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Proper Position, Hand Soreness And Warm Ups

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#1 Roy M.

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 05:30 PM

After some other adventures I've reached a point in my life where I finally both have a little bit of free time and a little bit of spending money. I expect for this state to continue until the corrosion industry picks up again, so I decided that now was the point to give the Anglo concertina another go and develop a firm foundation.


For the past few days I have been following along with "Easy Anglo 1-2-3", playing somewhat regularly in the evenings and sometimes in the mornings. My play would consist of multiple sessions, about ten minutes in length, at which point I would do something else for a while. I can play the songs up to Frere Jacques now, following along with the tabs. (I know I should learn how to read and translate the notes on the staff, but I've already started one method and should probably see it through before starting another.)


Unfortunately, this morning I began to experience soreness in my left hand. It has persisted until now (~6pm central time) so I am putting the instrument down for a while. I'm not sure if I could actually give myself carpal tunnel syndrome playing concertina at this level for around 30 minutes throughout the day, but I don't want to accidentally ruining my hands.


I believe a part of this is not just using my weak hand in a new way, but also improper posture. When I played, I was playing with one side of the instrument's ends flat against my thigh. When looking up the video which accompanies the book I noticed that it was being played with the corner resting upon the thigh. I am wondering if this played a part.


Another thing that I am wondering is if there are suggested warm up exercises for the concertina, or if they would even be relevant at this stage.


Thank you,


#2 Ken_Coles


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Posted 15 March 2016 - 09:11 PM

Get the wrist in a neutral position - not too bent in any direction. With the old instruments you do have to roll them onto a point to do this (at least I do). If the wrists are flexed backwards you can get in trouble if your physiology is like mine, I did get RSI and had to take nearly a year off from playing.

Others will chime in here.


#3 Roy M.

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 01:25 PM

Well, the soreness subsided after not playing for a whole night, so I decided to risk it today.


I have found that by playing my Concertina Connection Rochelle "On Point" I can rotate it such that my wrists are in a fairly neutral position, and that it does make a difference, although it tends to take a fair bit of concentration to keep from rolling it back to its side as had been my habit. I think another part of it is that I am working on a song which focuses more on the right side than the left.


Any other thoughts or comments will of course be appreciated.

Edited by Roy M., 16 March 2016 - 01:29 PM.

#4 DaveM


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Posted 17 March 2016 - 11:41 AM

Another though is to think about more than just your hands while you're focusing on your technique.

As you focus on your wrist position, make sure you're not causing tension/strain in other parts of your body.

Plus, maybe adjusting your arms and shoulders will make keeping your wrists neutral feel more natural.


Taking some time to just focus on how your whole body is arranged and moving, and making sure everything is comfortable,

and not worrying about trying to play actual music, can be a useful process.


I'm dealing with tingling sensations in my pinky (posted in another thread), but now think that the underlying

problem is tension/strain further up my arm and shoulder, so I'm working on this myself.

#5 david_boveri


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Posted 15 May 2016 - 10:58 PM

As far as a warm up, I would do some dynamic stretching for your arms and hands to get the blood moving. So, for your arms, anything that gets your chest and back moving is good. So, you could cross your arms across your chest, move them to your front back in like a pushup (but not a push up, standing). For your hands, I would try making a fist and then fanning your fingers back out. Do that 10–20 times. You could also try shaking out your hands, keeping in mind the movement should come from your hands and wrists and not your arms.

#6 Dana Johnson

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 04:56 PM

Many people play with the concertina held too close to the body and or with a hunched over the instrument posture. Move the concertina toward your knee enough so your elbow angle is greater than 90 degrees, roll the instrument on its corner just enough so your wrists are straight. Sit up straight or lean back slightly in an open posture. Keep your elbows more or less close to your sides and use the muscles that rotate your upper arm about its axis to do most of the work. Small quick motions can be done from the wrist. The idea is to keep everything open do your effort doesn't have to go around tight corners or cause tendons to get out of line with the muscle and bone connection they are working on.
The Rochelle is a large instrument that takes a fair amount of effort to play. You may want to limit your practice time even more for a while I till you really get your muscles used to it. The no pain , no gain thing is completely wrong according to my rehabilitative medicine doc I used to see. Trouble with music is it is easy to have too much fun to want to stop!
Ps, your music will sound like you look. If you are all hunched with your shoulders up and the instrument held tight close to you, That is how the music will sound. If you are open and relaxed, the music will sound that way too, even if you are playing fast.

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