Back in the saddle again!

Back in the saddle again!

Well, last Sunday night, after months of dealing with a bad shoulder, and then months of recovering from shoulder surgery, I played my accordion in public again. I was surprised at the strength of the emotions I felt when I did so, as I got a little teary-eyed, I was so happy to be playing. I was so rusty, though, I suspect that I was not the only one with tears in my eyes upon hearing those tunes! 😉
What did I learn during my hiatus? Well, I got much better playing harmonica (a fine instrument for the single handed), not learning new tunes, but learning a lot more of my repetoire on that instrument. I also found that the more I played, the better I learned to manage my air, not getting as dizzy or as winded as I used to. I learned that touching my tongue to the roof of my mouth, I could change the tone of a note, and could produce a nice triplet with relative ease by making kind of an ooo-lll-ooo kind of noise as I blew into a note. I had only played harmonica as an occasional novelty or to accompany songs in the group I play in, but now I enjoy it so much, I think I will be playing it a lot more.
When starting again with my whistle a few weeks ago, and then with my accordion, I unfortunately did not find that there were any things that I had been working on that had become easier. I had hoped for that—the effect where sometimes, taking a break will help you make breakthroughs.
It will still be a few months for the guitar though—it doesn’t take a lot of strength, but when you are trying to pump out 120 reps per minute, it still puts quite a bit of stress on the old muscles, tendons and such.

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Congrats Al, glad you’re on the mend and back at it. The post-op haul can be long and frustrating. Nice to have music to pull us through it.

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Re: Back in the saddle again!

OUCH! Sympathies Al, also about the rust, and congratulations and wishing you all the best and a quick recovery on all counts, including with the rust… As Will has said, music is such good therapy. And you’re lucky to have kept moving forward on the harmonica, and in agreement about it being a ‘fine instrument’, not just for the single handed… Keep it up! I hope you’re moving forward with guidance, as you might need to make some adjustments, possibly learn new ways?

What exactly was wrong with your shoulder? ( He asks while feeling the pain in his right shoulder blade. 🙁 )

Re: Back in the saddle again!

The rotator cuff was torn, and the biceps tendon was interfering with it in my shoulder socket. So they stitched up the rotator cuff, cut off my biceps tendon, and reattached it in a new location. And believe it or not, the reattachment of the biceps tendon has been the easier of the two things to recover from.

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Will the Red Sox be retiring your number? Who knows, but there might be a market in "Brownbino" memorabilia. Congratulations on making your way back to box music.

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Al, I have the exact same problem of a torn rotator cuff and am expecting the call to surgery any day. I have severe doubts as to whether to proceed. I should like to know your experiences if you’d care to get in touch privately. I’m a worried man, frankly. Sorry, non-musical post and I won’t do it again! 🙁

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Al, Congrats on the steady recovery. Next is the one-armed push-ups and pull-ups (using the non-surgically repaired shoulder of course).
Just watch out with all that harmonica playing. You may start lifting the accordion to your lips. Just tell people you are so happy to be back playing you wanted to kiss it.

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Congrats on your seemingly steady road to recovery. About three years ago I had to take some time off playing mandolin and concertina after quadruple bypass surgery. During the surgery, when they split your rib cage apart to get to the heart, they pinched a nerve going down my right arm (which is not uncommon in this type of operaton, at least that is what they told me). It took a couple or three months for the feeling to come back. After that time, as you said, my playing didn’t improve so much from the time off, but I think my willingness to practive more and attitude towards playing gained from the knowledge of what life is like when you can’t do what you love. Anyway, all is good now. Best to take things a step at a time. Doing too much can strain the recovering joints and muscles and further delay things. Great to hear you are doing well.

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Re: Back in the saddle again!

Hooray! Glad that you’re back at it, Al. 🙂

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Huzzah! Cheers, Al. I hope the rest of your recovery goes smoothly and you can be back to your guitar before you know it.

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Tommy John surgery for a accordion player. Love it. Just think about all those poor accordion players from years gone by who spent lengthy stays on the DL, or who’s careers were over before they even ever made it to the show because of similar injuries. Thank your lucky stars your playing tunes in this era Big Al! Glad you’re healthy again!

Re: Back in the saddle again!

So glad to hear you’re well along the path to recovery, Al! I’ll be interested to hear more of your impressions and insights from your hiatus to playing your main instrument.

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Great new to hear Al!

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Hi Al, good to hear you’re back at it! Your tale reminds me to stop and stretch more often while I’m playing. Ha. Ouch.

Re: Back in the saddle again!

Lovely story. I can only imagine how emotional getting back on the musical saddle was for you. Thanks for posting the good news!