Practicing scales and aging

A "classroom" environment for exchanging Technical Questions & Answers, How-To's, music theory concepts, etc.
User avatar
KevinCollins
Posts: 1304
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:01 am
Location: Amherst, Mass, USA

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by KevinCollins » Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:55 pm

Hi, Summer. I recommend playing guitar to everyone, keeps you young. Don't you agree?

My doctor refers to this as "the fibroma of old age". There is a thickening of the connective tissues and you grow lumps. Happens to everyone. But thickening is relative, are my thicker tissues thicker than a 20 year-old with thick tissues? Like what's faster, a fast runner or a fast driver? It's all relative.

The real issue is you can't get away with things the way you used to. The example I like to use with my students is my desk top. There are six ways to stay organized. One way is to have a pile of of stuff and just be able to reach into the pile and grab whatever you need. We all know people like this. The problem with this method is eventually the memory quits working on that level and it doesn't work anymore. As a 50+, I think I must have that thing they're all talking about, what was it, CRS? So, you have a life based on remembering where you left things and suddenly you can no longer remember where you left things? Maybe that wasn't such a good idea, after all...

And you can really hurt yourself. The human body becomes fully mature around age 25, I call it "the ripe tomato". You can get away with things up to about age 27. After age 34, the body begins to stop replacing things. This doesn't get to be a problem until you are around my age. I sprained my ankle last fall and it is taking forever to come back. In high school, it would have been eight weeks, now it is eight months. This is why we listen to our old teachers, because they are the survivors: if we expect to still be playing at age 50, the time to develop "good" habits is before you are susceptible to injury, not after you have ended your career, supposedly. Life is full of surprises.

But I love being this age. Now, if my back just didn't hurt and I didn't get so stiff... Maybe I should do some stretching, yoga. Yeah, yoga is cool thing to do, all those healthy, happy people wearing tights, I could do that. Naahhh, a couple tylenol and I'll be fine, why people keep taking Vioxx...

And the other thing, the nails get thinner and there's nothing you can do about it, according to my dermatologist buddy. Maybe vitamin-E oil topically and biotin orally, they say. But I had thin nails to begin with, that is annoying. Maybe I'll switch to electric. Not really, still having too much fun with classical. Segovia was 96 and making a comeback, I still have a few years left.

Cheers,

Kevin :bye:
Last edited by KevinCollins on Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kevin Collins, Amherst, Mass, USA All rights reserved.

User avatar
remmus
Posts: 1713
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:53 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by remmus » Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:14 pm

Hi to you Kevin!

I agree with stretching - very important thing to do especially as we grow "riper". But I dunno about things always getting more difficult to do, including memory tasks. If you actively use your brain - learn a foreign language, study physics, learn to read music and play an instrument etc...not just sit and watch TV all day, then memory doesn't fade. My theory is that since we are older we simply have more stuff to store in memory. Younger people don't have as much in storage yet and they can access what they have faster sometimes because it's closer to the door. We have to walk in and rout around for a while sometimes amongst all the boxes of stuff before we find what we are looking for! But our memory hasn't diminished. It's all still there. But really, 50 is not old. At least not nowadays. Maybe my grandparents were old at 50 but my mom wasn't and neither am I. Even 70+ can be youthful - a major portion of aging is really between our ears. If we think we are old, then we act old, feel old, and cut ourselves out of doing youthful activities.

And I was thinking about Lare's problem. Maybe it's nature's (or the Universe's) way of telling him he might need to concentrate his playing talent in other areas besides scales now. Maybe he should go back to a lighter, regular practice instead of his robust, semi-annual refresher. Play some of those slower, passionate, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and soul-searching pieces that you (Lare) are now finally old enough and mature enough to play! Sounds like a good idea to me!
"...it is awfully easy to become content with a level below what one is actually capable of." - Carl Peter

User avatar
Larry McDonald
Teacher
Posts: 1245
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:33 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Wi USA

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by Larry McDonald » Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:44 pm

Hi all,

I've stretched my fingers before each practice session for as long as I can remember. I also massage the muscles of the left hand. I do martial arts 3-4 days a week, and this include 15 minutes of stretching- so I don't think this is the issue. I'm thicker around the middle, though. :(

But it does take 20 minutes to get the general stiffness out of my hands. When I was younger, I was just like Guitarshreda, no warm up was needed. Now, going on stage "cold" is unthinkable.

