Posture & Balance contd. contd.

Posted: 7/8/2011 2:08:46 PM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Amey: "If you re-read, Thierry did say that his youtube name AND his TW name are under the same "Pseudo", as under the same name..."

I was curious to see (and hear) exactly whose theremin playing was being talked about but there is no theremin-playing "pseudo" on YT, and you can't search TW users by name. I think you would have to go through the archived forum posts until you find something, and then click on the profile.....kind of a waste of time.

I couldn't find any reference to a name other than "pseudo" in any of Thierry's posts.

Did I miss something?

Amey: "I did explain that not all people can be thin. I thought I was being pretty clear...."

That is very clear, Amey. And you are quite right. The bigger, and far more interesting question is: Theremin players or not, why does Thierry believe it is incumbent upon people in the public eye to be role models?

Who is going to decide whether or not a particular public figure is living up to the challenge of being an acceptable role model?

The fashion industry? Hollywood? Your local priest, rabbi or mullah? Perhaps Thierry himself?

Is the acceptable "role model" girth of a world class tenor the same as it is for a thereminist?

The entire notion is preposterous!

I don't think Thierry thought this one through.

Posted: 7/8/2011 2:35:41 PM
Amethyste

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Coalport -

A "pseudo" or "pseudonym" is referred here as a "stage name" or "User name".

The person that Thierry referred to, uses the same name here on TW and YT. Not the name "pseudo" per se.

E.G.: "Jeremy" here and "Jeremy" over on YT.
Posted: 7/8/2011 4:03:28 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

In the first part of this topic Peter (I think) mentioned musicians being athletes.
I cannot agree more. And it has little to do with your weight or silhouette. (Some opera singers... 'nuf said)

When working with choirs I always reminded them that singing is an athletic and physically demanding activity. And any instrument you play standing up or while moving is even more so.

Playing ANY instrument, like choreographic dance, is unnatural to the body and it will be injured if not cared for. You have to exercise the muscles you don't use much in the activity and stretch out the ones you do use.

Your "core" (back, abs, supporting structures) strength is essential to your posture, your theremin playing, every inch of your body. The impact of sitting all day at work, and recent surgery brought this home to me. Daily training in weight lifting and martial arts has been invaluable and is as important to my theremin performance as my scales and ear training, not to mention any continued well being at all.

Diet is part of it too, but that's another topic - if you have a "Thereminist's Diet" please start that thread up! :~)

[desperately trying to pull this back on topic...]
Posted: 7/8/2011 4:52:50 PM
Amethyste

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Omhoge said "Your "core" (back, abs, supporting structures) strength is essential to your posture, your theremin playing, every inch of your body. The impact of sitting all day at work, and recent surgery brought this home to me. Daily training in weight lifting and martial arts has been invaluable and is as important to my theremin performance as my scales and ear training, not to mention any continued well being at all."

I agree with you wholeheartedly! We sit so much for a lot of jobs, it takes no time to freeze our bodies in inactivity and even more effort to keep them oiled and in good working order. I noticed that when I started doing Yoga, my whole life really took a positive turn. My theremin playing was less painful (knee and feet)and I slept so much better at night. It even encouraged me to try to go out with a walking group we have at work during our 60 mins lunch. I am not exactly aerobically fit, but I can bend forward keeping my leg straight while touching my forehead to my knees without strain.

As we age, flexibility becomes less and less. We have to make time to keep our bodies to the best shape as possible. A lot of pain is caused by stiffness or under worked muscles etc...

I think Theremin playing (and other aspects of life) can be greatly improved if your body and mind are on the same "wavelength"...
Posted: 7/9/2011 8:21:20 AM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

omhoge: "Daily training in weight lifting and martial arts has been invaluable and is as important to my theremin performance as my scales and ear training..."

Om, would those "scales" your referred to be bathroom or music?

Ka-boom!........

I have long felt that the greatest challenge for precision thereminists is the art of relaxation - learning to expend the least amount of energy necessary to perform the task of playing the instrument.

One of the things that we precision thereminists can learn from non-precision players (people who use the theremin for aleatoric, experimental or FX music) is HOW TO RELAX.

When I see people having fun with a theremin for the first time, or when I see experimental players wildly waving their arms within the playing arc, regardless of what I may think of the music they are creating, I am often struck by the freedom and relaxed spontaneity with which they are making it. If you ask one of these people to play TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR, or any other recognizable melody, all of a sudden they will freeze up, their hand will often take on the stiff shape of a claw, and they will inch their way along usually agonizingly off pitch.

