Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
guit-box
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Re: Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Post by guit-box » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:18 am

I'm not sure what you mean. I think that HIi describes things in a non-literal way, he'd probably tell you himself that much of what he says is meant to get you trying new things and thinking outside the box. I prefer more specific descriptions personally, but I find some of his writing to be interesting and spot on. He can also play many techniques with great virtuosity so he has the goods. He's describing the tips as more a thought focus than the tip joints are plucking, he agrees with me (and the video evidence) that players are releasing the string with middle joint flexion. But he believes that you should be focusing on the tip of the finger when you pluck. (much like when you pick up a pencil you think of the finger tips touching the pencil, not what your shoulder or elbow are doing) He also has a useful blog post about getting to the string vs plucking the string. Search "Philip hii walking the fingers" for that blog post. ( I can't really speak for him, those are just my interpretations. I have read all his blogs and PDF materials)
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

A.Arcese
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Re: Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Post by A.Arcese » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:19 am

guit-box wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:18 am
I'm not sure what you mean. I think that HIi describes things in a non-literal way, he'd probably tell you himself that much of what he says is meant to get you trying new things and thinking outside the box. I prefer more specific descriptions personally, but I find some of his writing to be interesting and spot on. He can also play many techniques with great virtuosity so he has the goods. He's describing the tips as more a thought focus than the tip joints are plucking, he agrees with me (and the video evidence) that players are releasing the string with middle joint flexion. But he believes that you should be focusing on the tip of the finger when you pluck. (much like when you pick up a pencil you think of the finger tips touching the pencil, not what your shoulder or elbow are doing) He also has a useful blog post about getting to the string vs plucking the string. Search "Philip hii walking the fingers" for that blog post. ( I can't really speak for him, those are just my interpretations. I have read all his blogs and PDF materials)
Thanks. I was looking at those blog posts. Will keep reading and watching.

Rasputin
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Re: Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Post by Rasputin » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:58 pm

A.Arcese wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:25 pm
I was a professional pianist when younger and though I was retrained, I became one of the four who quit and do something else. (I became a book editor.)

Having resumed guitar after an extremely long hiatus, I have questions about how we prevent injury in the first place. I see things in the guitar world that concern me--for example, emphasis on volume, 650 as standard scale length, "stretching" rather than more passively "allowing" the hand to open on fretboard, lack of discussion on the use of forearm rotation on fretboard, lack of mention that sustained spreading at the knuckles causes tension to accrue, a need for more emphasis on playing with minimal force necessary, lack of clarity around how to avoid tension in the RH.

Lol, but maybe I'm missing something? The Golandsky Institute (Taubman technique) has worked hard to identify how the body actually works at the keyboard, in cooperation with medical researchers.
Is there anything in Taubman about whether you should play trills using the same finger each time, or whether you should exchange the fingers? The same thing obviously exists on guitar.

guit-box
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Re: Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Post by guit-box » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:12 pm

Here's a list of what's on the Taubman videos. I watched them all at the library of a local music school for free. They seemed useful for pianists, but I didn't find much value for me as a guitarist. I remember them moving very slow and thinking the material could have been conveyed in 20 minutes vs something like 8 hours of video.

http://www.taubman-tapes.com/DVD_Contents.html
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

A.Arcese
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Re: Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Post by A.Arcese » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:20 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:58 pm
A.Arcese wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:25 pm
I was a professional pianist when younger and though I was retrained, I became one of the four who quit and do something else. (I became a book editor.)

Having resumed guitar after an extremely long hiatus, I have questions about how we prevent injury in the first place. I see things in the guitar world that concern me--for example, emphasis on volume, 650 as standard scale length, "stretching" rather than more passively "allowing" the hand to open on fretboard, lack of discussion on the use of forearm rotation on fretboard, lack of mention that sustained spreading at the knuckles causes tension to accrue, a need for more emphasis on playing with minimal force necessary, lack of clarity around how to avoid tension in the RH.

Lol, but maybe I'm missing something? The Golandsky Institute (Taubman technique) has worked hard to identify how the body actually works at the keyboard, in cooperation with medical researchers.
Is there anything in Taubman about whether you should play trills using the same finger each time, or whether you should exchange the fingers? The same thing obviously exists on guitar.
Because of how the keys sit under the fingers and the distances between them, and the need to push that key all the way down into the keybed and actually not let the key rise all the way, I'm not sure how one would play most piano trills switching out fingers.