On the bright side, I don't think I've lost any ability. In fact, since doing all this pedagogy study during the last 5 years, I might be playing a little bit more cleanly than when I was in my 20's and 30's, when I was doing all those hours of scale practice. :)

OK, Summer, I think I'm going to try the light scale work every day. Expect a report in a month or so. I'll continue to warm up with a melodic arpeggio piece (like HVL Etude 2) and a harmonic arpeggio piece (like Estudio Brilliante -Tarrega). You've inspired me to start running again, too.

And I agree with Kevin, I'm very satisfied to be at this age.

Larry McDonald

Nick Cutroneo
Posts: 2821
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:22 am
Location: Manchester, CT

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:14 pm

Lare wrote: But it does take 20 minutes to get the general stiffness out of my hands. When I was younger, I was just like Guitarshreda, no warm up was needed. Now, going on stage "cold" is unthinkable.
Let me just say that I NEVER go on stage cold. Just because I do it to get myself ready for concerts doesn't mean that's how I go to play recitals. I know my limits, and sure I'm able to 'get away' with it. I played a chamber recital last Sunday where I had driving 3 1/2 hours from my home in Jersey to the gig in CT, only to get there with about 45 minutes before the concert started. I didn't play my instrument at all the day before (I was down in Jersey seeing a Rush concert, left in the afternoon, saw the concert at night, went to sleep, woke up and drop back up). So when I got to the venue, I was definitely not in top form, and while I was ok with the performance (I ran through 2 pieces that I'm doing in a competition next week) it certainly wasn't the best conditions. HOWEVER, it was a great test to see how well things I worked on were working for me, and I must say, for the most part, things held together.

Usually I'm a bit smarter then doing that, normally I'll play for about and hour or 2 the day of a concert, get my fingers going, go over some things, do my technique work. By the time 7:30 rolls around for the concert I've already warmed up in the hall, gotten used to the acoustics and am ready to go.

I only use the 'cold' test to test out a recital program if its a new program, or a program that I haven't done in a while.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

User avatar
remmus
Posts: 1713
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:53 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by remmus » Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:55 pm

by Lare on Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:44 pm

You've inspired me to start running again, too.
Well, at least I can feel like I did a little something positive today!
Don't forget your iPod Lare.


:casque:
summer
"...it is awfully easy to become content with a level below what one is actually capable of." - Carl Peter

User avatar
KevinCollins
Posts: 1304
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:01 am
Location: Amherst, Mass, USA

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by KevinCollins » Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:24 pm

Guitarshreda--

I hate you, Young Guy.

Cheers,

Kevin :serenade: :serenade: :serenade:
Kevin Collins, Amherst, Mass, USA All rights reserved.

canoe man

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by canoe man » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:48 am

I lost my hands for part of year, some years back. I developed lumps and sticking on several tendons. By taking hyaluronic acid, glucosamine chondroitin with msm, coral calcium, and icelandic fish oil my hands recovered and I am playing with less pain than ever. This is not an instant fix, it will take a few weeks to show progress. I would suggest expansion excersizes, like walking the spider, chiropractic care, and gentle stretching to allow the inflamations to settle down.

Nick Payne
Amateur luthier
Posts: 793
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:21 am
Location: Canberra

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by Nick Payne » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:32 am

I'd suggest yoga for those of any age as a means of keeping the machinery (both physical and mental) in good running order and as an antidote or preventative measure against the effects of aging. I've been a practitioner of yoga for about 40 years, since I was in my teens. In my opinion its benefits extend into every part of life, and the older I get the more advantages I perceive. The Canberra School of Music would seem to agree: I met an old friend the other day who is a yoga teacher, and she is now giving classes there.

Whatever they're doing at the CSM would seem to be working, as their graduates seem to carry off multiple prizes at guitar competitions. eg. I think 1st prize for the last three years at the Cordoba Guitar Festival competition and also the last couple of years at the Tokyo International Guitar Competition.

