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About megmcd

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  1. I'm going to echo Ken's advice: go slow, and ask for help from your PT. I've had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists. The first "cut" healed fine, despite extensive adhesions when the cast came off, because I worked so hard on the PT. The second hand is permanently not OK (even though it started out in better condition both before and after surgery) because I was in too much of a hurry to return to work, which involved holding a pen for long periods instead of moving the hand and working on the PT. My point is that extreme care in, and even deprivation from, your preferred activities in the early stages of recovery will pay off later. If you rush, you may suffer unpleasant consequences--and we all hope this won't happen! Good luck!
  2. I've noticed that when I try to play my Dipper while I'm a car passenger, the concertina sounds and feels odd if the car fan is on, especially if the air conditioning is running. The concertina sounds hoarse and dry. (I suspect of course that my dear husband has figured out this is how to stop my playing while he's trying to drive! Although the alternative, my playing while I drive, is obviously worse.) Might this be related to the ceiling fan effect?
  3. Has anyone tried adding baffles to a Dipper County Clare concertina? How were the results? Even my kindest friends tell me my concertina is too loud at sessions, especially because my playing is, well, at a beginner level, and my goofs are too audible. The pictures of leather baffles (linked above) are attractive, too, although the work sounds daunting!
  4. Thanks again for the advice! My husband found me a "light" Gripmaster at a local shop, and it has too much spring tension, especially for my pinky. So I'll order the "extra-light" online because no one seems to carry it here. Stuart, your caution was echoed by a local guitar shop, which has seen several musicians tear pinky ligaments by using the Gripmaster too enthusiastically. In their opinion the device should be redesigned with variable-weight springs to match most people's finger strength distribution. So I'll give the extra-light a cautious try, and meanwhile I'll keep playing and stretching my hands.
  5. Thanks! I wonder if I can find a local retailer (Seattle area) so I can figure out which tension is appropriate. I'm guessing I need the lightest to start with, being female and having some long-term postsurgical impairment in one hand. Any opinion?
  6. I seem to recall a recent posting that mentioned a device (sold mostly for guitarists) that someone in this forum found useful for developing finger strength and coordination. Does anyone remember this information or know of such a device? I can't find the old posting via the forum search engine. (Actually, I'm beginning to suspect that the concertina itself could be used as a finger strengthener for guitarists! )
  7. Thanks so much, all, for your help on these ornaments. It's incredible how much helpful energy is available in this forum! And Azalin, I completely agree with your sentiments on moving from whistle to concertina. The concertina is so much more complex, and to me its challenges seem pretty daunting compared to the whistle, which I'm guessing from your lovely playing must have come fairly naturally to you.
  8. Jim, thanks for the terminology help. I have no formal training in traditional music despite my many years of playing the whistle, and when it comes to matters such as these, my ignorance shows!
  9. Frank, Thanks so much for letting me know I'm on the right track! Guess I just need more practice... I haven't studied a slap roll yet, so I'll keep on with the other methods for now. Azalin, what Frank's suggesting--ornamenting with additional notes--actually does sound great if someone better than me is playing it. Since my recorded collection is limited, can anyone point Azalin to some specific recorded multinote rolls/cuts/cranns?
  10. As another fairly new player, I'm also having trouble figuring out how to ornament/punctuate that low F#. I'm trying to "crann" (I think!) with various keys on either the left or right hand, but I find it difficult, partly because of a weak left pinky and partly because my left hand didn't recover well from carpal tunnel surgery a few years ago. Along with Chris, I'd like more information on the roll technique you're describing here. How do the rest of you people ornament the low F#? (Or is this a closely held secret? )
  11. I'm so thankful for all of your previous warnings in this forum about putting away the concertina in a closed case when I'm not playing it during a session! In tonight's session a fellow musician knocked over a full pint of Guinness, thoroughly splattering me (good thing the weather's warm, because I was soaked until I could reach home!) and my Dipper in its closed case. The Dipper case is even better than I realized: not a drop reached the interior of the case--or the concertina. So folks, please heed the warnings. If you put down your concertina in a session, put it into its case and close the lid. And carry a thick blanket in your trunk so you can sit on it when you're soaked with beer and not mess up your car seat!
  12. Bill, I'm so sorry to hear about the conflict between your music and your wife. But please don't give up hope for either one yet. When I was a kid I loved the sound of many instruments, but I couldn't tolerate the sound of any violin or fiddle--live or recorded. I apparently was supersensitive to the higher frequencies that many people can't hear. Now that I'm in my forties I love the fiddle (especially when played by incredible Irish musicians). I think I can still hear more high frequencies than some folks, but my hearing seems to have become more "normal." Of course I'm not suggesting you must wait for decades until your wife's hearing might fade! My point here is that perhaps there's a lower-pitched or more mellow-toned concertina (or other instrument) you can play. Can you persuade your wife to listen to you try different instruments, say, at a music store? I see that other people have already made some suggestions along these lines, but I wanted to validate from my own experience that some people really are extra-sensitive to certain frequencies--and there may still be a way to solve the conflict. Good luck!
  13. Just in case it helps anyone else to know, this problem was solved by my not playing concertina for several weeks (I was busy sanding the skin off my fingertips while prepping for house trim paint). I believe the earlier joint pain may have been caused by the anglo strap bruising me within or around the joint, although I don't know if this makes medical sense. Just had to heal, I guess. So I can move on to other concertina battles now, like a sore right shoulder! And Chris, you're right, using both knees helps move the weight around during practice.
  14. Anita, I had a similar problem with one of my Dipper notes a couple of days ago. The silent reed was on the inside of the reed pan, which I don't know how to access. But here's what worked for me: there's a little leather flap (a valve) that controls air flow to that reed. I gently lifted the flap and blew on the reed. That fixed the problem (the reed actually sounded when I blew on it), but I'll never know what was silencing the reed! (Or, for that matter, where the piece of fluff went inside the bellows, ready to interfere with another reed someday, I assume!) Does anyone know if Anita's instrument might offer a similarly easy solution without her having to access the inside of the reed block? Meg
  15. Years ago, in my college days, I took my tinwhistle into the forest behind my campus to play some tunes. I was terrified when, in the invisible trees beyond, someone played back the same tune! I mean, what were the chances of a human carrying a tinwhistle within earshot in the woods near a small town? I don't think I've ever run so fast! Sorry this isn't a concertina tale, but even though I'm ostensibly older and wiser now, I still don't think it's a good idea to play music alone in the woods!
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