David Leisner: Playing with Ease

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Impresario
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by Impresario » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:56 pm

Alexander Kalil wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:12 pm
The fact that so many guitarists have contracted focal dystonia in the first place - and we can only suppose there are many more - is a sad testimony to the actual state of guitar pedagogy, I must conclude.

So many out of how many? what is the total population?
Also, are you suggesting that the actual state of guitar pedagogy (or guitar pedagogy) is the cause of focal dystonia?
Mysterious logic, to say the least.

guit-box
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by guit-box » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:46 pm

Alexander Kalil wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:12 pm
Impresario wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:38 am
.. here is a list of names, just off the top of my head .. Brian Hays .. Mark Ashford, Christian Verspay, Matthew Marshall, Sean Behrens, Steve Rings, Pam Kimmel, Eduardo Gonzalez, Pierluigi Serraino, Michael Black, Vincenzo .. Flavio Ciatto .. a very famous guitarist who wishes to remain private .. David Griego ..
The fact that so many guitarists have contracted focal dystonia in the first place - and we can only suppose there are many more - is a sad testimony to the actual state of guitar pedagogy, I must conclude.
This is a good point too, although no one knows scientifically what causes FD. As far as we know this is just a list of people who have spent big $ for lessons that didn't help them. I'd need to see/hear their playing. I tried to find a few on the list and it's spotty. Where are the testimonials from these folks saying that David Leisner is responsible for the method that eventually restored their play and eliminated the focal dystonia?. Also, I'm pretty sure at least one of the players on the list quit guitar altogether. On this forum you already have two testimonials from players who actually went through the 4 day Leisner FD program and are telling you all it's not going to cure your FD. Yes, he was perfectly nice in the lessons, and maybe he believes he can help, but I see no evidence it helped anyone recover from FD.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

Crofty
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by Crofty » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:29 pm

Impresario wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:56 pm
Alexander Kalil wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:12 pm
The fact that so many guitarists have contracted focal dystonia in the first place - and we can only suppose there are many more - is a sad testimony to the actual state of guitar pedagogy, I must conclude.

So many out of how many? what is the total population?
Also, are you suggesting that the actual state of guitar pedagogy (or guitar pedagogy) is the cause of focal dystonia?
Mysterious logic, to say the least.
They seem to be rather difficult questions to answer. I doubt if anyone is keeping a register of the number of people seriously studying the guitar or the extent to which they are doing themselves serious physical harm but, as far as we can tell, it seems disproportionately high.

Logically, either the way people practice, the way people are taught or, more likely, a combination will be responsible, so Alexander has a good chance of being correct - unless you have detailed, contradictory evidence to show that he is wrong?

It would certainly be interesting to know how prevalent it amongst other instrumentalists as compared with classical guitarists.

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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by Dofpic » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:32 am

I know three of the people on this list. One gave credit to someone else, another gave David a lot of credit but said it was many things and another admits they are not over it but it helped some. Not exactly a cure in my book.
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robert e
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by robert e » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:14 pm

It seems to me that FD is at least as common among pianists as it is among guitarists, and the conventional wisdom in that scene is that it is a lot more prevalent than we can know because 1) professional musicians are understandably reluctant to admit that they have it and 2) amateurs will either misdiagnose their problem as a lack of necessary aptitude or talent and move on, or accurately diagnose it and move on anyway, perhaps after years of trying to "cure" it. So getting anything close to an epidemiology is just not possible.

I more or less gave up classical guitar because of finger control issues that blocked my progress, came back to it a decade later, ran into the same issues, and after a year or two of frustration realized that said "issues" were really a classic case of FD (the m finger curling into the palm, and/or stiffening, and/or vibrating, or very often just "being clumsy"). For the last year and a half or so I've focused on other guitar genres and on learning the piano. Interestingly, what I've learned about piano technique and pedagogy has given me enough hope to pick up the guitar again and attempt to retrain my hand.

Another inspiration is Matthew MacAllister. If he can attain virtuosity without the use of his m finger, then surely I can attain satisfactory competence with an m finger that actually does work for certain things, if not others.

With regard to a "cure", at this point I'd settle for a practical workaround, and I'm prepared, if my current attack is fruitless, to simply work around my problem by choosing and re-fingering pieces, as Mr. MacAllister does quite successfully. This idea that at least some forms of FD are neurological problems is quite plausible, and apparently confirmed by the limited number of FMRI's of musicians with and without FD. But brain surgery? I don't have the resources, nor enough at stake to take on the risks.

With regard to Mr. Leisner's methods, what I know of them is consistent with my research into modern piano approaches that are informed by ergonomics and designed to minimize the risk of injury and over-reliance on finger action by utilizing larger muscles and joints whenever possible. I suspend judgement about how well that can translate to guitar playing, but I think that Marco Salcito proves that a similar approach is at least possible, if not necessarily ideal for everyone. I suspect that the people who'd most benefit from Leisner's method are those at risk of RSI or FD but don't have it yet.

From my perspective, whether Leisner's or anyone else's approach is a work-around or a cure begins to matter less and less. Everyone has to overcome things, often bigger problems than my FD. What matters is being able to enjoy playing a wonderful instrument and its great and growing repertoire.

