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Author Topic: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)  (Read 829 times)

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Willh

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Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« on: August 07, 2017, 08:16:22 AM »

I've had my Hohner club IIIM for about a week now and have made pretty good progress for someone who has never played a melodeon before. :D

That being said, I do wonder about how I should be holding the instrument when I play. Specifically, the PDFs (German) that I've downloaded tell the player that s/he should have the instrument tight against the body with the left strap a hand width shorter than the right "so that the instrument sits correctly against the body". But when I look at youtube vids of players, quite a few have really long straps (or just a right strap) with the instrument well away from the body.

Is there such a thing as the "right" way to hold the instrument (at least as far as proximity to the body is concerned) or is it just a matter of what feels comfortable to the player?

Thanks,

Will
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Edward Jennings

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 08:25:39 AM »

No doubt the answers you get to this question will leave you even more confused. What fun!
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Theo

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 08:31:12 AM »

There is not one "correct" hold.   It depends on your size and shape, the size and shape of your instrument, whether you are sitting or standing.   Look at all the different postures you can find, try any that you think might work.   Work towards a position where you are not tense and where the right hand side of the box is stable and you can make full movement of the bellows by moving the left side only.   It takes a while to find what suits you because each position needs time to become familiar.   As you become more familiar with the instrument you may need to go back and re-assess positions you have tried and not liked.
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Julian S

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 08:52:53 AM »

Looking at a photo of yourself taken as you play can be helpful. I've been getting some shoulder and neck problems and I see from photos that I tend to hunch over the melodeon when seated - definitely not a relaxed position. When I was young, I didn't notice postural problems and these have finally caught up with me. Being crammed together in sessions exacerbates this ! Must try to relax more whilst playing...
Another point - I have three different boxes which I play frequently, and I am sure that playing position for each is also different.

J

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george garside

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2017, 09:46:39 AM »

for what its worth I totally agree with and highly recommend the German pdf's  description.  This is what I have used on al my boxes from a lilly to a 96 bass 3 row and it has the following advantages

- the box can be played seated or standing without any need for strap adjustment

- the right hand/thumb/arm plays no part in locating the box on the person and the fingers are therefore free to travel easily round the keyboard

- the thumb, not being required to steady the keyboard can easily be used for the chin end accidentals or to play some low notes when playing in the higher octave

-  less bellows movement is required to play the tune as with one strap a but of the bellows movement cn be wasted due to unwanted movement of the box itself

- the right arm  can be down the side of the body putting less strain on shoulder

- same goes for  left arm as bellows easier to keep 'tight'

but of course for those who think such things look 'flash'  it leaves no excuse for dramatically waving the bellows round fully extended in the wind!!

Others will no doubt be instantly along to disagree!

george ;)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 12:38:48 PM by george garside »
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Sebastian

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 10:03:46 AM »

Lester once demonstrated several ways of holding a melodeon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj1CtZ022rU  :||:
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george garside

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 10:17:26 AM »

 Lester must be away on holiday!

george ;)
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Lester

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 10:55:33 AM »

Lester must be away on holiday!

george ;)

Nope just heartly sick and fed up with your assumption that I will gainsay your position.

So one more time

YOU CAN HOLD THE MELODEON ANY WHICH WAY YOU LIKE IF IT SUITS YOU, THERE IS NO CORRECT WAY TO HOLD A MELODEON
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george garside

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2017, 12:40:00 PM »

sorry Lester - no intention to offend you in any way

george
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boxer

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2017, 02:50:45 PM »

to paraphrase some American general or other - what works bestest is rightest.

unless you only want to play very slowly indeed, or be strapped in so tight that you can't breathe, you'll very probably need to deploy your right thumb against the edge of the keyboard as many other players (myself included) do.  It's not just about stabilising the box - it's about sustaining a connection between the keyboard and your right hand and its three or four playing fingers so that, wherever the box might go, as you push and pull the bellows, your playing fingers will still follow the keyboard and remain in a consistent position with respect to the buttons.   

good luck
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richard.fleming

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2017, 05:53:06 PM »

