Playing in difficulties

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Dee Porterfield August 5, 2018 at 12:29 am.

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  • #514

    Deanne Sherriff
    Participant

    Hi, recently started playing treble and have a Fehr. It’s lovely at the top end (I’m up to 15 minutes a day) but the bottom end is difficult to get and frequently squeaks. It could be me, I have difficult hands, arthritic with subluxed thumbs. I find it difficult to keep my hands in a position which doesn’t strain my wrists but the Ferh stretch is shorter than the other recorders I’ve tried. Could it just be an issue with my unfamiliarity, or playing in, or a recorder fault?

    #515

    Mark Adams
    Participant

    The finger reach is not difficult on the Aulos Soprano but I have RA and it
    Makes it difficult some
    times but I keep playing
    For thirty minutes each day
    With improvement !
    Mark

    Mark

    #516

    Norman Waksler
    Participant

    When I was having difficulty with the bottom F and consequently trouble keeping my fingers on the lower notes, I was given the suggestion to first stabilize your finger positions down to the low G. Once you can comfortably play down to the G, then you can work out what’s the best position to go on and play the F. I found that by settling on one position for the foot, and working at that angle eventually I was able to play the whole scale. An exercise book like the G. Rooda Dexterity Exercises for F gives you a good many exercises that allow you to practice that way. Also the Sweet Pipes books for Alto as well. I hope this helps.

    #517

    Dick Mattson
    Participant

    It’s also possible that the recorder is slipping a little bit without your realizing it. This might be leading to your right hand fingers changing shape and not covering the holes properly in your attempt to hold on to the instrument. You might need a thumb rest. To help you figure out whether or not you might benefit from using one, wrap a rubber band around the body of the instrument and position it where the upper edge of your right thumb normally goes. It will keep your thumb from slipping and, in turn, keep it from gripping too hard. This might enable your right hand to feel more comfortable so that your fingers can then cover the lower holes more accurately. I use rubber band thumb anti-slip rests on my heavier recorders. It may look a bit funny, but hey, who cares if it works?

    #518

    Deanne Sherriff
    Participant

    Thanks for the replies. I also have a resin Aulos, I play with a thumb rest, I’m heartened no one suggested it’s my recorder, I can work on my position, and I can get a thumb rest, although I didn’t want to spoil the line of the wooden instrument, but if it was the recorder I’d be most upset. I also have RA but only my thumbs are showing any distortion as yet. Previously I played Northumberland small pipes and have had to give these up as I’m no longer capable of the speed and physical effort I need for them. Recorder is a fine instrument and I’m really enjoying it immensely, especially the huge range of music for it.

    #534

    Aulos303
    Participant

    With the bigger recorders breath control is more important thsn it is with soprano to get a clear note.

    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing.

    #635

    Dee Porterfield
    Participant

    I currently play with a group of senior adults and am learning on my own through instruction books. That said, I know there are lots of little “tricks” to certain fingerings that make it easier when playing certain note sequences and some I can get from our director at the senior center but this one has me stumped. Is there an easier way to play a B flat to an A in a run quickly? Right now I’m using the standard fingering and it seems quite awkward.

    #639

    Dick Mattson
    Participant

    Re: An easier way to play a B flat to and A in a run quickly.

    1) Practice going back and forth between B flat and A, using the standard fingerings. Practice with a metronome starting out very slowly and very very gradually working up the speed. Make sure that your fingers don’t fly too high above the recorder. Practicing in front of a mirror can help you monitor this.

    2) If the run goes quickly, you might consider using a trill fingering for the B flat to A. Assuming you play treble/alto, this would involve cheating on the B flat and fingering it T 1 2 3 4 instead of the standard T 1 2 3 4 6 7 (or T 1 2 3 4 6 in the second octave). The A will use the standard fingering. Trilling this way between the B flat and the A simply involves raising and lowering the 5th finger. The B flat will be slightly sharp, but who cares since, given the situation, it’s close enough for government work.

    If you’re not yet familiar with this site, http://www.recorder-fingerings.com/en/index.php offers a wealth of information on recorder fingerings.

    All the best.

    –Dick–

    #657

    Dee Porterfield
    Participant

    Our little recorder group of seniors has been taught to cover up the 2nd from the bottom hole (soprano recorder) whenever we play G to D above Middle C. The director has us doing that to try to get folks to not sound so sharp, I believe. In the meantime, I’ve been forging ahead and working on more difficult music and now I’m beginning to wonder if that might actually be a bad habit to get into when I am working with runs and arpeggios. It seems to slow me down having to do the regular fingering and then remembering to hold that other finger down.

    If it is a good and standard practice, I’ll keep on and just work my way through it but if I should “cease and desist”, I’m game to do that, too. I don’t seem to have a problem with sounding sharp or flat. I think it’s my french horn background where I just learned to adjust the pitch with my embouchure.

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