update on life

update on life

Figured I’d give an update as well.
Been away from music for a bit and working on Martial Arts for fitness. Aikido, Judo, Karate and Eskrima. So far loving the Aikido and Eskrima. It’s helping me work on breathing better which is helping whistle playing. Hand pain was stopping me playing so I put the instruments aside for a bit. I just got to pick up flute for first time in a while and the pain from trying stopped me. It seems to be a tension issue and no matter how I relax it I keep tensing up. Mandolin is having similar issues. I can get to the point where I can play without pain, but I need to concentrate on it and when I don’t, it falls back in to old patterns.
I can play whistle without pain at least and I’m glad for that! I might pick up a low D whistle round christmas to see how it goes but any recommendations are welcome on low or high whistles. I love my tweeked B flat whistle for the lower tone but open to pretty much anything. Trying to save up money so I can get back over to Fiance. It sucks being apart, especially now, but life goals are good to have. Hope you all are staying safe and healthy in these times.
Now I’ve gotta switch all my tunes over to whistle :P

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Nice to hear from you again! Sorry to hear about money issues and pain while playing, though! Relaxation is a difficult thing for just about everybody at one time or another. Here are a couple of things that can help. Playing slower can help, because we tend to tense up and push harder to be able to play fast. (Which is our nature, but the complete antithesis of playing well and not hurting yourself). Another thing that can maybe help is to get in the habit of thinking about relaxing at various points in each tune. The easiest would be to just give yourself a mental reminder to relax every time you go from one part of a tune to another. But you can maybe go further than that and remind yourself to relax at the beginning of every phrase of the tune… It’s interesting that in some circumstances, relaxing may be easy, and other situations, there may be other distractions that keep you from relaxing. But you might find that the more you relax, the more you like the fluidity of your playing, and eventually, it will become your habit.

Best of luck with your life goal! And don’t be too much of a stranger around here! 😉

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Yeah, sorry about dropping off the face of the Earth. I’m going to be working on whistle mostly to give hands a break but prep for flute with learning tunes. Before that was busy with Martial Arts and taking are of a kiddow when I was with Fiance. Trying to teach the kiddow music, too. He’s not in to the Irish yet but eventually!

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"Yeah, sorry about dropping off the face of the Earth"! ……..
What? you mean that it really is flat? You shouldn’t have wandered around so far Andrew. Good to see you back again. All the best mate.

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And now I’m seriously rethinking my offer of letting you drive on our road-trip.

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Focus on the whistle, it’s the alpha and omega of trad! Also well done with the training, the other big love of my life! Next to trad and my kids 🙂 forget the low D , worse than the flute IMO for hands .
Go for BJJ if you can get it.

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"forget the low D , worse than the flute IMO "
Yeah, I agree. Low D’s are nice ‘toys’, that often make a beautiful noise, but every time I’ve been tempted to try one again I still end up giving it away because of its restrictions and my dissatisfaction. For some reason they don’t have the life and versatility of a flute (not that I play a flute but I do listen a lot). I stick with my high crappy old whistle nowadays. (though I am primarily a fiddler).

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I have a few low whistles (C & D) which I very much appreciate when I play them. Michael Burke (low D),
Cillian Ó Briain (C & D), and an S.Z.B.E. low C (Ken Matsusaka).

My Goldie is an F whistle. I have played lower Overtons and they are not toys, restricting, nor dissatisfying.

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I have a nearly 40 year old Copeland brass low D that sounds almost exactly like a flute. Fantastic instrument.

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My point was in regards to hand issues and of course depends on hand size . ( dedication and interest) ive had several low Ds , kerry, burke , Chieftan amongst others but low G is the lowest that i find both comfortable and enjoyable and as whistle is not my first instrument or even in the top 5 then the amount of time required puts it out of the running so to speak .
So if the bard is having hand issues whats the point? Better to focus in an area that causes no pain and has the versatility to play most tunes .
Maybe if i had a copeland id put the time in 🙂
I can and have played low D since 1986 but i realised after getting the burke viper that i wasnt interested enough to master it for hours of fast reels etc longer finger gaps than the cheap kerry, so kerry was easier ( and through a PA sounds great) but i have no low D now.
Now if i made a whistle head for my flute perhaps that might be a path. The flute spacing is much easier ,maybe due to the conical bore? And the sound attainable easily matches the Burke ( flute is my latest challenge so … ) surpasses it IMO
Hence my suggestion to stick with smaller whistle .
I play my C and B whistles mostly , the G is generally for playing with other people and the Ds for playing sessions etc .

Comfort in playing equates to enjoyment and thats the most important thing IMO. Good technique can facilitate these.
Also id recomend a soprano uke with the special aquila strings , very cheap, tuned like a mandolin but with far greater ease of playing,less tension and strings, great for traveling( fits in my pocket nearly!)

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Let’s not start a fight now people :P
Yeah, it’s been a mixed bag in terms of my enjoyment of playing, but picking up the whistle again is for sure helping me get back in to it. I have periods when I can relax and the playing does flow but I can’t keep it consistant. I’ll keep working at it though because when I do get it it feels amazing. I can’t say I’ve been in the best mental place for music, but hopefully it can bring me back to a better place.
Only reason I not doing BJJ is cause I do intend to get back to Judo as well and I’m enjoying the aikido and eskrima. Aikido helping a lot with the body skills and movement and the eskrima is just all round fun for exercise. sticks, open hands, blades, all works and focuses on speed and power through hips which is also getting me to look at movement differently. Feels weird to be having these types of discoveries now, but I’m glad for them.. The physical changes are nice, getting some muscle and much better body awareness/ability to move easier in world and not hurt myself so much. It’s been great fun and has for sure helped me out in a lot of areas, confidence being one of them.