Irish style - hold box against outside of left thigh using one strap over right shoulder. Left hand can be used to hold box in position so effectively while also operating the bellows that you can play the treble end without needing to press against the edge of the keyboard with your thumb, though in practice it is best to hold it there. Sounds a bit counter-intuitive but it works. In fact I played a couple of reels before posting this with my thumb a good inch away from the fingerboard throughout. Try it. It works.
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JimmyM

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2017, 08:35:24 PM »

probably best to get comfortable with a few positions. variety and all that
When i play for morris, i play standing up and use 2straps with a back strap. Most other times i play sitting down in with what i would call the Irish style - one strap around the  upper right arm and box braced against the left outer thigh
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stevejay

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2017, 01:30:12 PM »

If you use tab or sheet music, a music stand keeps your head elevated.
Don;t twist your head down looking at something on the case or sofa, which I have been guilty of.
Desk ergonomics apply here.

Not saying you do.
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george garside

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2017, 02:23:03 PM »

looking straight ahead with shoulders back can help reduce/prevent aches and pains rather than sort of 'drooping' over the box, there being absolutely no point in looking at the keyboard on a simple dg box.

george
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squeezy

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2017, 10:11:44 PM »

Many people have already said it, and I will echo that there is no single correct way to support the melodeon and that many quite different solutions work for players with different styles.

What no-one has said is that all these methods are aiming to achieve the same thing, which is to anchor the instrument very firmly such that the right hand keyboard is in a comfortable playing position for the fingers and remains firmly in place no matter how much effort is put in to bellows changes.  This does not necessarily need to be with the instrument as tight to the body as possible as the German PDF suggests - a seated position with a single strap pulled tight and the bottom of the fingerboard pushed tightly in to your right leg will allow the instrument to be nicely supported even if held away from the body.
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george garside

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2017, 10:48:08 PM »

whilst I am a confirmed 'two strapper'  I completely agree that there is no need to have the instrument  'tight against the body'   to keep it in place  and so doing  would undoubtedly be most uncomfartable!  Padded straps of a decent width do the trick for me presumably because there is enough friction on the shoulders to   keep the box in place.

george
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Mike Mccarthy

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2017, 03:25:03 PM »

I found the "correct way" to be almost cripplingly uncomfortable, too much rugby and boxing as a youth, then swinging chainsaws around when I was older have left me with shot shoulders and elbows, to the point where I was not able to play. However as soon as I tried the "irish" method of holding (that I saw on here) boom, all pains gone. So for me, as someone who knows his body and how it works and what makes it not work, that is my correct position.
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george garside

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2017, 09:59:54 AM »

despite my preference for two straps I fully agree with what mike has said.   If physical/medical  condition precludes the use of two straps it is most important to find a relatively painless way of playing rather than either struggling or giving up!

george
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2017, 11:03:29 AM »

I find that standing up I am most comfortable with two straps. I like them set longish, so the box sits fairly low. On the pokerwork I need a back strap to stop the left hand strap slipping off my shoulder (on the plus side, that limits the possibilities for waving the LH side in the wind). For some reason, I don't need this on the 2.4 row. The strap doesn't seem to slip. Sat down I put both straps over my right shoulder and push the box against my left leg.

I normally place my thumb on the edge, occasionally, but rarely invoking the morris "grip of death" for unknown reasons. It just seems to be needed, sometimes.
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Howard Jones

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Re: Correct posture for the beginner (or any player)
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2017, 11:56:22 AM »

It also depends to some extent on the instrument, and the playing style. Most of my instruments are relatively light, and if the box iis not to move about it would need to be tightly strapped to my chest, which I find uncomfortable. I prefer to sit down with a single strap and brace it against my right thigh.

My G/C on the other hand is considerably heavier and when wearing two straps it seems to remain comfortably stable under its own weight. I am also playing this much more across the rows so there is less push-pull than with English style playing.

What is important is that your playing position does not cause any strain on the body, which might not become apparent until years later. Twisting or excessive leaning is best avoided.
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