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Posts posted by Halifax

  1. Enjoy the Muse for as long as she stops to visit!

    When you think of a tune:

    While you make some tea, that’s an infuse muse.

    When you’re feeling sad, that’s a blues muse.

    In the grocery forgetting to pick up milk, that’s a confuse muse.

    And then think of the tune that follows, that’s an ensues muse.

    After drinking some whiskey, that’s a booze-abuse muse.

    • Like 1
  2. On 4/28/2022 at 6:39 PM, mathhag said:

    So Noel Hill was clear that playing requires the whole upper body. At one of his workshops he rolled up his sleeve to demonstrate his arm development and to show how his muscles were working. I am pretty sure I remember this correctly. I would never want to misrepresent Noel.

    I know I have worked on NOT  using my wrists. Right now I am suffering because the muscles I use to play in my upper arms are the same muscles I use to work cleaning up my garden. 
    I would bet some light weight exercises might help 


    I think you've hit the nail on the head, Susan. I think it's an endurance problem. I need to crosstrain for the concertina, lol.

  3. On 5/3/2022 at 3:11 AM, Chris Ghent said:

    When the instrument is not loud or fast it is tempting to push and pull harder to be able keep up and to hear yourself.  Cheaper accordion reeded instruments and old Lachenals suffer from this in a session environment. Try playing at home for the same length of time and don’t push the speed or volume and see how wrung out you feel. A good instrument takes very little pressure to make a lot of noise. 

    It's a good instrument, but you may be onto something, as it's often a very loud session.

  4. On 5/2/2022 at 2:45 AM, JimR said:

    This may not help, but I saw a video today of two young guys doing pushups. One guy did a bunch of pushups every day, the other guy did a bunch of pushups every other day, resting on the off days. At the end the guy who rested on off days was able to do more pushups. Perhaps you could design a similar regimen in your playing?

    It might limit my repetoire too much if I limit my playing to "pull" days and "push" days, lol!


  5. On 4/27/2022 at 10:58 AM, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

    My earlier joke aside, and more seriously this time; If your arms ache then you are exerting far too much physical effort in some way, or maybe tensioning up too much when playing. Try and relax more, and you do not need to be too rigid, when playing, let the fingers do the work, and then use your mind to try and relax! Sometime playing fast tendancy can be to get quite tense, which affects physicality quite a bit.."Relax"! 

    That's very good advice. Thank you.

  6. On 4/27/2022 at 10:27 AM, fred v said:

    Are your bellows stiff? That will wear you out quickly if playing fast session tunes. My bellows were stiff but I used some leather softener on them inside and out and they have relaxed a great deal. Some will say that will ruin the bellows and loosen the glue but it has not done so for the past year.

    They might be a little stiff as the machine isn't so very old. I've been warned not to treat the leather at all, and wouldn't want to damage the beautiful papers, so I guess the cure is just more playing.

  7. On 4/27/2022 at 7:42 AM, wunks said:

    It seems strange that it's your upper arms.  How are you holding your concertina?  Standing or sitting?  Held 

    out front or resting with one or both ends on your knees or perhaps with the bellows draped across a knee?  Is your chair soft seated comfortable/not scrunching you up?  Any kind of tension might induce those sympoms.  Try moving around a bit and/or changing positions.

    Fair questions. I play seated on a wooden pub chair with the concertina sitting on my left leg. I try to have reasonable posture, but yeah, sometimes I hunch a bit so I can hear over the other session instruments. It might be an endurance problem. I do try to keep my posture as neutral as possible. 



  8. I'm a reasonably strong and capable woman. Recently, I've started to turn a corner in my playing and can lead a set in our local session. And I don't know if it's because I used to play tunes twice over and now do it thrice or even four times (if the situation calls for it), but my upper arms (deltoids/triceps) feel like overcooked spaghetti noodles at the end of an exuberant set. Muscle fatigue via polkas, I guess. 


    Any suggestions on excercises to strenghthen the pushing and pulling muscles?

  9. In support of the Ozone treatment, many house inspectors have ozone fans designed to de-stink houses. We recently hired one to get rid of the mouldy smell in our car after we had a drain repaired. The inspector guy said he usually uses the machine to de-stink houses before a sale (cigaretts) or after a fire (smoke).

  10. Thanks, RAc and Wunks for the links. More specifically, I was hoping to hear feedback on what makes an Irish tune swing. Or perhaps it's one of those "you know it when you hear it" situations for which we don't have English words.

  11. I *think* I know what folks mean when they say a tune has swing, but I'm curious about what other people think. Swing could make a tune sound more lilting, but swing is also important in heavy tunes that depend on a drone note. Is swing a feeling? A tempo? A lightness? A digging-in? I'd love your thoughts.


    From that Wiki article: When asked for a definition of swing, Fats Waller replied, "Lady, if you gotta ask, you'll never know."[5]

  12. Hey, Susan! You have lots of good advice here, but I'll put in my two cents of hope. When I first started playing, I got concertina shoulder. I went to a physical therapist and he gave me some exercises to do to strengthen my upper back---they were no big deal, the hardest thing was remembering to do them. The pain resolved over about 6 months and never got so bad that I couldn't play. But now, I do try to watch my posture---it's so easy to hunch over the instrument and to curl your shoulders inwards. Also, when I play a tune I'm uncomfortable with, it's easy to tense up, when it would be better for my body and for the music, to just relax.


    Deep breaths!



  13. I"m hesitant to use my D drone in a session, as I'm still learning my way around it and I don't want to annoy my pals. But last night, the banjo player started in on Julia Delaney's and the accordion player yelled out across the table "heavy breathing!" so she and I droned a fun bass line to the solo banjo. Good times!


    • Like 1
  14. 5 hours ago, Mikefule said:

    I keep mine in the case with the lid closed and latched, even between tunes if I'm in a session in the pub.  Good discipline.  It would break my heart if a drink were spilled on the bellows, or the case were to be knocked to the floor and the concertina fell out.

    Amen to that, Mike. And not as bad as beer in the bellows, but I put my concertina down and turned my back on it for a minute at a recent session, and while I was distracted, another player picked it up and started playing it. Without asking. This annoyed me greatly. Now it never leaves my hands or goes into the case.

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