Not long ago, I was watching a theremin video and what struck me was how the excess tension in the player's technique was preventing accurate intonation. This person was using the "clenched fist" approach, in which the fingers are tightly wrapped around the thumb as if they were gripping a bar. I have seen many thereminists try to play this way, and it doesn't work.

For precision playing the opposite of this approach, not surprisingly called the "open hand" technique, doesn't work either. Thereminist Dorit Chrysler uses this method and while it works nicely for FX playing, it can fight you when you are performing melodic compositions. Although there may be no "right way" or "wrong way" to play the theremin, there are definitely certain methods that will help you and others that will get in your way.

If your pitch hand and arm are not relaxed enough, then your playing will be stiff and you will not have the speed to make all the micro adjustments that "trimming" requires. If you go the opposite route and play with the "open hand" method, you may carry less tension, but your hand will have a tendency to flip flop back and forth from the wrist making good intonation as difficult as if you were carrying too much.

Clara Rockmore once told one of her students (thereminist Dennis James) that gently pressing the tip of the thumb to the tip of the index finger gave thereminists just enough tension to "grip" the notes in the air. To play accurately and consistently, thereminists must carry no more tension than what is absolutely necessary for the task. Excess tension, after only a few minutes of playing, can seriously stress the tendons in the arm and hand and lead to chronic problems. Plenty of players have experienced tendonitis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, shoulder problems etc. in part because of excess tension.

Why is it that some people can perform certain tasks with impunity, while others perform exactly the same movements and have all sorts of problems? Excess tension is at least part of the answer to this question. It's not so much WHAT you are doing but HOW you are doing it.

If you google "relaxation and athletic performance" you will find masses of articles & blogs on the subject. As musical athletes, thereminists can learn a lot from the ideas and observations discussed on these webpages.

One of participants in this forum (I won't say who she is because I don't want to upset anybody - but you know who you are Amey.....) mentioned not long ago on TW that she found she could play quite nicely until the little red "RECORD" button was pushed. This is a common problem. Two things are happening: first, the fear of failure (of delivering a disappointing performance) causes a shift in conc
Posted: 7/9/2011 6:51:06 PM
Amethyste

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Coalport ~

You know, what you wrote is actually well put and very well explained. I enjoyed your post very much. I actually agree with what you wrote ~ especially when you made the connection between precision playing and relaxing. THey are in fact totally depending on each other. That is something I actually recognized only a week ago. One day (lol), I had a gin and tonic at dinner and 1 1/2 hr. later, I went to play... I did really well and realized that I was actually relaxed! So I am trying to get relaxed (without alcohol) by doing maybe 5 mins of meditation before standing at the Theremin. All I do is to sit on the edge of my bed close my eyes and try to clear my mind - and concentrate on my breath for that time.. I go until my breathing is steady, unforced and fulfilling. It makes a huge difference - at least to me...

Again - Thank you for your post - :)
Posted: 7/14/2011 1:17:24 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Great stuff!
Relaxation and performance is a big topic. And it's something you have to think about every day, every rehearsal you are preparing for your performing state. Habits and thinking need to be built up over time. It's about building a profound private practice for yourself and the benefits are wide ranging.

In the sports and martial arts area, besides the meditation and visualization techniques, lucid dreaming has been coming up a lot. May be we could all meet finally in our dreams...
Posted: 7/14/2011 4:23:14 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

OMHoge and Amethyste, yes, relaxation is of extreme importance at the theremin. Lucid dreaming. Now there's a cool subject. It was a partial lucid dream that inspired my video, Alto Volo. ;) Any time I would have a nightmare about being chased, or falling off a ledge, I just become the bird, and fly to safety. ;)

Oh, back to balance, and comfort. I just got my new floor mat. It's a 2ft by 3ft by 3/8th inch mat made of some sort "highly elastic compound" God only knows what, but it's not vinyl. All I know is I was finally able to get through my entire jazz set (45 minutes) non-stop without my feet feeling like I'd just walked from one end of Atlanta's airport terminal to the other, and back. Oh god, just realized, I gotta do that in a couple of weeks on my way to HO11, LOL. :)

Also got a pair of jazz shoes which look, and work much better than the ballet shoes. Those, combined with the matt really make for a comfortable long-haul rehearsal or performance.

The mat I got is this one by Crown:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PTO8MW
Posted: 7/14/2011 9:50:38 PM
Amethyste

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

I am glad you liked my suggestion, Thomas!
You will love this mat and over time, your body will thank you :)

Lucid dreaming... I should be able to do this at the Theremin, especially when I've been practicing all day at work... :P
Posted: 7/14/2011 9:54:25 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

Amethyste, my feet already do. ;)

Oh, lucid dreaming at theremin: BAD

Lucid dreaming asleep: GOOD

LOL ;)

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.