energy and health

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henrikhank
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energy and health

Post by henrikhank » Tue May 08, 2018 4:18 pm

I have heard a lot about practicing but still not much about energy and health when it comes to playing through stuff when practicing.
I mean, we all know how to go through a piece part by part. What we never really discuss is how and when to play through stuff. I feel like it's important to practice playing through the stuff you analysed and tried to play. We all know this. Here I am referring to playing as an exercice and not just for fun.
Some call this real practice.
You could call it practicinf playing through a piece or a part of it. This takes a lot of energy and it can be harsh for the body (at least for me). The analysing part does not take a toll on the body. The accordion music I play is mostly fast dance music so it takes energy from me (especially the polka which is easy to just play...only two chords and so on). I feel like you must practice this in your music room before going to the dance but you only do it as a practice. It's not the same as playibg through it at a dance, I suppose.
The question would be: how do professional accordionists deal with this?
Is it just me having to deal with this issue or...?

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Re: energy and health

Post by Geronimo » Tue May 08, 2018 4:31 pm

henrikhank wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:18 pm
I have heard a lot about practicing but still not much about energy and health when it comes to playing through stuff when practicing.
Well, the neighbors will love you for not playing at volume. This may include "practice registrations" that swallow a lot less air. Of course you'll also want to sit down rather than standing all the time.

It's hard to avoid doing things in the final version a few times: you would not want to discover that "for real" you run out of air, miss the register switches, or cannot manage the bass jumps while standing, and so on.

Doing bellows changes as often as musically possible helps avoiding overextending the bellows which is bad for left shoulder and elbow.

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Re: energy and health

Post by henrikhank » Tue May 08, 2018 4:40 pm

Geronimo wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:31 pm
henrikhank wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:18 pm
I have heard a lot about practicing but still not much about energy and health when it comes to playing through stuff when practicing.
Well, the neighbors will love you for not playing at volume. This may include "practice registrations" that swallow a lot less air. Of course you'll also want to sit down rather than standing all the time.

It's hard to avoid doing things in the final version a few times: you would not want to discover that "for real" you run out of air, miss the register switches, or cannot manage the bass jumps while standing, and so on.

Doing bellows changes as often as musically possible helps avoiding overextending the bellows which is bad for left shoulder and elbow.
Practice registration?

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Re: energy and health

Post by Geronimo » Tue May 08, 2018 5:03 pm

henrikhank wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:40 pm
Geronimo wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:31 pm
henrikhank wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:18 pm
I have heard a lot about practicing but still not much about energy and health when it comes to playing through stuff when practicing.
Well, the neighbors will love you for not playing at volume. This may include "practice registrations" that swallow a lot less air. Of course you'll also want to sit down rather than standing all the time.

It's hard to avoid doing things in the final version a few times: you would not want to discover that "for real" you run out of air, miss the register switches, or cannot manage the bass jumps while standing, and so on.

Doing bellows changes as often as musically possible helps avoiding overextending the bellows which is bad for left shoulder and elbow.
Practice registration?
That swallow a low less air. Like M instead of LMMH. Bass registrations with single reed (or even no bass reed at all, relying on the chord coupler to do the job). I may put up a video with M against a 10-reed bass to illustrate the kind of stop-and-go effort and bellows extension caused by air-intensive bass registrations.

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Re: energy and health

Post by jozz » Wed May 09, 2018 8:04 am

I feel where you're coming from.

I'm currently practicing for a small show at the end of the month which is completely new for me and has a couple of fast-paced things in them, that I don't usually play, heck I don't usually play the bass side even when performing in a band.

So this troubles me some and the first problem is confidence that I can hit everything in the pace that's needed. The second problem is indeed a physical issue, like I'm no fitness guy, but after a show I can feel that I've done something.

I have no real answers for this but I do make sure I have some things covered before I set out:

1. have proper foldback, so you hear yourself loud and clear during the dance, because otherwise you tend to pull even harder as you suspect no one is hearing you

2. in preparation I make sure I not only rehearse the pieces, but also practice play them in different positions (sitting, standing, different positions), rooms, and with different audio setups

3. then a cliche but true for me, in the end I figure I just prepped my best and I just wing it, and try to have fun, then everything flies by and you notice only afterwards the body aches

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Re: energy and health

Post by george garside » Wed May 09, 2018 9:37 am

Jazz, I think your number 3 (wing it) is the right frame of mind to have for a performance. The alternative of trying too hard to get things 'right' ( whatever that means) can result in undue stress = cock ups!

I presume you will be playing as part of a 'band' rather than solo and leaving out the bass for the fast tunes will probably only be noticed by you and may be preferable to losing the essential ''bounce' required for dance music.

The absolute key to playing for any sort of dance is to watch and play to the feet of the dancers - you are playing for them not for you.

If all else fails the accordion is probably the worlds best 'miming' instrument. Just keep the air button pressed , move the bellows in and out and fingers here and there on the keyboard - far better than coming to a halt and feeling as if you've made a john halls of it. The funny thing about miming is that it reduces tension and often you are able to rejoin the 'tune' naturally without anybody realising that you have had a bit of time out so to speak

From a band leaders point of view I would far sooner somebody in difficulty does a bit of miming rather than cocking up the whole proceedings!

george

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Re: energy and health

Post by Pipemajor » Wed May 09, 2018 10:45 am

The accordion is probably the world's best "miming" instrument
You can't beat the bagpipes for miming. It is common practice in a pipe band to put all the beginners in the middle row when marching with the drones corked off and they just blow the pipes up and waggle their fingers about a bit. I can remember one gig we had in Luxembourg where we had a beautiful blond girl piper(?) who was OK on the practice chanter but couldn't play a note on the pipes.
She was also a school music teacher. One performance was being televised by the national TV company and the cameraman zoomed in on her because she was good looking. She played the part and her fingers were flying about on the pipe chanter but she had no reeds in at all and no one was the wiser. The famous Dagenham Girl Pipers of long ago were based not too far from me in Essex and they were chosen for their looks not their talent. They did many prestige shows and TV events, including a tour of the USA with only a few playing the full set and the rest dummying.
Still they looked good and they were popular for their entertainment value.

