Left-handed little people and trumpets - help please!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by juliamary, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. juliamary

    juliamary New Friend

    Sep 28, 2011
    Hi all

    Apologies if this has been asked before but my 7-year-old son has just started learning the trumpet in school (he's on his 2nd lesson :-)).

    Anyway, he's quite small for his age and has little hands & fingers but the big issue is he's left-handed and so wants to press the valves (sorry if that's the wrong term) with his left hand rather than his right as he keeps telling me "mum they're sooo hard to press with my right - can you get me a left handed trumpet".

    I'm not sure if such a thing exists or if we're in the land of skirting-board laddders etc. Anyway, I can't afford thousands for a bespoke model - but knowing nothing about trumpets myself am just wondering if anyone could offer any helpful advice or suggestions?

    I've paid out £200+ for the trumpet, as he is dead keen to learn, so really want to encourage him but without pressurising him and am wondering if there is any way I could make it easier for him to play?

    I'm working on his posture as he throws his pelvis forward when he lifts the instrument and I figure that better support, balance and weight distribution will make it easier to lift and hold however I'm not sure how to overcome the 'fingering' issue.

    Thanks for any advice

  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, juliamary!

    All of us right-handers can also finger with our left hand--there are no extremely fine-motor skills involved, like handwriting, or brain surgery for example. We just push three valves down and let them come up. It is probably the strangeness of playing a new instrument rather than his having to use his right hand that caused his lament. One of the Vulgano mantras you might want to share with him: "Keep doing the right thing and wait for the miracle to happen."

    All the best!
  3. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    VB has a point, however, some individuals are extremely one sided. My SIL is one, very right handed, and has trouble trying to do important tasks if she has to use her left. My wife, on the other hand( no pun intended), is ambidextrous. Writes lefty, eats lefty, bowls righty, shoots righty( now you know why I refer to her as SWMBO!). Give him some time with it, if he's still struggling, then I guess we'll have to revisit this. They are mirror twins by the way........Buck:oops:
  4. Aydn

    Aydn Pianissimo User

    Jun 13, 2011
    Sunny South Florida
    My 7yr. Old has been playing for around 4 months now, the trumpet is just too long and awkward for him to manage, he's tiny for a 7yr. Old he still wears size 5 clothing. Because of the length of the trumpet we started him out on a short cornet, which has the same fingerings. He has been very successful on cornet and will be able to transition to trumpet very easily one day. The cornet is awesome for little people and they love it. You can get a really good one on eBay and not break the bank.
    Good luck,
  5. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    It is, unfortunately for him, a right-handed world, so this will help him to cope with it.

    He could always switch to French horn, come to think of it... that's fingered with the left hand.

  6. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    I am left-handed, like some other people on this forum. Most of us play the trumpet with the right hand on the valves, like right-handeds. As Vulgano Brother said, it is not a handicap. Notice the left hand keeps an important role in holding the trumpet. Otherwise cornet is good for young beginners … and many others !

  7. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    The majority of French horn players I've known have been right handed!
    Cornet probably is a better choice until he's bigger, but maybe he should learn some piano to help him think right handed as well. You most definitely don't have to be ambidextrous to be a pianist, and it will help improve his reading skills as well.
  8. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    I'm right handed, and I compete as a fencer left-handed (due to an injury to my right hand). At first it was significantly more difficult to use my left hand, but I'm actually better lefty (I think).
    Bottom line, its a matter of experience of use - your "off-hand" can be used just as well as your dominant
  9. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    Oh ! Yes ! +1
  10. BrassEye

    BrassEye Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2011
    Make sure that he's not got his little finger of his right hand in the hook of the trumpet. I teach a student not much older than your son who has quite small hands and having his finger in the hook was causing his fingers to be spread too far apart, resulting in discomfort and a loss of dexterity. You've not mentioned if he is doing this but it would be worth checking and, if he is, getting him to try playing without his finger in the hook. Playing without using the hook (or the 'octave key' as it is affectionately known) is a good habit to get into ASAP.

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