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Mountain Ocarinas Forum => Quick thoughts from Karl => Topic started by: Cliff on December 08, 2008, 08:06:17 pm



Title: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Cliff on December 08, 2008, 08:06:17 pm
Fingering dexterity exercises are fun... and can improve your ability to play fast and challenging ocarina music.

Please note: our goal in making these videos is to help you to enjoy your ocarina and to grow as a musician. Unfortunately, the production quality is rather poor. Please feel free to post questions and to offer any feedback or suggestions that might increase the helpfulness of future videos. With your input, and as time and resources permit, we hope to get better and better.



Please reply and let us know your thoughts.

Thanks.

Cliff


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 11, 2008, 11:47:49 am
This is a VERY interesting and important video and it's about something that was never discussed before.

I already did some exercises on my own; since I've read (or listened? don't remember) this nice tip on the curriculum!

What I usually do is to practice passages from a fingering to another (for example from D to F) trying to be less sloppy as possible and caring that all the fingers involved are lifted or reach the body of the instruments toegether. If you tongue every note is easy to cover a sloppy fingering when the fingers involved go into the right position in a few milliseconds of distance each other.
But, if you're playing legato those notes, there's no escape! You will hear any imperfection if your movement is not accurate as a surgeon. So those exercises helps a lot. Definitely.

And now, too, I have a question.  ;D
I tried the roll on G exercise on the warmstone ocarina I wear.
And, I just can't keep the ocarina steady with one hand like Karl does in a certain passage. I detail this:
If I try to keep the ocarina only with third and fourth finger and the thumb (counting from the thumb = 1) it slips, moving towards the bottom part of the instrument. There ARE moments in which, to show the exercise, Karl just keep the ocarina with those fingers easily and steadily.
Of course during the roll you have to be fast so there's no time for the instrument to move, but in the beginning when you learn you have to practice slow as you know and I find that precise exercise to be unpractical, if the instrument it's not in your mouth.
Of course if the ocarina is between my lips too there's an extra point of contact between me and the ocarina so the instrument remains balanced and I can practice the exercise slowly as necessary.

Thank you for reading!

I hope it's clear.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Laurent on December 11, 2008, 11:51:11 am
For those not having the curriculum, could you briefly explain what a G roll is?


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Karl on December 11, 2008, 12:43:03 pm
Spatolo and Laurent, you have both raised important issues. 

Laurent, a roll (and there are various types) is an ornament --a type of finger articulation-- that is used widely in traditional Irish music. I may even introduce rolls today in a "Quick Thoughts from Karl" video. This morning I have a doctors apointment, but it's just routine. I suppose I could skip it and get right to the video if you guys want me to...  Wait... no, my wife tells me I can do the video AFTER the doctors appointment. :)

Spatolo, you are on the right track. Just remember that I am only able to perform those fingering dexterity exercises that way because I have practiced many times over a period of time. Also, I started with much simpler exercises and gradually worked up to that point. Some time ago, I could NOT do some of the things I show in the video. This demonstrates how powerful these exercises are. The great thing is that I only do these exercises when I am otherwise occupied: while hiking up the trail, riding in the car, watching a movie with my family, etc.  You are way ahead of where I was after just a few months, but things still take time. I'll revisit this issue in another video.

Also, I'll soon demonstrate how to do rolls more easily than in the video (or than on an Irish flute or tin whistle). I tend to do the exercises with one hand because my other hand might be occupied and because it is great for balance and finger dexterity. However, I'll demonstrate how to execute ALL the rolls more easily with two hands.   

By the way, I don't fill every spare moment with fingering exercises. Rather, from time to time I go through little fingering dexterity phases. This can make a big difference. (Little by little, you'll go a long way!)



Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 11, 2008, 12:48:58 pm
For those not having the curriculum, could you briefly explain what a G roll is?

Here's a GREAT website for ornamentations on the whistle which applies well to the mountain ocarinas too.
http://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/brosteve/rolls2.html


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 11, 2008, 12:53:23 pm
Spatolo, you are on the right track. Just remember that I am only able to perform those fingering dexterity exercises that way because I have practiced many times over a period of time. Also, I started with much simpler exercises and gradually worked up to that point.

