one-handed student - advice appreciated

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

  1. plp

    plp Pianissimo User

    Nov 9, 2003
    South Alabama
    Great choice on the cornet. Yamaha makes very high quality instruments.

    I would suggest he meet with a physical therapist and get their advice about the best way to support the instrument. A consideration would be a saxophone neck strap, attached to the cornet so he can let it go unsupported for changing mutes, turning pages, etc. and still not have to set it down. We have a french horn player in pops band that uses one when going from his seat to his case, so he can use his canes. Cheap, easy to find, and less intrusive than a stand alone prop.
  2. justamom

    justamom New Friend

    Mar 29, 2010
    Once again thanks so much for all of your suggestions. Having never had the use of both arms, it is really not a big deal to him to figure out ways to do everything one-handed, and I am sure he will do so with this as well. We actually rarely even think about it as it i no big deal for him. Our first approach is always to just let him do it. I actually think the lip stuff will be more of a challenge for him than holding the horn, but he'll work it out.

    It is really helpful, however, to have the input as to options such as the ergobrass, sax strap, monopod etc, that will make it easier to play if it is a problem, or even to allow him to relax the right arm a little when practicing. I am also glad to know that the Yamaha cornet should be a decent choice for him. We learned the hard way with my first child to do a little research before purchasing an instrument, and this site has been a great resource.

    We will enjoy looking up the James F. Burke and Menno Daams info. Thanks for all of your help.
  3. RandyTx

    RandyTx Pianissimo User

    Mar 26, 2010
    Central Texas
    You might take a look at this link, about a very famous and renowned cornet soloist of the last century, James F. Burke.

    The James F. Burke Tribute Page - Biography/Resume

    Due to complications from childbirth, he only had the full use of one arm. The bio goes through some of the details. That site also has some free audio recordings of him playing. I challenge anyone to listen to them and be able to tell that he had any physical limitations whatsoever.

    I think this site might be educational, and motivational for both you and your child. Good luck to you both.
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Tom, Yes, I've known many trumpets and cornets that were made without devices that assisted in quick manuerving of first and third valves ... ones that were out of tune, especially on stave first line Eb, the D below, and C# below that ... and as for those that think they can lip them in ... well, the proof of such is let me see the same on a tuner or oscilloscope if you don't think I've heard the discord. Too, many need the Bb (1st valve adjusted ), noting the high quality instruments are equipped with such a thumb saddle or ring.

    Another has shown a fantastic one handed cornet player (Burke) noting that he played left handed ... but note the modification of his cornet.

    Personally, I modified trumpet valve keys for a Korean conflict vet that lost his third and little finger so that he could depress all three valves with just two fingers or 1-2 or 2-3 with just one finger. My point is that thought given to instrument modification or assisting device makes the task or life easier for the disadvantaged.

    My paternal grandfather in advanced years suffered from Parkinson's disease and couldn't grasp a spoon to eat oatmeal cereal or soup until I modified a tablespoon to wrap around his hand. I also modified his fork, but Grandma cut up his meat into small mouth size pieces. He couldn't drink his coffee until I provided a stainless straw with a plastic lip piece as he couldn't lift the cup without spilling.

    Now why not a lightweight frame attached to the right forearm to support the cornet that would also allow it also to be lightly pressed against the lip? I'm still thinking about a third valve trigger that would rise to position of what we know as the pinky ring.

    TOM, what thoughts have you put forth that might possibly assist the OP.

    Yes, Tom, I take umbrage at your calling me "ignorant" when you just ignore the the OP's plea.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2010
  5. Bugler

    Bugler Banned

    Much has been made of the intonation issue with the 3rd slide, and I would suggest everyone look at this section of the website: The James F. Burke Tribute Page - Clinician Series Part 2

    Right at the very beginning, you will hear a demonstration of a chromatic scale performed with no valves and perfect intonation. Mr. Burke always said to me "Trumpet playing is 90% mental. It's just 3 valves and a meatwhistle."

    I would hope that this demonstration would put to rest any intonation issues based solely on "equipment".
  6. kcmt01

    kcmt01 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Polson, MT
    Thanks for posting this, Bugler. Burke's genius is not only how he plays, but how well he teaches.

