Ergonomic accordion straps of Claudio Jacomucci
Ergonomic Accordion Straps (Excerpt from the book: ‘Mastering Accordion Technique: A New Approach To Accordion Playing Based On The Alexander Technique’ by Claudio Jacomucci and Kathleen Delaney, 2013).
Claudio Jacomucci: Since I study and practice the Alexander Technique I have struggled to find an alternative and improved strap system. Standard straps are not conceived for big and heavy instruments but for hanging a light- weight instruments from the shoulders, or even from the neck.
I have experimented with all possible, thinkable “wrapping” and “hanging” methods and I finally designed an ergonomic strap system which provides a greater mechanical advantage, freeing the performer from many physical constraints. Their firm support of the back allows a proper weight and force distribution, letting the neck, shoulders and arms free. They may prevent harmful effects which often arise using traditional straps: shoulders pushed forward and down, chest compressed down, floating ribs squeezed, pulling-down of the sides of the chest, sinking down in the hip, “getting heavy” in the lower back.
With the ergonomic straps, the base of the instrument is secured to lower back by the lower belt. The instrument rests on the thighs, with the bellows centered on the left thigh. The upper straps distribute the pressure of pulling and pushing in four bands. They connect the instrument’s mounting points (the upper hooks) with the back, at the low shoulder blades level: two belts wrap the thorax under the armpits and the other two pass beside the neck.
Once the straps are tightened enough, the instrument will not joggle, it will be stable and firm so that the shoulders, arms and the hands are free from having to grip, support and control the instrument.
It is however necessary to know the principles of the Alexander Technique in order to properly use these straps. Otherwise they may feel quite uncomfortable. As they don’t allow a great leaning forward and sideways, the movement for pressing a chin register, for example, must be supported by the legs which will have to raise a bit the instrument towards the chin.
The ergonomic straps are designed to be used with a full range button accordions (bayan), but they give excellent results also with other types of instrument including piano keyboard ones.
‘Mastering Accordion Technique’ A book by Claudio Jacomucci and Kathleen Delaney
This practical guide for accordion students, performers and teachers illustrates a new apporach to accordion playing based on Alexander Technique.
The principles of this technique can be applied to all areas of accordion playing, starting from the use of an ergonomic strap system and the detailed explanation of basic settings, bellows and finger technique, tone production, and analyzng the different aspects of learning like daily practice, interpretation, phrasing and rhythmical skills.
Alexander Technique is a comprehensive technique that lays hold of the individual as a whole in developing skills and appreciation. This book aims to clarify key points, principles and norms to understand the nature of the most common problems and difficulties, including injury and stage fright, in order to develop musicality hand in hand with self improvement.
While the first part of the book deals with specific issues of accordion playing, the second one is about the Alexander Technique, its practical applications, procedures, anatomy, sensory appreciation, breathing and musicians’ pain and injury.
To order the book and ergonomic straps, see the ergonomic straps in our webshop.