I had no intention of writing so much, but I suppose no one has to read this pile of... words, do they? :lol:

[1 edit for clarity on 2/24]
Last edited by robert e on Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Impresario
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by Impresario » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:14 pm

Notwithstanding the malicious treatment he initially received by the likes of Guit-box, Crofty, Terpfan, e.a. ,David Leisner, a successful performer and teacher went far above the call of duty by clarifying his approach.
As a result, his detractors only multiplied their attacks.

We cannot fail to be reminded of Plato’s allegory of the cave.
Those who have spent their entire existence in this cave mistake appearances for reality.
Upon release and confronted with the light of the sun, they immediately retract to the cave, their comfort zone, so as to avoid the pain caused by reality.

Continue along this path, and very soon not a single competent player will post on the technique thread.

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Tim522
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by Tim522 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:20 pm

[
Another inspiration is Matthew MacAllister. If he can attain virtuosity without the use of his m finger, then surely I can attain satisfactory competence with an m finger that actually does work for certain things, if not others.

+1 Very inspiring!

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Tim522
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by Tim522 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:28 pm

I can say with absolute certainty that my fingers have more neuromuscular control if i have zero caffeine in my system.

Crofty
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by Crofty » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:45 pm

Impresario wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:14 pm
Notwithstanding the malicious treatment he initially received by the likes of Guit-box, Crofty, Terpfan, e.a. ,David Leisner, a successful performer and teacher went far above the call of duty by clarifying his approach.
As a result, his detractors only multiplied their attacks.

We cannot fail to be reminded of Plato’s allegory of the cave.
What a silly post.

I can't speak for anyone else but my only comment was to imply that I wasn't very impressed by the video excerpt of Leisner which was chosen. I haven't commented since so I'm sure that Impresario will apologise for suggesting otherwise, when he claims that Leisner's "detractors" only multiplied their attacks

As for Plato's allegory, I have to admit that I did fail to be reminded of it.

Rasqeo
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Easen

Post by Rasqeo » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:13 pm

For one thing, the cave allegory fails in that some of the posters here have actually studied with Leisner so they are not commenting from a position of ignorance. In any case, I have no interest in arguing with anyone or trying to denigrate David’s reputation. For what it’s worth, I happen to admire him as a person and as a player - some of his CDs are my favourite CG albums.

However, I have an anhorrance of anything that smells of pseudo-science or quackery. Not that I’m saying that’s the case here, but there seems to be a distinct lack of independent evidence, which is one of the hallmarks of quackery. Furthermore, this is not a subject to be taken lightly. It’s no exaggeration to say that FD ruins careers, if not lives. Anyone claiming to be able to cure this terrible condition should rightly be subject to intense scrutiny. I found it telling that David came across as very defensive in his response. If he were confident in his methods and his results then I would not have expected such a defensive response.

Let’s also not be naive and suppose that David went “far above the call of duty” by responding here. He responded because he felt he was being attacked and perhaps that is the case. However, that again begs the question, the most important question in my view, and one that has not been answered satisfactorily yet - that is, where is the evidence of David successfully curing FD?

ronjazz
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by ronjazz » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:35 pm

Impresario wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:14 pm
Notwithstanding the malicious treatment he initially received by the likes of Guit-box, Crofty, Terpfan, e.a. ,David Leisner, a successful performer and teacher went far above the call of duty by clarifying his approach.
As a result, his detractors only multiplied their attacks.

We cannot fail to be reminded of Plato’s allegory of the cave.
Those who have spent their entire existence in this cave mistake appearances for reality.
Upon release and confronted with the light of the sun, they immediately retract to the cave, their comfort zone, so as to avoid the pain caused by reality.

Continue along this path, and very soon not a single competent player will post on the technique thread.
Will you stop, please? You're getting ridiculous. Malicious treatment? Why does he care? And what's malicious about it? I, too, have associates who have studied with him and achieved nothing except lightening their wallets. Competent players are generally the ones recognizing the limitations of Leisner's approach, by the way.
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DevonBadger
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by DevonBadger » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:28 pm

My original post was meant to draw attention to the ideas on how to play in a relaxed manner. The discussion on focal dystonia seems a different topic to me, so can I suggest that anyone who wants to continue that conversation does so in a different thread. Thanks.

guit-box
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by guit-box » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:39 pm

Here's one player on the list that I could find on YouTube:
It looks like maybe he uses some of the Leisner arm movement. He also uses i,p clenched together like a flat pick at 1:30. I have no idea if he attributes his playing to Leisner or not but it's not a technique I'd want to emulate. Perhaps this is a big improvement? Rather than speculating, if Leisner has some high level players who say he's the reason they can play again, shouldn't it be on him to post videos and testimonials from these players?
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

guit-box
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by guit-box » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:46 pm

This player from the list does a lot of the side strokes with the arm. See the 2nd movement. I'd like to hear a testimonial from him about his lessons with Leisner.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

Crofty
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Re: David Leisner: Playing with Ease

Post by Crofty » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:54 pm

DevonBadger wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:28 pm
My original post was meant to draw attention to the ideas on how to play in a relaxed manner. The discussion on focal dystonia seems a different topic to me, so can I suggest that anyone who wants to continue that conversation does so in a different thread. Thanks.
Apologies from me [not that I've written much...]

I guess that threads mirror real life conversations in the way they can veer off topic. And you should read the UK political forum I am on!!

Just briefly, and with regard to Impresario, it does seem to me that if someone thinks posts are out of order, then this site, unlike my political one, has an excellent system of moderation which makes it very easy to ask for a sort of referee's decision. I've always found them very responsive.

Paul

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