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Thing is with BJJ and Judo is they can both be trained Blind with little to no disadvantage . In fact an advantage as it’s all about sensitivity through touch and feel while sighted people tend to use that sense More than need be.
I had an eye injury that left me temporarily blind but was able to train Judo no bother.
Mind you I’ve been into Arnis etc for 30 odd years so I am a big fan and practitioner.

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Yeah, the judo is great, don’t need to really see at all for it, but the Arnis does train distance and timing very well and the emphasis on making anything a weapon is very nice. Very uncomplicated system but amazingly fun to play with and learn. Never thought I’d be learning eskrima in particular but I love it so far. Good to be getting in shape, and if I ever need to use it, I’ll be better off than if I didn’t have it. Let’s hope I never have to use it.
That’s one other thing, the breathing exercises and such are also helping whistling. don’t run out of breath nearly as much now.

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Actually thinking about it maybe your escrima and low D could be combined 🙂 the kerry low D is cheap heavy and solid and easy enough to play . I remember studying a ‘ magic flute form” a long time ago…. breath control and diaghram breathing is the essence of both arts .
Good luck and enjoy

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Wow, another two martial artists! 🙂

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Haha, I don’t know how well a low D could hold up to the kind of abuse I would put it through. I have a shakuhachi that I got that can double as an arnis stick. it’s a hard plastic and about 24 inches, same length as a barong.

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The kerry would survive 🙂 Unlike a Burke!, but the idea was more of as a companion , to travel with on the road of life, a good friend with duel purpose .
Stick to Rattan for anything else …..

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Rattan is good for training but for an actual stick any decent hardwood would do. I have a set of hickory ones with me now and a nice Bahi single baston back in England with Fiance. Sticks are underrated. Don’t even reall need a sword or knife with a decent stick that’s sturdy and maintained. I should give them the boiled linseed oil treatment so they are good for all climates and heavier, too!
The stretches for hands really have helped ease my pain somewhat. I played for 30 minutes solid with no pain today on mandolin. When I sort out recording no clue where some of my equipment is) I can do mandolin and maybe some whistle. Need to hear how shite I am to motivate me to improve more on whistle. Playing it is fun, a lot different from mandolin. Is Jerry Freeman still doing tweeked D whistles? I have a B flat that Fiance got me last year for Birthday but can’t seem to find a high D. I mainly using a Tony Dixon high D atm and I like how it plays in second octave a lot. it doesn’t take a rediculous amount of air so I can keep the tune flowing easier. I do want to poke around and see what are some other good ones to fiddle with. Anybody have any idea on good ones?
Thanks
Cheers and stay safe!

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If tension has been trained into you while playing an instrument over a long period it seems that it can be impossible to unlearn. (I have had this problem with the mandolin). An instrument which can be played without the need for any force of any kind is surely the best in these circumstances? You might want to go for the whistle which gives you the closest feeling to natural breathing that is possible.

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A low D is tempting. I do love the tone of the flute but the stretch is murdering my hands slowly. I’ll really need to work to relax with flute when playing. also want to be able to play for fiance and She’s pretty noise sensetive. whistle is even a bit too high for me at times.

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Low D is worse stretch than flute ….
Get a Bb whistle or low G , a Burke low G is a great instrument and very sociable .
I highly recommend olivier bouchards whistles . I have 4 ! You can get extra barrels so 3 whistles with one head .

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I have a BB whistle and love it. It’s fun to flip on ghb drones and play to them. I’ll look her up 🙂

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The Bouchard whistles a biiiit out of my price range right now :P I could only find them on Etsy for around 270 dollars. One day in the future, though. Just have the tweeked freeman Bb, and one of the dixon trad nickle ones and a Feedog I think, not sure which one. The Dixon plays nice. Been considering the DX005 but not sure if using a delrin whistle which I know from flute is a bit heavy of a material is a good idea. Are the original tweeked Clarks they have on the whistle shop any good? I do like the wooden fipple block idea over the plastic mouthpiece but never tried one out.

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Brass with a boxwood head sounds really nice but can’t seem to find website for his shop. I found that same link but clicking on his shop just takes me to the solid wood whistle.

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Yes the metsl ones were “sold out” hemakes brilliant instruments but generally sells them at trad festivals in Ireland. Ill message you

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Just to add two things, re. the finger stretch issue for a low d, I haven’t tried it (and it’s expensive) but carbony recently released a low d using “finger chimneys” to give low d notes with the finger spacing of a G, which is supposed to be fantastic: https://youtu.be/abTsfOVPwPo


Also I noticed on another thread you’re selling a tony dixon delrin 3 piece flute. I have two of them (due to an eBay mixup) and Re your comment on “whistle head for my flute” he actually used to do it with a separate head to turn the bottom two sections into a low D (ie it’s a 4 piece package that can be a flute or a low d) = may be worth asking him if he can sell you that head separately

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I feel great sympathy for your pain. An off the wall suggestion. Hammered dulcimer?
Years ago I suffered such wrist pain after an overly enthusiastic -therefore ill advised - 12 hour marathon of music playing with visiting musicians, that it was about 9 months before I could play the flute again. Or whistle. But the grip needed to hold the hammers did not cause any pain, so by yimminy, there we were.
Now I’m in the opposite situation. Am stuck in India, have flutes of all sorts with me, but the dulcimer is in storage back home in Alaska. And oh how I miss it!
Some people, never satisfied, eh?
Hope things work out for you.