Of course but... would you just try the same stuff on a WarmStone and please tell me if it feels the same for you? I think that there's more apart of experience here, a matter of balance. In fact, I can keep a polycarbonate ocarina in balance only on my thumbs when they are over their holes - look mom, no mouth, no other fingers, only the thumbs! - while I just can't on the warmstone. With the fingers in proper place the ocarina slips down. I think this can affect the finger dexterity exercises too if you do them (as reasonable) without the ocarina in your mouth or even with only one hand.

I hope you're OK. Go kill the doctor and get back to us healtier.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Karl on December 11, 2008, 01:00:13 pm
Thanks, Spatolo.  The info on that whistle website does apply, in part. However, we can actually execute many of the cuts and rolls more easily on our ocarinas than on a whistle.  I'll show you soon!  Also, I think you'll find that, with practice, it won't matter whether it's a polycarbonate or Warmstone ocarina. I switch back and forth between polycarbonate and Warmstone ocarinas.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Karl on December 11, 2008, 02:22:25 pm
I'm back now. The doctor suggested muscle relaxants, but I explained that I didn't have a nervous twitch. I was merely doing fingering dexterity exercises on my ocarina. :)

I thought of a couple tips that might help.

In my videos, notice how short the neckcord is on my ocarina.  I keep my neckcord short to prevent my ocarina from falling into my food during meals or flying around and bumping into things.  However, a shorter neckcord also makes it easier to balance my ocarina with one hand while I'm doing finger dexterity exercises. 

One more thing. Start out with simple exercises. If an exercise feels very awkward, try exercises that feel more natural.  It is a very gradual process!  My quick video wasn't nearly as helpful as it could have been because I couldn't think, on the spur of the moment, of many of the simpler exercises I started with a while back. I just wanted to introduce the concept because people have asked me about this recently on the phone. I'll revisit this topic sometime soon.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 11, 2008, 02:30:13 pm
Thanks Karl.
You're a kind man, very nice and humble: you invented a musical instrument, a beautiful one, and you don't even show off.
Also, Cliff is a VERY beautiful person; this means that you Karl are also a good slave trainer.

Now back to the topic. I would suggest (once again) to use various ocarinas in your videos. If not else, that would somehow change the video layout (since you don't change your t-shirt... at least change the ocarina).
 



Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Karl on December 11, 2008, 02:54:22 pm
Spatolo, you have made me laugh out loud twice today--with your comment above (about my shirts) and when you described your technique of carrying around a washing machine for vibrato purposes. Of all the humourous comments on this forum, that was the funniest to date. http://www.ocarinaboard.com/bb/index.php?topic=103.0   topic # 15  (You were kidding about that, weren't you?)

I will try to use other ocarinas in my videos.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 11, 2008, 03:22:30 pm
Spatolo, you have made me laugh out loud twice today--with your comment above (about my shirts) and when you described your technique of carrying around a washing machine for vibrato purposes. Of all the humourous comments on this forum, that was the funniest to date. (You were kidding about that, weren't you?)

I were kidding: the doctor forbid me to do that.

I noticed that you didn't counted the Cliff training as a joke. I must think that it must be for real. I knew it.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Karl on December 11, 2008, 03:29:43 pm
Cliff is certainly not our slave. We grant him significant freedom, at times, when we see fit. :)  But I do agree that Cliff is one of the nicest, most consistantly pleasant people I have ever met. 


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 11, 2008, 03:31:48 pm
You both form a very nice pair!


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Cliff on December 11, 2008, 04:25:47 pm
Quote
We grant him significant freedom, at times, when we see fit.

I finished my programming. Can I use the restroom?


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Lord Oblivion on December 11, 2008, 05:12:09 pm
lol you guys just made my day  :D


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 15, 2008, 08:45:40 am
I realized that I can do that exercise in any case without putting the ocarina in my mouth, thus discretely if I'm on a bus and the like. The discovery of the hot water  :-\; just keep the ocarina in both hands... the right will keep it steady and the left can do the trick. And vice-versa.

Also I'm noticing that I can just put the ocarina on a table and with one hand "play" finger tricks on it.
So I'm going to ask: can that be effective too, for finger dexterity, although your hand (and so, your fingers) are not in a position that they usually have when they really play the ocarina?

Thanks!


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Laurent on December 15, 2008, 07:40:09 pm
I would say, even if it maybe won't allow you to play the same trick with the right position afterwards, it can only shorten the path, isn't it? And it can't be bad for the general dexterity / speed / independance of the fingers!


