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Is working really hard on buildings (handling heavy buckets, shovel, trowel) will eliminate me from being a sax player?
I mean will it make my hands wrecked like?
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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Is working really hard on buildings (handling heavy buckets, shovel, trowel) will eliminate me from being a sax player?
In short: no, unless you injure your hands very badly eg severed tendon or lose the end of a finger etc. Certainly your finger tips being calloused etc will make little or no difference. You may find you have to put less effort/tension/strength into the use of your hands in playing the sax than you do in your work.
IMO
 

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Forum Contributor 2010-2016
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In my experience it won't eliminate you, but it won't help you either. My usual job doesn't require hard physical labour, but I occasionally have to do it. For example repairing wire fencing. It's hard on the hands and I find thay my speed of execution of fast passages diminishes. But because my playing is always improvised, I can compensate by phrasing accordingly.

If, on the other hand, you're the kind of sax player that has to read and play complex passages accurately, then work-hardened fingers might be a handicap. But if you play in the kind of bars where fights break out you might be an asset to the band :)
 

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No, not at all. To be exact, strong hands and arms can be a real advantage. I grew up doing mechanic grunt work on heavy equipment and big logging trucks. My hands used to stay beat up and calloused. I've smashed and broken figures and even burnt the feeling out of several finger tips. I'm 46 now and except for a little familial shake (which is genetic), I have no problems. But I will admit, I'm lucky to have never suffered a very serious injury to my hands.

The hard work itself will not hurt. But you want to take normal cautions. Wear gloves when needed. Use good techniques when using a knife or hammer. Make sure all the guards are on power equipment before you use them. And follow all the safety rules that everybody that works for a living should follow. That's the best way to keep all your parts and to keep them working right. :bluewink:
 

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Wear gloves, as EG suggests. I did manual labor for years, and I found that gloves are essential.
 

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after a hard days work!,imagine when you play your sax"its like you are caressing your wife/girlfriend!,relax and let your fingers move easily!,forget all the tenseness in your self!,might get a few laughs here but its true!!
 

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You mention use of a trowel - skin protection, ie boots, long trousers, long sleeves, eye protection and dust masks are necessary when working with or around concrete or cement. Very caustic to skin. I haven't the experience with mortar but I would presume it is much the same and would take similar precautions.

Repetitive motion injury from any line of work, much less hard physical labor can tend effect joints in the arms and hands.
 

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It does affect your hands somewhat. I started out as a saxophone player and then later became a carpenter and it is hard on your hands. You do notice your execution is not quite as good on fast stuff but if you are young it probably won't make much difference unless you get an injury. If you practice every day that's the best cure. I just always think about my hands and where they are and what an injury could do to me physically as well as mentally. Construction guys I work with that aren't musicians don't think that way, they are not careful with their hands even though they need them to make a living. It's actually an advantage being a musician in that regard.
 

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Don't operate tools or machinery that vibrates a lot for extended periods, such as chainsaws, sanders, augers, etc. They can cause permanent nerve damage. Also, impact such as shoveling rocky ground or using the hand as a mallet to adjust something heavy should be avoided. The older you get, the more sensitive to abuse they become.
 

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FWIW, I nearly completely severed my right thumb just below the nail and my 1st finger of the same hand at the knuckle when I was 22. Working as a mechanic, I used a 13mm instead of a 1/2" wrench and it slipped on the bolt while I was setting the timing on a '68 Ford Mustang. The result was I stuck my hand into the clutchless spinning metal radiator fan.

They reattached my thumb and it was 25 stitches and a cast to close the gash and set the forefinger.

That little adventure took me off the horn for about 5 months and it was almost 2 years from the date of the accident that it wasn't constantly reminding me of my stupidity. 31 years later, I still feel it hampering my dexterity today when I'm out in the cold, and heavy horns (bari sax) really do hurt my right thumb after playing for a couple hours.

I doubt plastering will affect you, but do be careful around machinery. It's not something I'd like to see someone repeat.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Well, I was really into lifting weight like 15 years ago. Everyday for a couple hours. Really intense. I would push it until I was toast. I remember trying to practice and feeling like it was really affecting my technique. I didn't have the speed I usually had. It's not the same as your situation but it is similar if your working your hands to death.

When I moved into my current house I had to take apart a pool and throw it away. I was too cheap to go out and buy a power drill to unscrew everything so I did it all by hand. If you want to give yourself tendonitis try unscrewing 300 or so screws all by hand with a screwdriver...........that did it.
 

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I did construction for a couple years when music didn't pay the bills. It was a challenge to keep my muscles loose enough to play as well as when I didn't work. With trade jobs you have to expect a certain amount of your hands getting banged up. It can be hard to do a gig on the same day you smacked your hand with a framing hammer. If you are careful, young, drink a lot of water and make sure you stretch you can do it. It isn't ideal but it is very satisfying work. I always love construction work because you are outside and you can see the fruits of your labor. Hard work is good for the soul. Be careful and give your body plenty of tlc. The great thing about learning a trade is you have a skill that will get you paid for the rest of your life.
 

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drink a lot of water and make sure you stretch
Good advice. Cramps are a big problem associated with dehydration and the lack of essential minerals. I once had terrible trouble with finger cramps when I rushed to a gig after shovelling all day. I needed to drink a couple of litres of water before I could carry on. Essential minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium that often come in vitamin supplements can stop painful muscle spasms and cramps, especially at night after a hard day's physical work.
 

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I suggest wearing good strong gloves all day long, even for minor tasks -- protects you physically but psychologically keeps you aware of how precious your hands are!

Not a sax player, but...there was a famous concert pianist named Lili Kraus, a Mozart specialist. She was living in Indonesia in WW2 and was captured by the Japanese. She was forced to do hard physical labor in a prison camp, where she lived in a state of deprivation. She later said it made her hands tremendously strong and ended up improving her dexterity rather than destroying it. (It's quite a story, from a book called Great Concert Pianists Speak for Themselves, if anyone's interested.)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
A good bit of advice here. Thanks for that guys :cheers:

So, safety first, plenty of water, mineral and vitamin suplements and with everyday practice I still should do improvement ( with sax not trowel ) technically.
 

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You can use the excuse "Hard labor makes my fingers less flexible and I might drop something on them or my hands" to get out of working a real job. [That's what I always did. :) ]
 
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