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Feb 24, 2024 - 8:36:15 PM

csekol

USA

1 posts since 2/24/2024

So a year and I half in and the last 4 months I’m unable to play the square roll with a slide part in cripple creek. It’s as soon as I come back into that part, my index finger locks up and doesn’t move. It seems like I build tension in my thumb during the 2-5 slide part and when I come back into the 2-4 slide square roll my index won’t move or misses the string and it’s only for the first bar, the second time around I’m back to it and can play it no problem. Just happens in that first bar back into the it. I’ve slowed it way down without and can play without issue. This has been going on for months, any other suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Feb 24, 2024 - 9:26:45 PM

chuckv97

Canada

71804 posts since 10/5/2013

Quote: “ I’ve slowed it way down without and can play without issue.” Is this a typo? Not sure what you mean by “without”.  Anyway, playing it accurately slowly is the way to go with any problems.  Then incrementally increase the speed. Finger independence exercises are also helpful.  Here are couple I use regularly.


 

Edited by - chuckv97 on 02/24/2024 21:35:05

Feb 25, 2024 - 4:33:56 AM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29975 posts since 8/3/2003

Yes, you can leave out a slide. It's a song, you can change any part of it so long as the melody is still there. Slides, hammers, pulls, chokes are "fills" and can be changed, altered, deleted, edited. It's not written in stone that you have to play the song note for note.

I would suggest you do try to put in the part that's difficult for you but if it's beyond your ability at this time, definitely leave it out. Come back to it in a few months and see if it works better for you.

Feb 25, 2024 - 7:35:24 AM
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Alex Z

USA

5769 posts since 12/7/2006

". . .  2-4 slide square roll my index won’t move or misses the string and it’s only for the first bar, the second time around I’m back to it and can play it no problem. Just happens in that first bar . . .  I’ve slowed it way down without and can play without issue."

"This has been going on for months, any other suggestions are greatly appreciated!"

OK.  The "play it slow" is not solving the difficulty -- you can play it slow, and you can play it fast.  And not doing it is just avoiding the difficulty.

From the description, there is a mental block, not a physical problem.  Kind of like a golfer with the "yips" -- putting stroke is smooth until there's a ball in front of the putter, then the stroke becomes jerky and uncoordinated.  smiley   

"This has been going on for months"   Right.  And all of the repetitions during that time have gone into "practicing" something you don't want to do.

 

Since I have not encountered either issue, I can't give a first hand solution.  But that's what you need -- someone who has experienced and solved a physical difficulty in playing music that stems from a mental connection.  I'd recommend the book "Effortless Mastery," by Kenny Werner, a jazz pianist.

    Briefly, as explained by Mr. Werner, to retrain the mind, you separate the mental apprehension from the physical act.  Don't just play "slow."  Rather, relax and play just just the first note of the pattern.  Then pause, relax again, and play the first note again.  Do this several times.  If you sense any apprehension, then stop, maybe for the day.  You do this for maybe a week until there is no mental apprehension or expectation in playing one note.  The brain is being retrained.  Then play two notes, using the same process.

    This is not some kind of mental deficiency or "positive thinking" situation.  Simply a ingrained connection between the brain (which controls the finger muscles) and the action of those finger muscles, which connection has to be retrained.  Golfer putting, basketball player shooting free throws,  baseball pitcher releasing the ball -- retraining is a common situation, and they have processes that can deal with it.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by - Alex Z on 02/25/2024 07:37:45

Feb 25, 2024 - 8:20:26 AM
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1380 posts since 1/26/2011

Here’s a method I’ve used in the past when working on something difficult. Set a metronome for the speed where you can play it. One click per note. Play it until you can do it 5 times correctly. Speed the metronome up by 5 - so if you started at 60, speed it up to 65. Now play it until you can do it 5 times correctly. Slowly increase your speed by 5 until you can’t do it. Each day do the same exercise. By following this method you'll know how you’re progressing and gain confidence. As said above it’s a mental thing - and a muscle memory thing.

Feb 25, 2024 - 11:05:13 AM

6027 posts since 3/6/2006

I imagine if you've been making the same mistake for 4 months you would be pretty tense every time it comes up.
You could break it down into playing the 2 notes before and the 2 notes after. OR you could think of the roll not as individual notes, but as one thing where you flow through the sequence from start to finish. But you're probably thinking too much. Don't think. Play.

Feb 25, 2024 - 11:06:37 AM

463 posts since 7/24/2021

Eddie Adcock had something like what you’re describing. He was fine until he got ready to put finger to string or sign an autograph his had would tremor . I believe he had brain surgery whilst playing the banjo. That was crazy! I’m not sure if these are related but it’s apparently a real thing . Keep at and don’t let it beat you . Good luck

Feb 25, 2024 - 12:11:45 PM

Alex Z

USA

5769 posts since 12/7/2006

We should keep in mind that the poster already can play the pattern fine -- the second time through.  So it is not a physical difficulty

There could be mental tension and expectations the first time through, yet these can be below the level of conscious thought, and so when even "relaxed" and non-thinking consciously on the surface, the relaxed brain reverts to the actions that have been ingrained over the last several months.  Relaxing the subconscious, and retraining, is the key, and from other sports and athletic motions, that's not always easy or quick.

If the difficulty had been going on for a week, much easier to get back on track.  But 4 months may need a different plan.  (That's what "Effortless Mastery" addressed.)

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