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Morgana

Beware The Death Grip!

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I've revently noticed that after about an hour of practising (with breaks) that my left thumb (where it joins my hand) becomes quite sore, as I am unconsciouly gripping the hand strap too hard.

 

(Note: I play sitting down in a chair with back support, my left foot resting on my concertina case so my left leg is slightly raised, and the concertina resting on my left leg).

 

Does anyone have any ideas of how I might break this bad habit?

 

With thanks

Morgana :)

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Does anyone have any ideas of how I might break this bad habit?

1) Affix a thumbtack (gives it a new meaning) to the end of the bar where your thumb presses.

 

2) Attach a stick to your thumb like a splint, so it won't bend.

 

Honestly, I don't know, except to do some practicing where you deliberately concentrate on the thumb and not gripping (regardless of how bad your playing sounds).

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Your description seems to indicate that you are keeping the left end of the instrument pretty much fixated to its position at the left leg while working the bellows dominantly with the right hand and doing so you get too much static load

engaging the left thumb since you also probably are stabilizing the instrument almost entirely with your grip.

If this assumption is not entirely correct, let's make a re-start....:-)

 

The onesided static load is one problem and using the thumb for it another.

 

Generally speaking common 'work hygiene' like frequent breaks is essential but since the problems related to static load may appear already within one or two minutes you can not safely avoid that in common music practise....playing tunes shorter than half a minute at a time maybe....:-)

 

So in principle...

 

1) find ways to work symmetrically or by alternating bellows work regularly, frequently and rhytmically between the two hands.

2) find ways to avoid gripping the instrument at all...let the hands/arms do the job for management of the bellows instead of the thumbs (or any finger in case of English but this is Anglo I guess..or Duet)

3) find ways to avoid carrying any weight of the instrument by muscular force or strain of joints...your own left side as you describe it ought to be safe in this respect but the right hand does 'carry some weight' ...although with the the Anglo there should be small problems with this except when standing

On the other hand it is easier to work symmetrically while standing which is an advantage.... BUT

4) the original handle (wooden bar + handstrap) is very primitive and could be much improved to offer better handposition, better stability of the connection between hand and instrument, and better relaxation for fingers....you may find

this aspect developed in some articles:

 

http://www.concertina.net/goran_ergonom.html

 

http://www.harbour.demon.co.uk/tina.faq/rahm/rahm.htm

 

http://www.concertina.net/goran_holding.html

 

http://www.concertina.net/goran_supporting.html

 

http://www.concertina.net/images/goran_supporting.gif

 

Goran Rahm

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Can I just add that the other thing I do which really helps is to place over my knee and under the concertina one of those rubbery non-slip things. they are really soft and flexible and full of holes. I don't know the correct term for them but they really help *stick* the concertina pretty firmly and protect it too.

 

Sharron

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Sharron:Can I just add that the other thing I do which really helps is to place over my knee and under the concertina one of those rubbery non-slip things. they are really soft and flexible and full of holes.

 

Goran:I have not tried that but it sounds like a good idea really...

One way of reducing the slip away problem is working the bellows in a 'fanning' manner and balancing the steady end on its lower edge upon the leg (see the "Supporting..." article.) The main cause using the method however is achieving greater symmetry of 'bellowsing'

Does not hinder of course that the 'rubbery non-slip thing' makes the situation even better!

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Hi all :)

 

Just a short postscript to let you know that with the help of my Alexander technique teacher, the problem has been solved.

 

After watching me play, my teacher suggested that I move my left thumb slightly, so it was resting against the side of the concertina where the strap meets the outerside of the bellows. By doing this I was able to relax my thumb without lessening my hold on the concertina, and this helped immediately. I have had no problems since.

 

Thanks again for all the helpful suggestion,

 

Regards

Morgana :)

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Morgona:"Just a short postscript to let you know that with the help of my Alexander technique teacher, the problem has been solved."

 

Goran:Well, good to hear that! Just bear in mind if you get some (other) problem again to attend to 1) the right tool/instrument 2) the right technique/method for its use 3) your own training ....IN THAT ORDER

 

Goran Rahm

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