Foro Flamenco
Posts Since Last Visit | Advanced Search | Home | Register | Login

Today's Posts | Inbox | Profile | Our Rules | Contact Admin | Log Out



Welcome to one of the most active flamenco sites on the Internet. Guests can read most posts but if you want to participate click here to register.
This site is dedicated to the memory of Paco de Lucía, Ron Mitchell, Guy Williams, Linda Elvira and Philip John Lee who went ahead of us too soon.
We receive 12,200 visitors a month from 200 countries and 1.7 million page impressions a year. To advertise on this site please contact us.





tense shoulders?   You are logged in as Guest
Users viewing this topic: none
  Printable Version
All Forums >>Discussions >>General >> Page: [1]
Login
Message<< Newer Topic  Older Topic >>
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3523
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

tense shoulders? 

I was playing in the classical position for a year or so, and recently came back to flamenco because I'm playing it mostly now. Classical position seems to be really bad for strumming in general, plus it looks bad.

The problem I'm having is a tired right shoulder.

Now...I had this before back when I used to play PDL style. I eventually made some adjustments, resting the bicep on the upper bout for most things. This helped a lot. But it really isn't ideal for a lot of things, for example playing next to the bridge. It also is not my preferred attack angle.

I am having a tough time getting comfortable in either the PDL or the "Sabicas" position, for my right shoulder. It seems impossible to relax it. There must be a way to play this way without so much muscle tension, no? Has anyone tackled this problem?

_____________________________

Connect with me on Facebook, all the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/migueldemariaZ


Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 16 2006 4:28:14
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Hi Miguel,

Though I have only just started playing I can tell you I suffer from the same thing. Here are my observations and some possible solutions:

The problem with sitting classical style and prolonged sitting with one ankle crossed over onto the opposite knee is that when the postural muscles of the back and abs (core muscles) tire you tend to slouch over and rest a bit onto the guitar, when this happens the muscles of the upper back and shoulders elongate and, most likely, the pain that we feel is an elongated and now weakened muscle trying to stabilise the shoulder.

Sitting in these positions for extended periods of time can really be horrendous to the body. It can all start from the pelvis, when we sit the psoas (so-az; basically connects our lower half to our upper half from the inside top of our leg to the spine just under the ribs) becomes shortened and tilts our pelvis forward this, invariably, causes low back pain (sound familiar?). This can start off a series of muscle imbalances, the front of the body becoming shortened and tight from hunching over the guitar and the back, in compensation, becomes lengthened (and a long muscle is usually weak).

Some possible solutions:

Stretch and strengthen. Stretch the front of the body so the back doesn't work so hard. Strengthen the back and shoulders with simple exercises such as:

- Using stretch cords you buy from any fitness store perform reverse flyes.
- Hold each end of the cord and stand on the middle, with a straight back bend from the hips now pull the ends of the cord straight up to your sides squeezing your shoulder blades together.

In the meantime when playing the guitar try to keep good posture also try sitting on a higher stool rather than a chair and raise the righ leg, do not cross it. This will increase the angle at the hip and you will find the you have to slouch over and rest on the guitar, you can now lean over bending from the hip.

I realize that this is a long post to a, seemingly, simple question but, as I have learned, there are no simple easy answers.

Miguel, I hope this helps and if you have specific questions about exercises don't hesitate in asking, I will send you links to the exercises.

Take care,
Todd
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 16 2006 11:36:43

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I wish i could be of help here.

All i can say is, there definately IS a way to play in flamenco position
with no shoulder or back pain.
I do ALOT of playing in this position, and i never have pain.

I dont have an especially strong back either. I pull muscles in my back
quite often, usually closing/opening my rusty garage door.
But never from playing.

From time to time, i can feel my right shoulder get a little tired, but its
never persists beyond a half hour break.

Stretching certainly couldnt hurt, Todd's right there.

Are you taking breaks every 10 or 15 minutes??
Remember to do that, if you're not!! Most of us know this, but
its so easy to break that rule.

I met a massage therapist recently, and she says, we tend to hold tension
in our shoulders, even when we're not doing anything at all. She demonstrated
on me by grabing my shoulders and telling me, "relax". At that moment, i
could feel all the tension i was holding, just sitting there doing nothing.
Make a consicious effort to really make sure you're dropping your shoulders
when not playing. Yours needs its rest badly.
TK

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 16 2006 11:54:03
 
sorin popovici

 

Posts: 417
Joined: Jan. 7 2005
From: Iasi, Romania

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

play cross legs but not always ,sometimes I play in awkard positions ..I tend to not
notice the postion anymore ....but sure if u play hard stuff u got to have a good position
and good angles for your right h and left h.I tend to observe that if your left technique
is good u can afford a lot of positions .Usually I think better left solves a lot of these
position problems.It's usually about better technique.For example if u put a beginner
to play guitar he will be very uncomfortable in the begining and now matter how u arrange
him in a more apropiate postion ,he will still be uncomfortable ....that's because he has
weak techique=> not good flexibility in right or left.
Thats my opinion ..when i drop guitar for a while ,I feel a little uncomfortable...but
in two hours I usually achieve the comfort again.