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 15, 2008, 08:51:33 pm
I would say, even if it maybe won't allow you to play the same trick with the right position afterwards, it can only shorten the path, isn't it? And it can't be bad for the general dexterity / speed / independance of the fingers!

Yes Laurent you're probably right. I did exercises like that today at almost every free moment (you all know that I'm a maniac) and I feel that I already improved a tiny bit.

This is a GREAT suggestion!


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Karl on December 15, 2008, 09:38:00 pm
Spatolo, your exercise sounds good.  Start with very simple exercises. Little by little you will have the balance and dexterity to do more complex ones.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 16, 2008, 08:45:12 am
They darn WORK! My forearm hurts!!!!


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 16, 2008, 08:47:11 pm
OK, I got a gripmaster. I hope the medium strenght one is OK although I find it quite easy with the index and medium fingers.
I see you have the black one. Darn I probably picken up the wrong one considering that I'm a bit strong already because of the climbing training.

Now the question is: how that is going to improve my dexterity? OK for the strenght, that's pretty easy to understand. But what about the coordination? Or the speed? Isn't there the risk that fingers may become too bulky while stronger, thus slower rather than agile?

Just some question out of the mind. Since in the video you invite to discuss about it... here I am. I'd love to know your answers!

Ciao


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: shan on December 16, 2008, 08:54:11 pm
But what about the coordination? Or the speed? Isn't there the risk that fingers may become too bulky while stronger, thus slower rather than agile?
The thing with the gripmaster (or similar products) is that you are able to exercise each finger individually.  In fact, you should try this; it may help illustrate what I'm talking about.  Flexing just the pinky finger on the gripmaster is difficult, isn't it?  Why?  Because you never use the pinky by itself.  Forcing it to work individually and with an increased load (i.e., the force necessary to compress the gripmaster) effectively "releases" the pinky from its role as a mere auxiliary digit.  Sure- you can move it by itself now, but you'll be able to move it with even more precision after training.  And as for "bulking up" the fingers: no, that won't happen.  The muscles for your fingers are located in your arm.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 16, 2008, 09:17:11 pm
Shan, thank you so much for your contribution!!! First: do you use that device too?

Sure- you can move it by itself now, but you'll be able to move it with even more precision after training.

This is the only sentence I still feel hard to understand intuitively. I explain: I can't understand how improving strenght can also improve precision.
I can easily see how fingering exercises on the ocarina can help (for example to move two, or three fingers as toegether as possible) but I still can't see how a more powerful pinky can also be a more precise pinky. Time will show; I'll practice daily.

So here I ask: should I practice until I have strenght? When pinky and ring fingers are KO should I continue with the stronger fingers?
Should I also train thumbs?

Thank you so much!

OH, and another question: so you in the US usually drive cars with automatic gear shift? Here it is impossible to use the gripmaster while driving, if not at a stop.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: shan on December 16, 2008, 09:29:20 pm
I can't understand how improving strenght can also improve precision.
What the gripmaster does is help develop independence of movement (along with strength, or as a by-product of strength); this independence of movement is what gets you more dexterity.  Sorry, I could've and should've said it more succinctly. 


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Karl on December 16, 2008, 09:31:17 pm
Spatolo,

I think that the gripmaster can help your pinkies to become more coordinated and more... useful.

By the way, I drive manual (stick shift) cars too.  To me they are more fun, and they get a little better gas mileage.  I do the gripmaster more on the open road and less in stop and go traffic.


Title: Re: Ocarina Fingering Dexterity Exercises
Post by: Spatolo on December 16, 2008, 09:45:41 pm
I can't understand how improving strenght can also improve precision.
What the gripmaster does is help develop independence of movement (along with strength, or as a by-product of strength); this independence of movement is what gets you more dexterity.  Sorry, I could've and should've said it more succinctly. 

Gotcha. Thanks!

That's what I also do on the ocarina indeed.
Here's what I do: finger a C. Then go up the scale one finger a time up to the G (no right fingers down), then do a E then a C (so coordinate fingers to move two a time as precisely as possible to avoid sloppy fingerings that hurts when playing legato) then a F# then a Eb.

I couple those passages two by two or I made them in a longer sequence. I try to do it all in a steady rhythm. After two days I can already see improvements.

Anyhow this gripstuff will be fun to play with too :-)