one-handed student - advice appreciated

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by justamom, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. justamom

    justamom New Friend

    Mar 29, 2010
    Hi. I have read the forum for about a month but this is my first post. Just seeking some advice - sorry I am not able to contribute positively to the forum yet but we are new to this.

    My son (age 9) has the use of only the right arm - his left arm has no shoulder bone and no hand or elbow movement at all. He would like to join band next year and trumpet/cornet seems like a good option.

    After reading this forum, we purchased a Yamaha 2310II cornet for him to start on. It is new - a "scratch-and-dent" from musiciansfriend - and was $380 (I know they are cheaper used but we dont play so were worried about evaluating a used one and were willing to pay more for the right to return it). We can still return it as of now.

    Can anyone tell me whether that would be a good starter instrument for someone with one arm - - both in how it plays and in weight or ergonomics? Also, I read some posts about the Shulman system - - would that be a good thing to have for a person who is one-handed but has no left shoulder? If it would and anyone has one they are looking to sell, please let me know. I really appreciate any help you can give. Thanks.
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Welcome to TM, I must applaud you for doing what your are at least trying to do for your son. I am really sorry that I can't answer your questions however it seems you are on the right track.
  3. A.N.A. Mendez

    A.N.A. Mendez Utimate User

    Oct 25, 2005
    Sunny Ca.
    Good move going with a cornet. See if you can buy from a seller that has a good return policy. Good luck and welcome to the forum. Lots of good people here, with a few others thrown in for spice! :-)
  4. justamom

    justamom New Friend

    Mar 29, 2010
    Thanks for the kind welcome. We have all kinds of instruments in our house because my other 3 chidren play piano, trombone, clarinet, guitar and drums, but no experience with trumpets or cornets so its all new. My son who is interested in the trumpet is really good at figuring out how to do things with his one hand so I am sure he will adapt, but I was interested if anyone had specific advice for him and also was intrigued by the Shulman system that I have seen discussed. Looking forward to being a part of this forum. Thanks.
  5. Klaus_O

    Klaus_O New Friend

    Jan 8, 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    The Yamaha 2310II will be a good choice. I have had the opportunity to play that model as well as some of the other student yamaha cornets. The cornet is a good choice for your son since the centre of weight balance will be closer to the body and this model is a lighter horn than many other cornets.

    I have also used the Schulman System with my trumpet when I had a torn rotator in my left shoulder. From what I hear, the Schulmans are hard to come by. I have not tried it with my cornet. I am not sure if the main leadpipe of the cornet will interfere with the way the Schuman sits. I can verify and let you know.
  6. borge705

    borge705 Pianissimo User

    Dec 20, 2008
    Hi Justamom

    When using 2 hands, you are supporting most of the instrument's weight with your left hand. Playing with the right hand only is quite common - when handling mutes for example. The only limitation (for me) is that my fingers are a little less dexterous because my right hand is holding the instrument a little more rigidly than when playing with 2 hands. Nothing that a little practice wouldn't fix.

    If you have a repair shop in your area, there may be minor and inexpensive adjustments you can make that will assist him to free up his fingers a little more and still feel he is holding the instrument securely. One suggestion might be to add a ring for his right thumb under the leadpipe just forward of the first valve. The hook on top of the leadpipe may also be moved.

    You may also need to hold the first and third valve slides in place (normally operated by the left hand). This can be done with an elastic hair band or a length of hat elastic.

  7. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    The Schulman System is not in production any longer and in my opinion would not have worked in the circumstance you cite.

    What you will need is an adjustable floor, wall, or chair attached support to hold the instrument (cornet, and I'm glad you choose this in lieu of a trumpet). Such then would allow the right hand fingers to manipulate the valves. Whatever, such has to be firm enough to hold the instrument stable in a mouthpiece accessable position. Yes, I'm writing of an expensive custom made prosthetic type device that to my knowledge is not in production anywhere ... but should be ... albeit it lay in the "orphan" category.

    One concern is the attachment to the instrument in a manner that does not decay the instrument's musical quality but I believe this can be resolved.

    More difficult musically is the problem of quick manuervering the third valve tuning slide for accurate intonation when needed. On impulse, my immediate thought is that this would have to be accomplished via a leg/foot linkage. Normally, such is done with one of the left hand fingers.

    As a parent, I know you want to make it possible for your child to pursue any endeavor they desire and I applaud you for this, but what you can achieve within available parameters and funding is the hard fact of reality.

    Personally, I would have begun with a valveless bugle to develop the facial / lip muscles that create what is termed embouchure as is no different than what is required to play a cornet or trumpet. For your child to become proficient playing bugle calls is an awakening to those who may then help in the transition and apparatus required to play a trumpet / cornet.

    Comparative, many in our armed forces have sustained injuries that now deny them the capability to play musical instruments that they once did. Just the therapeudic value is significant towards full rehabilitative efforts, still I know of little being done in this venue.

    I hope I've contributed some serious thought that helps you make the decision that is beneficial to your child.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  9. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    I would suggest you contact Jeanne Pocus, a highly respected teacher who has an one armed student in Haiti who is developing into a fine player.

    Regards, Stuart.
  10. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI

    Ed, this is just ignorant. While those notes might be hard to lip in on a Bach trumpet, there are plenty of trumpets and cornets without any devices at all because they were built that way.

    I never used a third slide device when I was in high school because I learned to lip it in. I use it now, though.

    Let's focus on helping.


Share This Page