I said that for hard stuff ...i usually require good position but depends on what's hard for you.For example I dont require good position for capricho arabe (at least the Dm part)
but if I wanna play asturias(leyenda),oh boy ...my right has to be very precise(the
passage in p im (with i-m playing the same B string is hard for me)But I'm
pretty sure..someday leyenda will be an easy one ,if I dont let it go.

It has to be about technique ...cause nobody could play otherwise 2 hours of concert in almost the same position.

I also have a problem because of playing...I got very easily tired when standing up
and also I'm looking for a chair.

Anyway,I'm not saying it to show off cause capricho arabe (the part in major) is not that
easy...but surely the minor part u can not compare it as techical dificulty with leyenda.
Leyenda may be out of fashion but played good is tough..just my 0002 .
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 16 2006 23:28:09
 
Ryan002

 

Posts: 173
Joined: Oct. 18 2005
From: Singapore

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

My problem with the "flamenco positions" is far more drastic. Whenever I stay the PDL position for more than 15 minutes, my entire left arm from the elbow up starts to throb, all the way to the shoulder. There was once when I stayed in the traditional flamenco position for about an hour and woke up the next morning with a pain so bad I couldn't turn my head to the right for 2 days. No amount of self inflicted torture to get comfortable in these positions seems to work with me. I guess everyone's body structure is different that way...I am guessing short-limbed people like me can't use the PDL position without stretching to the point of injury.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 4:09:08
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3523
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Ryan002

Wow, Ryan. And do you get similiar problems in the classical pos. or whatever pos. you play?

_____________________________

Connect with me on Facebook, all the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/migueldemariaZ


Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 4:41:12
 
duende

Posts: 3051
Joined: Dec. 15 2003
From: Sweden

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I alternat between Paco style ,"old style" and a foot stool ( is that the name?!?) under my RIGHT foot. Never under the left.

_____________________________

This is hard stuff!
Don't give up...
And don't make it a race.
Enjoy the ray of sunshine that comes with every new step in knowledge.

RON
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 5:17:10
 
seanm

 

Posts: 169
Joined: Apr. 5 2005
From: Halifax, Nova Scotia

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

While I was doing my BMus degree, we had a morning techincal exercise class every day at 7:30 am (ouch). One of the perenial observations our teacher would make was tension in the right shoulder. By constantly making each individual aware of it as we went through our regular routine, I eventually stopped building tension up while playing. Now I can feel tension build before it becomes an issue (especially important when learning a new techique or playing position). It went a little something like this ... me playing for 2 seconds, teacher making eye contact, teacher saying "shoulder", I'd drop it and relax ... me playing for 2 moore seconds, teacher making eye contact, teacher saying "shoulder" ... after about 4 years (haha) it's not a problem anymore. My point is that you simply have to be aware and constantly correct. A mirror helps but dedicating a small part of your brain to focusing on the tension while you practice will help you extend the periods before you start tensing up again and you will eventually become very aware and not tense at all. Our teacher was also a proponent of the Alexander technique but that another discussion. My two cents :)

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 13:36:59

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I think Sean has a great answer here.
He's right. You have to remind yourself to relax that shoulder.

Maybe what you could do is, once a day, devote a couple of 15 minute
sessions to "relaxing the right shoulder".

Pick some easy pieces, and simply practice playing while dropping
that shoulder.

Or how about making a 20 minute long tape recording of yourself
saying "shoulder" every 30 seconds. Let the tape play while your
practicing, and it will remind you to relax. And your mind can
still be totally in the playing mode.
TK

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 13:46:16
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3523
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Thanks guys! Some great ideas.

I've been told a few times that "tense guitarists don't last long."

I will try those ideas. I have also been doing yoga, but htat doesn't seem to really help the Paco-style playing pos. tension. I was looking into getting Alexander lessons...$1000 for a course here. I am tempted because I've heard such good things about them.

_____________________________

Connect with me on Facebook, all the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/migueldemariaZ


Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 14:12:01
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to ToddK

quote:

ORIGINAL: ToddK
I think Sean has a great answer here.
He's right. You have to remind yourself to relax that shoulder.

Maybe what you could do is, once a day, devote a couple of 15 minute
sessions to "relaxing the right shoulder".


