Hand Position

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by misty.sj, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    I'm reading Jeanne Pocius' Trumpeting by Nature and it's excellent. One of the things it talks about is hand position. I have NEVER been told anything specific about hand position before and it is truly shocking to me that I've been doing it wrong all this time. I bet lots of people are!!

    So do you guys all concur with her advice? Basically the left hand is not right up against the valve casings, but the horn is balanced on the thumb on one side of the casing and the first two fingers on the other side, with a big gap between the palm of the hand and the valve casing. The third and fourth fingers are resting on the third valve slide with the third finger resting inside the third slide ring.

    Then for the right hand, she doesn't use the pinky ring. Also she puts the thumb right up underneath the palm of the hand right around where the second valve casing is.

    Just totally different to me and I wanted to see if there are OTHER ways to hold the trumpet too. Because I kind of thought everyone held it the same way as I did!
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This opens a can of worms.

    I agree that the left hand should not be "tightly" wrapped around the valve casing. I have my thumb between the first and second valves and my pinky loosely in the ring. I have no trouble with fast, slow, loud, soft, high or low. The horror stories about abuse, are just proof that it is possible to spoil a good thing. The key is RELAXED and centered on the valves so you do not fight the mechanics. My right hand is curved like holding a baseball. I have found nothing that takes up less energy or gives me better leverage/geometry.
  3. derekkress

    derekkress Pianissimo User

    Oct 8, 2007
    Montreal Qc Canada
    "Claude Gordon" grip for me!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Cool, that is how I hold it too!

    Oh. I do use the finger ring, and usually wrap my right thumb around the valve casing.

    I quess I'm only halfway good!
  5. Pete

    Pete Piano User

    Nov 17, 2007
    I think that Jean's description is very useful in most cases. Putting your right thumb between the first and second valve is something that I was taught many years ago. This keeps you from using the piny ring for pressure, and aligns your fingers over the valves without using a death grip.The left hand position is great for use with the third slide movement.

    I use various left hand grips depending on what I am playing, or how long I am playing. I injured my left hand ring finger a long time ago, and it is difficult for me to keep it in the same position for a long time.

  6. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    I'd never thought about how I held the trumpet, so I had to pick it up
    and check.
    Normally my right hand thumb is placed on the lead pipe,
    (where "valve 0" should have been)
    but placing it between valve 1 and 2 seems to be better.
    This will probably, as you tell, give a better stroke for the valves,
    caused fingers placed correctly without "bending" the valve "stems",
    which would have given extra friction in the valve casings and caused problems.
  7. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    Two up, two down. No pinkie, except for high notes.

    Lets see...Where was the thread where we went over this before now?
  8. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    Hand position, like everything else with the trumpet is important, but it's impossible to really give a one size fits all position. People (and horns) are just physically different, and so, allowances must be made.

    Having said that, I will say that the FIRST thing I do with new students is examine how they hold the horn when they play, and I usually have to make changes.

    I agree with Rowuk on the left hand position. Jean's description is not necessarily bad, but where you put your fingers, etc. CAN be dictated in part by the size of your hands and the horn your playing. As he (Rowuk) correctly points out (and I think Jean is getting at this), the important thing is to keep the hand relaxed. Another factor here is the angle of the horn as it affects the embochure, and potential problems with tension in the left arm and shoulder.

    For the right hand I recommend the following:

    -pinky ON TOP of pinky ring. The ONLY time your pinky should be in the ring is when you're carrying the horn around
    -right thumb can vary depending on a person's physical characteristics, but generally I recommend that the thumb tip be on the bottom of the lead pipe somewhere even or toward the mouthpiece from the first valve.
    -hand and fingers SHOULD BE ARCHED. This is one that I encourage students to really drill in to their playing. It gets harder to do (for some of us) as one gets older and the hands stiffen up
    -press the valves hard when playing. You don't want to hit them so hard that you're disrupting the embochure, but just short of that is good
  9. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    Why in the world would the pinky ring help you with high notes? Am I missing something here? I wouldn't be surprised if I am... :lol:
  10. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    In my opinion the pinky ring does NOT actually help with the high notes if the chops are in decent shape. Where people,myself included, get themselves into trouble with the pinky ring,( octave key ), is when their chops are out of shape, getting tired, etc.. They,( I ), tend to pull the horn into my face strongly, thus, applying far too much pressure. I know better and that is why I spend so much time in practice in an 'attempt' to never have to use my octave key, except while turning chart pages, installing mutes, and other activities that might put my horn in jeopardy.


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