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Guest Hector5

RSI and playing the pedals

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Guest Hector5

Do any of you have experience of RSI and playing the organ - specifically playing the pedals. As most of you know, I went freelance in November, bought myself a new house organ and upped my practice regime from a snatched 45 minutes before choir practice each week, to approximately 2+ hours a day. The pain is pretty awful, although not when playing and seems to be confined to tendons and ligaments in my right leg behind the knee. Needless to say, I shall be visiting the doctor, but would be very grateful to hear of any similar experiences that people might have.

 

Hector

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If I read you correctly it is more painful when not playing then when playing. Is that correct? I am not a doctor, but this does not sound like RSI to me; it sounds more like tendonitis or a pulled ligament. If so, it should be curable, but muscles take a long time to heal and need rest. RSI proper is, I believe, incurable.

 

I have what I am pretty sure is RSI in my trapezius muscle (across the back of my shoulder blades). It manifests itself as a burning fire about five minutes after I start playing. I just put up with it. I did find a nice lady who used to give me a jolly good massage which used to help a good deal. I must hasten to add that she was a qualified physiotherapist who really knew her stuff. Unfortunately I could never afford to go weekly, which is what I really needed. I have tried physiotherapy on the NHS and, frankly, found it completely ineffectual; I think it may well be a very personal thing.

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Daft question, but is the bench at the correct height? If it was too high I could imagine the knee being stretched awkwardly when playing. Imagine you've already thought of that, though.

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Guest drd

Yes, it does sound like one's own experience of tendonitis or similar. (Though I, like others, am not a medical doctor - but I expect there are many on this board.)

 

Such things do take ages to recover, partly I suppose because everyday life constantly re-irritates the affected parts.

 

Having had many knee and ankle problems in the past, personal experience suggest that a decent pedal technique (e.g. going to a really good teacher for a consultation to get ideas to sort out any problems) actually assists in overcoming/resting/improving those problems in general.

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Having had many knee and ankle problems in the past, personal experience suggest that a decent pedal technique (e.g. going to a really good teacher for a consultation to get ideas to sort out any problems) actually assists in overcoming/resting/improving those problems in general.

I can second this last suggestion - I recently had my pedal technique 'examined' by a very good teacher with excellent results. One can acquire some awful habits and techniques without noticing, and I was surprised by how much of a difference a nudge in the right direction has made.

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:( my wife and I suggest

 

  • too much practice all of a sudden - take days off
  • take cod liver oil
  • do you generally have enough exercise? - particularly walking! but general exercise and posture are also important
  • check organ bench height and distance
     
    Also consider if your new pedal board requires an unusual depth of touch (too shallow, too deep) to make notes sound, or if the springs are too light.
    and, finally, is the rail under the bench in a convenient position?

 

hope things get better soon.. :P

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Guest Hector5

Many thanks to all who have responded. I'm off to see the doctor tomorrow and find out what's what. In answer to questions - the pedalboard and stool arrangement is wonderful and very very comfortable. I'm 6' and hate teetering on the edge of a high stool and tend to find a middle ground where I am comfortable. And yes, I am on the large side and do not exercise as much as I could - apart from running up and downstairs at school (a lot). I think that I might have done something when I delivered our hire organ to a church at Easter when we were taking the organ to the car, although it did not manifest itself until much later on. The nice thing is that I appear to be able to play perfectly ok (although with some slightly restricted movement in the right leg). We wait and see!

 

With grateful thanks for all comments.

 

Hector

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My experience of this was more manuals related. It did coincide with an upsurge in the amount of practice, but also particularly the Lanquetuit Toccata, which has a lot of repeated chords in the manuals. I got someone to have a look at my posture and particularly my wrists and it was very useful and helpful. To the extent that I'm still very careful when I practice this piece.

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I have just noticed, on the back of the latest Organists Review, an advert for an arrangement of Ravel's Bolero!

 

Perhaps a candidate for a RSI health warning???? :(

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Guest Roffensis
I have just noticed, on the back of the latest Organists Review, an advert for an arrangement of Ravel's Bolero!

 

Perhaps a candidate for a RSI health warning???? :lol:

 

 

Am I alone in thinking that most, if not all transcriptions are pointless?? I say this because of the enormous repertoire the organ has, that simply never gets touched, yet transcriptions seem to get a lot of attention.

 

One thing is for sure, that organ arrangements cannot ever hope to even come close to the colour and variety of the orchestra, or indeed the many orchestral parts! Why bother? Who are we kidding? Yes a transcription is an effect, but nothing more. Personally, I hate them. This is not the Victorian age and who are we trying to "edify"?

 

Ravel's Bolero? :rolleyes: Yes an excellent piece when done properly, but on the organ?? Tacky or what?!

 

R

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We've rehearsed the arguments for and against transcriptions on many occasions, and you are all aware that I firmly sit on the pro side, but only with the right music, and the right instrument. But I will admit that even I find the concept of Ravel's Bolero for organ quite unappealing (ditto all of the Beethoven symphonies!) Having not seen the music for the Ravel, perhaps there are some hidden gems in it?!

 

Maybe now would be a good time to relate an anecdote told to me at the weekend.

 

A certain well known organist (and transcriber) had just given a concert which consisted of the transcription of a Mahler symphony. Afterwards, a very thickly accented Yorkshireman (not me, though I do come under that category) said to him "Mr ???, That was tremendous, a fantastic performance. I already have your cd of this and listen to it all the time; its one of my favourites." "Ah", said the distinguished organist, "you should try listening to the original orchestral version." "Oh, no", excalimed the enthusiastic gentleman, "I couldn't possibly imagine that being played by an orchestra".

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Guest Roffensis

And THAT

 

Just about says it all :rolleyes:

 

How very sad!

 

Of course the Orchestral score is magnificent.

 

R

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