one-handed student - advice appreciated

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

  1. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
  2. justamom

    justamom New Friend

    Mar 29, 2010
    Wow. Lots of wonderful information so quickly! I really appreciate everyone taking their time to give me advice. I will definitely look into all of the suggestions.

    Glad to hear that the Yamaha 2310II is fairly light and a good choice balance-wise. that was a big concern as I had no basis of comparison. We will stay with it then.

    I am in the Chicago area so I am certain I would be able to find an instrument repair shop to make modifications to the instrument if needed. It is really helpful to know that is an option.

    I also really appreciate the info re the successful one-handed cornet player, as my son loves to see people doing things with limb differences.

    I will try to contact Jeanne Pocus as well, as I am sure many issues we may experience have been delat with already.

    I understand the suggestion that he may be better able to start on a bugle. I am inclined to try the cornet, however, because our school band does not use bugles and the fun and experience of being in the band with the classmates is something he wants and that I think he will be able to do. He was tying his shoes one-handed in Kindergarten before many of his two-handed classmates, so he tends to rise to challenges. I am as worried about his facial and lip muscle development as he has some speech issues, but he likes to practice buzzing which he sees my trombone-playing daughter do, so we are willing to give it a try. He did take piano lessons for a couple of years so he has some music foundation.

    I very much appreciate everyone's suggestions and welcome any others. I will also keep you posted as to his progress. Thanks so much.
  3. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 21, 2009
    I have seen a video posted on this site of a young man who played trumpet with one hand. He was very skilled, and as far as i saw, his disability played virtually no role in his playing. I hope that you can find a gadget or method that works for your son, the music world is amazing, as is the social life in school. best of luck mom!
  4. borge705

    borge705 Pianissimo User

    Dec 20, 2008
    He probably won't "need" the adjustments I suggested. They just may help make the instrument more comfortable for him. I've made similar modifications to one of my horns simply because my hands are small.

    I would ignore any talk you hear about needing to operate the first and third valve slides. If he wants to he can address that further down the track, but I know enough good players who seldom use them anyway. For now, I'd tie them together with elastic to prevent them from extending. Like this:

    I do it to stop my third slide from falling off when the horn is on a stand.
  5. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    I've been playing for over 50 years. During that time I've known a couple of guys who played with limited use of one arm--one who played left handed . Your son's handicap presents a couple of technical issues to overcome; but certainly nothing insurmountable. Personally, I think you made the right choice to go with a cornet, I feel they are a better choice for any beginner anyway. He may need nothing to help him hold the horn, he may be able to prop up his right arm on the arm of a chair. I was personally thinking of something like the device suggested by flugelgirl--I just didn't know someone actually manufactured one--and there are lots of inexpensive monopods that someone could figure out how to attach to the valve cluster with velcro straps. I really don't think he will have any problems that a little ingenuity can't fix.
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Ah Justamom - what a gem you are. You have given so much to US even though you don't know it. We ALL think we have some problem with the instrument we choose - you've allowed us all to walk in someone else's shoes - just a bit.

    I really think we categorise so called disabled members of our community without asking them THEIR own opinion on the matter - often (in my experience) they wll reject the concept of them having a disability. I had a close mate with spina-bifida (a herniated spinal cord) from birth - in all our time together, he never expressed to me that he was in any way any different to me. I played A grade Rugby with a bloke with only one arm - he was a much better player than me. My brother-in-law was rendered quadraplegic from a motor cycle accident and it always surprised me that just because his legs wouldn't work, people treated him as if he was deranged and that I was his interpreter - would Dave like a beer, I don't now why don't you ask HIM.

    Bottom line, so your son wishes to play trumpet, you've bought him a fine instrument - now just let him get on with it, he'll tell you if he's incapable, but whatever you do, keep up the great support - you too are allowing the magic of trumpet/cornet music into his world, and allowing us the privelage of sharing his music and his journey.

    Way to go. I am in absolute awe.

  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I recommend a simple "monopod" (single legged support - here a site with options: ( cullmann-foto // Einbeinstative - Ergebnisse ) as is commonly used in photography to provide support. An instrument technician would only have to add a threaded adapter at a balance point on the bottom of the instrument. There are monopods available in all sorts of adjustable lengths and the seated/standing distances should be considered to keep everything as light and transportable as possible. A quick release mechanism would make it easier ( cullmann-foto // Kugelgelenk 2709 SK ) to manage on stage. I know that these products are from a german website, but they are surely available in the US. I have several items from Cullmann and they are top notch for the cost.

    I think that it is important not to reinvent the wheel for projects like this. Standard equipment borrowed from other disciplines (like photography) makes improvements cheap and not dependent on the (expensive) time of specialists. It is critical to keep the right hand as relaxed as possible when playing.
    Keep us informed of your progress!
  8. Bixel

    Bixel Pianissimo User

    Jan 1, 2010
    I doubt a monopod attached to a cornet (or trumpet) is of help as the instrument no longer will be able to follow the subtle (and unavoidable) movements of the player's body.
    A trumpet is no camera.
    I never tried a monopod myself (as having two arms), but I cannot imagine good results.

    Let him learn to play with just one hand from the beginning.
    It primarily is a matter of adaptation.
    There are one-armed trumpet players who prove that.

    For example - check this guy:

    Menno Daams Homepage

    I met him in person - a very good player with all a trumpet player may wish to have.

  9. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    In my considered opinion a careful perusal of the James F. Burke Tribute Page will give you and your son a wealth of encouragement and ideas for his future cornetting. Jimmy Burke played a custom built Buescher cornet in his later years that was made for a lefthanded, one armed musician. When you check out the site, pay close attention to the extended lever for the water valve. That is the major problem that your son will encounter, unless his cornet is modified in some such manner. As a polio survivor in my youth I have experienced many surmountable problems because of physical debility. It just takes gumption and ingenuity. Another source can be found pertaining to the great jazz cornetist 'Wingy Malone'.


  10. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

    Jan 26, 2009
    Northern California
    Nothing new to add, just another vote for enjoying and studying the James Burke tribute page. I was fortunate enough to see him perform a few times in my youth, and his playing, musicianship, and willingness to share knowledge are still vivid memories.

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