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Jim Besser

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Everything posted by Jim Besser

  1. Since someone else brought the issue up, maybe I can reveal my abysmal ignorance and plead for instructions on how to make the quote feature work.
  2. [so.. please do report any kinds of problems you have experienced and by all means of course the various methods or ways of treatment that have helped or failed but I propose that for the moment we do not suggest others to practise the same 'cure' unless a profound analysis has been carried out. Jim, what are your experiences?] Bad tennis elbow/carpel tunnel. Caused, apparently, by keyboarding all day, but seriously aggravated by playing concertina and guitar. Kept under control through medical intervention, stretching, exercise, and trying to brace the concertina whenever possible (but hard, since I play a lot of Morris). Holding up the weight of the concertina while working those tendons is a major complicating factor. In my own experience, the weight of the instrument is a huge factor. My first good box was/is a Herrington: wonderful, but heavily. My current primary concertina is much lighter, and there's a big difference in how I feel at the end of a practice session or a Morris event Interestingly, it turned out that the guitar playing -- specifically, gripping a flatpick -- was the thing that hurt the most Seems to me that a lot of people are probably in my situation -- an injury caused by work, which affects music playing. Paying attention to hand position has been a big help, as has trying to stretch between tunes. I wouldn't recommend specific treatments, but I will recommend that if you have similar problems, you seek competent medical help and SHOP AROUND. Some medical people don't want to spend the time to look at what you're doing with your keyboard, your concertina and whatever else is hurting and figure out how to help. ALso, as I learned the hard way, pain is a warning that should be heeded. I didn't do that, and regret it.
  3. [so sorry that you have the mess to clean up. Hope you were not severly hit in your area. What a bummer to miss the SI and have the alternate event cancelled.] Our area got clobbered -- 14 big oak trees down in the woods behind our house, numerous homes in the neighborhood badly damaged -- but our house was fine. Maybe it was the sound of concertina music in the howling height of the storm (it keeps the dogs from getting too panicky) kept trouble away.
  4. Say hi to my old buddy and bandmate Michael Reid. Tell him that the MOrris ale I was supposed to attend -- and which was responsible for me being unable to attend the SI -- was canceled because of the hurricane. Major bummer. Now I just have to sit here and practice tunes by myself (and clean up storm wreckage)
  5. I've raised this topic before, but still have a hard time dealing with it. To wit: what strategies do people use for effective practice, and particularly for maintaining tunes you've already learned while acquiring new ones. The problem for me: I have learned so many new tunes in recent years that the neurons must be getting overloaded. I forget the ones I've learned a while back, I squander time learning a tune and then forgetting I ever heard of it, etc. A function of old age, no doubt, but I suspect I'm not alone. So how do people organize practice, in a way that helps them maintain the things they've learned while learning lots of new things? How do you all organize playlists so they help organize practice?
  6. [Anything with either of the Kruskal borthers on it (Tom or Jody). Jody plays in Grand Picnic, and I think they've recorded. Tom is featured on "Round Pond Relics" (only in vinyl) and "Over The Water," both from Cottey Light records. Tom's in Boston (area) and Jody's in New York. The recordings of Tom are mostly Morris. If Jody's recorded, it's probably mostly contradance stuff.] Round Pond Relics is a classic; I've spent a lot of time over the years trying to learn those tunes the way Tom plays them. Highly recommended, if you can find it.
  7. [younger members. I think that's true of the folk music scene in general (at least in the US), and also in other milieus: how many teenage Deadheads do you know? But there are also a number of areas -- even outside New England -- where contra dancing is multi-generational. I have two favorite stories which relate to this, one about new dancers, and the other about generations.] At the Glen Echo weekly contra dance -- one of the biggest in the country -- there is an interesting age division. Lots of geezers like myself who have been dancing/playing contra for years. Then LOTS of very young folk -- 17 or so to early 20s, who bring an energetic, swing-influenced style And the music is changing. When I started playing, the model was the New England bands influenced by Bob McQuillan--tunes played straight up, conventional chords, very steady rhythm. The most popular bands today are swing influenced. Much jazzier sound. Led by piano players who use lots of jazz chords, never play a tune the same way twice. No more straight boom-chuka rhythms. Very challenging to play with, but the dancers seem to love it.
  8. [Neither September 11th or the 22nd is a Sunday this year. The Sundays are all multiples of 7.] Whoops. I was never good with numbers. It's this Sunday, Sept. 7. For anybody who's interested here's a link: http://www.tpff.org/
  9. Just wondering if any concertina.net denizens might attending this excellent festival on Sunday, SEpt. 11. I'll be there with my anglos, playing for a bunch of rowdy cloggers, and would enjoy hanging out with any other squeezers.
  10. I play mostly at contra dances and for cloggers and morris dancers -- all very different. But we've periodically been asked to fill in for Irish dancers, as well. One observation: people who do show dancing usually have trouble communicating with musicians. The Irish dancers I've played for seem to have very specific requirements -- speed, type of tune, a/b patterns, etc -- but don't generally do a very good job communicating it. The clogging group we've worked with for 7 or so years is the same; after all this time, they are poor at providing guidance about what they need. That said, playing for Irish dancers is fun because the music is fast and the crowds absolutely love both the music and the dance.
  11. This thread is giving me a bad case of concertina envy. Around here: a 30 button Lachenal with Dipper mechanism, a 30 button square Herrington and a 20 button no-name German/Italian/Oriental garage sale special that's actually 2 or three junky concertinas cobbled together by my unartful hands. A total piece of crap, but it's what got me started down this long and expensive road.
  12. I know we've been through a lot of this over the years, but I'd be interested in some concentrated discussion about how concertina players with repetitive stress injuries cope: exercises, devices like arm straps, playing techniques that help. And what to avoid, in terms of playing. I'd be happy to share what I've learned after 2 rounds of physical therapy, 1 of chiropractic and a lot of trial and error.
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