    Now regarding "disabilities". Since the young man in question is already very adept, I don't think he really needs any mechanical aids. Let him figure it out for himself. When I was a sophomore in high school, I cut off the middle finger of my right hand in a lawn mower. It was at the 3rd joint. They sewed it back on, but all I had was the muscles on the bottom. In other words, I could push down my middle valve, but the spring had to push my finger tip back up. You can imagine what that sounded like. But here's the funny thing: Some time during my junior year, my hand started compensating almost subconsciously. Now, many years later, I don't even think about it. My point is, we are wonderfully made. Don't sell the Creator or the created short.
  7. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

    Apr 28, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    I wonder if you couldn't be creative and adapt one of those wrist straps that are used for carpel tunnel issues and have it strapped somehow to the valve block so that it supports most of the horn and leaves the fingers as free as possible.
    You may need some help to rig up a way to operate the water key/spit valve. though he could probably just press it against his a music stand and let gravity take care of it.

    Good luck we all are excited for your son. Having only 3 valves is a plus. Yamaha instruments are well made and the cornet is a great choice.

    One bad habit a lot of brass players have is that they smash the mouthpiece into their face and apply too much pressure. Your son will be less likely to develop this bad habit and he'll develop his embouchure without relying on this extra pressure.

    Ask as many questions as you need! We all think your goal can be accomplished and many of us know, others like your son, who refuse to give up and can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

    I think my wife had a wrist strap like I mentioned above. I'll try to find it and experiment with it to see if such a thing will work.
  8. Bugler

    Bugler Banned

    I can relate to your injury. I had my middle finger on the right hand chopped off between the 1st and 2nd joints when I was working for Creamland Dairies making ice cream cones. The doctor sewed it back on, and he did a good job. The only thing not severed was the tendon. Luckily, the bone break was perfectly straight. I only have about 50% feeling in the finger and I think like you my hand just learned how to compensate. I don't think about it unless I catch myself not banging my fingers during fast chromatic passages.
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    First, let me say I've no business interest in a company that makes any external device or equipment. Those that know me also know that my health is diminished severely enough to qualify for handicap auto placard / tag. Certainly I do as much as I can without any device or assistance but I recognize that there are items or others that can help alleviate some of the now painful or unattainable movements that once upon a time in the past I found ease in accomplishing. I'm not adverse to using such as needed and I search them out.

    As for a monopod, General George Washington used one. Call it a field walking stick if you want but it had a screw thread to the top upon which he could mount a compass ... this item is well known to surveyors for year's as a Jacob's staff. Yes, photographers are known to use a variation of such also and a gimbel allows very rapid movement vis to capture sports photographs. There are temporary camera mounts for poles, trees, car dash decks and even automobile windows ... I've used them all. This Finnish monopod surfices to fullfill what a Schulmann system accomplished, but there are those among us that are adverse to the horizontal playing position, some as go so far as to bend their mouthpieces and to this I say "whatever works". Have any seen a euphonium, baritone or tuba played in a shoulder bag and no I don't mean held up on the shoulder ... I mean held right in front with the bottom in the bag and a cross shoulder strap. Yes, it prevents physical tiring and also reduces damage and I've got two for my Conn Artist euphonium (bought in London) and made one for my tuba.

    Too, I've known a few valveless buglers that can play a chromatic scale, but they can't do it in 15 different concert keys, but still I applaud their lip. Yeah, I know you're going to tell me a chromatic scale hits all the sharps and flats and it does on our valved instruments in keys of Bb, C, Eb, and possibly A & D or F depending on the instrument you play and some bugles do it in G. Yes, I tricked you ... none of these would be concert keys except the C trumpet's.

    My question ... alone and without device ... how rapid can this child attain a comparative level with others of his age / peers. I'm almost certain that is what he wants.

    Yes, I now live in a very old house that has an old fashioned bath tub that is now difficult for me to get into and if I sit in the bottom only with a powered delta lift can I get up again. The current manufacture of home aid bath tub stools will not fit in such old bathtubs. I solved this problem with a nice white Rubbermaid step stool. It is imperative that I maintain cleanliness and care for my feet as I'm diabetic and also suffer with PAD.

    Yes, I'm focused on what helps the impaired ... and deluged with mail related to it. I'm bazooka's that it cost over $150 to change the wheel bearings of a wheelchair. It costs me $18.00 for a better set of bearings, 25 cents for lithium grease and about 20 minutes time. The problem isn't different than that for the front wheel of a bicycle. I've done it once since my arrival here in Jackson and charged just $20.00 I did it for 3 in N Va. It would have cost him thirty dollars co-pay on his Medicaid. Worse he'd be without a wheelchair for up to a week, and would have to rent one. One day, quite possibly, someone will do the same for me.

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