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Re: energy and health

Post by Geronimo » Wed May 09, 2018 12:11 pm

Pipemajor wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 10:45 am
The famous Dagenham Girl Pipers of long ago were based not too far from me in Essex and they were chosen for their looks not their talent. They did many prestige shows and TV events, including a tour of the USA with only a few playing the full set and the rest dummying.
Reminds me of the old "How do you get two piccolos to play unisono?" adage, the solution being "Shoot one". The miming solution seems more humane.

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Re: energy and health

Post by jozz » Wed May 09, 2018 1:47 pm

george garside wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 9:37 am
Jazz, I think your number 3 (wing it) is the right frame of mind to have for a performance. The alternative of trying too hard to get things 'right' ( whatever that means) can result in undue stress = cock ups!

I presume you will be playing as part of a 'band' rather than solo and leaving out the bass for the fast tunes will probably only be noticed by you and may be preferable to losing the essential ''bounce' required for dance music.
hi george

Yes in the band setting I leave out the bass (as we have a bass player), in the other case it's a delicate affaire where I will accompany a solo singer, with a couple of these fast pieces where I must be on top of my game (in contrast to the band where I can get away with things here and there). No miming allowed :!:

but on the other hand I will be sitting down at times, and that I cannot do with the band ... so maybe it will cancel each other out :D

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Re: energy and health

Post by george garside » Wed May 09, 2018 2:31 pm

if accompanying a solo or small group of 2 or 3 singers I try to position myself where I can see their faces so I can watch their mouths for phrasing i.e the singers are leading but I am so close that the audience think its the other way round. If its not possible to get a view of their mouths I watch the side of their necks which provides an indication of their phrasing.

This applies to singers you regularly play with but is particularly useful if asked to accompany a singer that you have not practiced with or even heard previously i.e if you are put on the spot!

george

henrikhank
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Re: energy and health

Post by henrikhank » Fri May 11, 2018 5:27 pm

george garside wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:31 pm
if accompanying a solo or small group of 2 or 3 singers I try to position myself where I can see their faces so I can watch their mouths for phrasing i.e the singers are leading but I am so close that the audience think its the other way round. If its not possible to get a view of their mouths I watch the side of their necks which provides an indication of their phrasing.

This applies to singers you regularly play with but is particularly useful if asked to accompany a singer that you have not practiced with or even heard previously i.e if you are put on the spot!

george
How is it possible to know the phrasing by looking at their mouths?
It obviously is possible but I think it would be good to get a more concrete example of this so ttat I can apply this to my own life.

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Re: energy and health

Post by henrikhank » Fri May 11, 2018 5:34 pm

I guess my question is:
You professionals obviously play through materials at home or maybe another place. I am only refering to the materials you already somewhat. Would you do this when just playing for fun? Or would it be a part of a practice session?
I find that it is better for me to play this kinda material when just playing for fun as it helps with motivation and being spontanious. Playing for fun seems to be the ultimate test before the real performance.
I am not saying that playing for fun can't be a performance as it would be so were to do this with other people listening.

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Re: energy and health

Post by george garside » Fri May 11, 2018 5:59 pm

henrikhank wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 5:27 pm
george garside wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:31 pm
if accompanying a solo or small group of 2 or 3 singers I try to position myself where I can see their faces so I can watch their mouths for phrasing i.e the singers are leading but I am so close that the audience think its the other way round. If its not possible to get a view of their mouths I watch the side of their necks which provides an indication of their phrasing.

This applies to singers you regularly play with but is particularly useful if asked to accompany a singer that you have not practiced with or even heard previously i.e if you are put on the spot!

george
How is it possible to know the phrasing by looking at their mouths?
It obviously is possible but I think it would be good to get a more concrete example of this so ttat I can apply this to my own life.
singers have to breath and in order to get the air in their mouths open differently from when they are singing which is of course done on the 'blow' as it is impossible to sing on the 'suck'. the knack is to observe this change so that your phrasing fits that of the singer.( phrasing is all important and needs conscious thought as a box can be played without running out of air and therefore does not naturally provide phrasing all by itself)

As to it only applying to singers you are used to playing with that is definitely not the case as if you play regulary with a singer(s) you should know exactly when they are going to phrase a song without looking at any part of their anatomy!

On one occasion I was playing for an English Ceilidh using a simple 2 row DG melodeon which is well suited to such music. One of the dancers , who I knew well, approached me in the interval and asked could her friend , who I definitely did not know, could sing a solo rendition of 'endearing young charms' and then added that the friend was a professional opera singer!!!

At that moment brown trousers would have been useful! Fortunately the opera singer wanted the key of G and after a a lead note she started and I followed very closely behind , watching her mouth all the time. Her phrasing was beautiful and because I was watching her mouth I presume so was mine.

She got trememdous applause and I was just grateful to have got through it without a balls up anad was very surprised when she thanked me for the superb accompanyment!

All done by mouth watching ;)

george

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Re: energy and health

Post by jozz » Sat May 12, 2018 7:56 am

henrikhank wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 5:34 pm
I am not saying that playing for fun can't be a performance as it would be so were to do this with other people listening.
try-outs are not a bad idea in general, if there is time, I do plan them

lots of real pros (I'm not one) do it too

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