the bellows - so gravity is working with me on both the pull and the push. It's hard to describe, and I didn't even realize I was doing this until somebody pointed it out to me, so it must be a habit I developed without thinking about it. But it does seem to work for me.

#13 Nisse

Nisse

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 57 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Norway

Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:11 AM

Hi Johanne!

I support the left end of the concertina on my right knee.

wow... how does your back like this?

First, I got the thumb straps to fit snugly around my thumbs. (When the straps are too loose, the thumb can't bear any of the weight of the concertina, so the little finger has to bear it all.) Actually, the thumb straps on my Jack are much too loose for my thumbs even when they're tightened all the way - I solved the problem by inserting some rolled-up pieces of soft fabric into the thumb loops. It looks somewhat strange, but it works.

this part is ok for me I think

Second, even after the thumb straps fit correctly, it took me some time to break the habit of "pinching" between my thumb and little finger, and instead allowing my thumb to bear some of the weight.

but I suspect this to still be a part of the problem for my hands.. I still need to learn to relax them while playing.

Third, as I open the bellows, I allow the right end to droop downward somewhat. Then, when I change bellows direction, I quickly move the right end upward so that the bellows is curving up. Then the right end is again moving downward as I close the bellows - so gravity is working with me on both the pull and the push. It's hard to describe, and I didn't even realize I was doing this until somebody pointed it out to me, so it must be a habit I developed without thinking about it. But it does seem to work for me.

I saw many players doing that, it looks quite natural. The opening/closing of the bellows is the less naturalpart of concertina playing for me.. :huh: I find it quite hard to open wide enough, perhaps because the box is still new..?
But I managed to get my finger in the car door so I have a little break in practising just now. Pluss winter holidays making it difficult to get some time on my own... B)

Edited by Nisse, 24 February 2012 - 08:14 AM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users