Gminor7

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by Gminor7 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:57 pm

I'd like to respond to Lare's questions. I'll be 52 this year. I have found that breaking scales down into much smaller pieces and practicing speed bursts has helped maintain, and even improve, my overall ability with faster, cleaner scales. I don't really practice a full one or two-octave scale for speed anymore, only for clarity and fullness of tone. For speed I do 3 to 5 note groups only. I also had a trigger finger in my left 4th finger, had a couple of cortisone injections and finally the surgical release. It took about 3 months of slow, relaxed practice focusing on that finger to regain ability. Thanks to everyone else for the helpful responses, especially the anecdotal recommendations for glucosamine, etc. I think I will try that to see if it helps me as well.

fep

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by fep » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:57 pm

I can maintain 132-138 bpm (sixteenths) at all times with repertoire, and during my 2 week refresher, I can get to 144 and often 152
.

:shock: Larry, a bit stiff or not it doesn't appear you have much of a problem. 16th note scales at 152 bpm, wow!!

User avatar
Charles Mokotoff
Posts: 898
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:43 pm

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by Charles Mokotoff » Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:34 pm

Well, I am 52, I played for about 25 years, had my scales close to 160. Then I stopped for 16 years. Been playing again for another 3 now and my scales are close to 160 again...I don't feel anything related to the aging process. Thanks to my trusty Dynarette I can sit there all day and play...except for kids and such oh and my job!

I think there aren't too many great things about getting older, but the ability to finally interpret music sensitively, to slow things down and take them apart, put them back together artfully, all that stuff came this second time 'round...

I really enjoy practicing now...life is good! :D

User avatar
BugDog
Posts: 1060
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:07 pm
Location: Northern KY USA

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by BugDog » Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:20 pm

Lare,

Didn't you say in another thread that you were into martial arts and were starting to break hard objects with the same hands you play guitar? If so you might consider that a possible cause along with aging.

I've recently noticed that when I've been out mowing grass (and I've got a lot of grass to mow) that the vibrations from gripping the mower will cause a certain soreness and stiffness the next couple of days.

My two cents, for what's worth.
BugDog
There's one in every crowd.

User avatar
Larry McDonald
Teacher
Posts: 1245
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:33 pm
Location: Milwaukee, Wi USA

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by Larry McDonald » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:38 pm

Yup BugDog, you might be right. I hadn't put the two together (duh!).

The board breaking thing is down to two weeks every third month. It may have been that, especially the palm-heel strikes, but so far I haven't felt any change in the last 60 days. But you could be right about this.

I don't have problems with the board breaking part of my training, but neverthless I will pull way back thinking that this may have contributed to my problem. I do double work with my feet, so the master might let me slide. (I have to break bricks with my hands at my next level). I'm going to draw the line at that point and say "hhmmm, sorry boss, but I'm a wuss". One of the guys is a physician and he won't break bricks either. The let him pass through the requirement.

Thanks BugDog, this could be it.
Larry McDonald

User avatar
BugDog
Posts: 1060
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:07 pm
Location: Northern KY USA

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by BugDog » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:04 pm

You're certainly welcome. Hope that's it. You can stop breaking boards but you can't stop getting old. Well you can but that's not a very good option either.
BugDog
There's one in every crowd.

User avatar
ramsnake
Posts: 1409
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:22 pm
Location: Denmark, Western Australia (plenty of Kangaroos!)

Re: Practicing scales and aging

Post by ramsnake » Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:15 pm

Lare wrote:Yup BugDog, you might be right. I hadn't put the two together (duh!).

The board breaking thing is down to two weeks every third month. It may have been that, especially the palm-heel strikes, but so far I haven't felt any change in the last 60 days. But you could be right about this.

I don't have problems with the board breaking part of my training, but neverthless I will pull way back thinking that this may have contributed to my problem. I do double work with my feet, so the master might let me slide. (I have to break bricks with my hands at my next level). I'm going to draw the line at that point and say "hhmmm, sorry boss, but I'm a wuss". One of the guys is a physician and he won't break bricks either. The let him pass through the requirement.

Thanks BugDog, this could be it.
Larry McDonald
Lare you are kidding with me here :? My oh My! Shake head in bewilderment! It has to be it! :)
Surfing equates to living in the very moment of 'now'. When you ride a wave, you leave behind all things important and unimportant, the purity of the moment is upon you. Bill Hamilton (Kauai, Hawaii)

Return to “Classical Guitar Classes”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 13 guests