There are also exercises you can do to loosen out the tension - my physio (specialist in musicians injuries) has me doing some, even though my condition is not related to a shoulder problem. The fact is we do easily carry tension there.

Massage can help too but the ultimate goal is definitely to be aware of it building as Sean says.

_____________________________

Spanish Guitarist in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 14:14:29
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

quote:

ORIGINAL: Miguel de Maria
I was looking into getting Alexander lessons...$1000 for a course here.


Pardon, what is that? Never heard of.

But 1000 bucks seems a lot!?

If it makes me play like Paco Im for it! ...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 14:30:03
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3523
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Do a google on Alexander Technique...that will help a lot more than what I know (which isn't much).

_____________________________

Connect with me on Facebook, all the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/migueldemariaZ


Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 15:10:17
 
rickm

 

Posts: 446
Joined: Jan. 23 2004
 

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Miguel, a long time ago I had similar problems. I dont now. One thing you might try, all the talk about positioning notwithstanding, is practicing in front of a mirror. (they gym analogy) you should be able to see the tenseness or how you are carrying your shoulder. My son pointed it out to me years ago that I tend to tense that shoulder while playing. I never made a conscious effort to change anyting, but it went away. Another trick a flamenco taught me was that several of the flamenco moves so to speak, like remate is actually carried out preferably bu the weight of the arm. We want to indicate momentum of the fingers continually as we strike the strings, but just by incorporating the weight of the armthe strike is better,more controlled easier and less fatigueing as it expends less effort. But the key to that weight of the arm philosophy is that the arm, and shoulder must be totally relaxed. We spend a lot of time on fingers, less on wrist and less on total body placement, but the mechanism must be relaxed to play well, for a long time w/o fatigue etc. The other thing is since I'm sort of a gym rat is shoulder exercises to strenghten that joint, but more importantly the control of the muscle, connective tissue etc. I had a problme with bicep curls for a long time, analyzed what I was doing, incorporated more shoulder exercises, and the weight I did with the curls jumped noticeably. And yes I understand for you critical purists out there the bicept should be doing all the work, but we forget it is all connected and at some point the shoulder does assist. I think that is the salient point for this discussion, it is all connected, the fingers will not play well unless the shoulder is relaxed or at least get overworked in the process. and the back and the neck and the never mind. hope this helps.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 15:33:34
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11268
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

How about your head? Are you always looking at the left hand? That could make your shoulder stiff. Try looking around, to the right, straight, even up at the ceiling (like Vicente) when playing. It feels good. Don't be afraid to move around a little in your seat when playing, or change your playing postition totally. It loosens you up. Also, a big problem is holding the right arm too stiff so you have a good postition over the strings. Don't be tense, learn to put weight and stability into your right hand thumb when possible. I can play for an hour non stop with no pains if I move around and keep relaxed.

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 18:55:41
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3523
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I noticed watching Grisha's videos that he's always moving his right arm and readjusting it. I guess that's just how the guitar is played.

One thing I've noticed is that if you have good posture, there seems to be less tension on the shoulder. If you slouch (and I often do), then it seems to put more tension on the whole body, actually. At least for me (as I write this slouched into my chair).

_____________________________

Connect with me on Facebook, all the cool kids are doing it.
https://www.facebook.com/migueldemariaZ


Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 19:09:49
 
nhills

Posts: 230
Joined: Jul. 13 2003
From: West Des Moines, IA USA

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

Two things:

1) http://www.guitarprinciples.com/Book/further1.htm
2) Try the "Old Style" position with the guitar on the right thigh & sit up straight.

Cheers,
Norman
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 17 2006 21:16:30
 
Ryan002

 

Posts: 173
Joined: Oct. 18 2005
From: Singapore

RE: tense shoulders? (in reply to Miguel de Maria

I don't have as much of a problem with the classical position, though it still causes aches after 2 hours or so (in a different place).

I can't really isolate the muscle that's suffering, when I press around to find a sore spot it's sort of in the place directly *on* the left shoulder, just between the left collarbone and the back of the shoulder. An accompanying pain will also develop on the left side of my neck.

Once I let it ache too long it becomes excruciating to turn my head, especially to the right. If I gently use my hand to forcibly "turn" my head to the right the entire left arm goes numb, there's a stabbing pain from somewhere within the left forearm, and my left thumb twitches or curls tight.

Now that I think about it I'm not even sure if it's just the shoulder...It's a little strange because it dosen't happen in the classical position.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 18 2006 4:15:53
Page:   [1]
All Forums >>Discussions >>General >> Page: [1]
Jump to:

New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


Forum Software powered by ASP Playground Advanced Edition 2.0.5
Copyright © 2000 - 2003 ASPPlayground.NET

0.09375 secs.