My main piano teacher growing up did require me, basically, to switch out fingers on certain kinds of repeated notes. (I was resistant.)

Here is Edna Golandsky showing basic trill technique:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXNgUgMYLow

Graham Fitch gets into much more complexity, but toward the end he talks about how the double-escapement system of the piano means that you do not have to let the key rise all the way to replay it. If I were to switch out fingers (somehow! given anatomical constraints), I would be unable to take advantage of that feature and the amount of work would go way up, and speed and control would go down:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC6bgBA8en8

So the short answer is, same fingers, use rotation. When I first was shown switching out fingers on a guitar trill, my reaction was "Whuuuuu .... ?" :shock:

A.Arcese
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Re: Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Post by A.Arcese » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:26 pm

guit-box wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:12 pm
Here's a list of what's on the Taubman videos. I watched them all at the library of a local music school for free. They seemed useful for pianists, but I didn't find much value for me as a guitarist. I remember them moving very slow and thinking the material could have been conveyed in 20 minutes vs something like 8 hours of video.

http://www.taubman-tapes.com/DVD_Contents.html
For $9.99 / month you can watch Golandsky Institute videos on their website. These are more current and succinct, although a lot of them get into repertoire, albeit with a technical emphasis. And there's quite a bit on YouTube.

I agree the Taubman tapes are pretty slow. It sort of makes sense when you consider that a pianist started getting their technique ingrained at around age 6 and by the time they question it they are probably an adult. A lot of basic movements need to be reconsidered. I was fortunate to work with Taubman-trained teachers directly and have them pinpoint the ways to reform my technique. Much faster.

Also, yes, there's not so very much in there directly applicable to guitar. I want this kind of approach for guitar but see it must not really exist.

guit-box
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Re: Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Post by guit-box » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:08 pm

There are some methods out there that are very detailed as far as guitar mechanics go, full-body stuff is usually an aside. The problem is, I think they convey much information that is just wrong. Aaron Shearer attempted to do this, and his books have some good info, but there's also information that I've proven wrong--through video analysis of what concert guitarists are actually doing. Shearer's "Principal of Uniform Direction of Movement" is totally wrong and not how any accomplished guitarist actually plays. The slow motion thread looks at pretty much every technical method out there and compares the claims to how concert guitarists are actually moving their fingers. The best advice is to do what they do, not what they say they do.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Johns Hopkins/Peobody stepping up for musicians health

Post by AndreiKrylov » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:19 pm

A.Arcese wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:45 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:01 pm
Interesting article. For guitarists many health problems come from endless hours of very uncomfortable and ergonomically bad sitting position...but it is usually taboo to discuss fundamental things like that... I also think that if shape of guitar will be changed to make instrument more adjustable and convenient for our body and hands this may help too - yet this idea of changing guitar shape and construction would probably not be accepted too...
The stakes for not confronting taboos like this can be high. As high as wrecking your health and losing your career or beloved hobby. That is not acceptable, and music cultures that refuse to tackle physiology and ergonomics should be willing to acknowledge they are all too willing to injure people. Sorry if that sounds drastic on my part, but I experienced injury myself and enrolled my daughter in non-Taubman piano lessons this fall only to discover that dangerous technique is still being widely taught to innocent, enthusiastic kids.

I've followed your comments on the use of a strap and I agree that straps are a pretty obvious help and it's bizarre for them to be so "wrong" for contemporary concert classicals. Every other kind of guitar--and concert guitars of the not-distant past--has them or had them. There's a reason why--they work well for many players.
Thanks for your comment!
There is one more suggestion regarding hands problems of guitarists in particular:
it could be good if guitarists will start to use more instruments of different sizes and strings length, not only 650 mm but shorter sizes, as well as strings with lower tensions and guitars with action as low as possible.
There are many injuries coming just from that|:
1. High action
2. Hard tension
3. 650 mm or longer string length played by smaller or weaker hands...
these 3 factors could easily bring problems and injuries (especially when combined with not convenient nor ergonomic sitting, which affect one's back with turning your neck when constantly looking on the fretboard etc) and they do...
Guitar is a great instrument and I love it! but... it could be so much easier on our bodies if only we would approach it in more rational way, rather than just by blind following of "traditions" and great teachers...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen it on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. Thanks!

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