The Importance of Hand Position

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Double_G, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. Double_G

    Double_G Pianissimo User

    May 4, 2005
    Gordonsville, TN
    How important is it and what effect does it have on your playing? Doe sit have any effect at all? My hand position was corrected when I was in the 7th grade by my band director, she told me that if your hand position wasn't correct you owuld not be able to play up to your full potential. She never explained why and I have always wondered. And I'm not talking about either hand in particular. My left hand was the one that was corrected, but I would like to know the advantages of having correct hand position for both, if there are any, and how it helps you play better, if it does.
  2. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    the left hand postion can led to either a good relaxed grip, or a death it can matter. just keep it relaxed and in a position to use the slides.
  3. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003
    the right hand position is very important, as it directly effects finger agility. your thumb should be near the 2nd valve bent under the leadpipe pointing up (if that makes any sence) to achive the best finger movement, its important to keep your hand curved and not wrap your thumb around the first valve, as that slows your finger movement down. as for the left hand, as long as your not holding on to the bell and you can still reach/operate the first and third slides (if you have hooks on both) its not really critical.
  4. eisprl

    eisprl Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 26, 2004
    Halifax, NS CANADA
    I have often wondered that myself. Today especially. I kept noticing that I change my left hand position every now and then from the "pistol grip" method to just holding it "normally" with either the ring or middle finger in the third slide ring. (I still have some personal analyzing to do but I basically figured out that I use the pistol grip when I use alot of the thid slide).

    FYI - Stewart Laughton (Canadian Brass) plays with the pistol grip. (Watched him play the other night and I don't think it changed through the whole concert.

    Another thing to check out would be the Alexander technique. I've never had a sesison but apparently they look at how you play (any instrument) we're talking posture, hand position, pressure everything. They look at how you play and see where the tense areas are and offer suggestions on how to fix it or it may become a problem in future years.

    good luck

    Eric S.
  5. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    In marching band we all use the same hand position, (trumpet, mello, euphoneum, baritone, everything). We call it "The Spok" (from startrek) because the middle finger and ring finger are spread out on both sides of the 3rd valve slide, and then the middle finger is in the hook, and the thumb is in the 1st valve slide hook. Then our right hand is pretty much normal, with the thumb inbetween the first and second valves sort of wedged between the valve caseing and the lead pipe with our fingers up curved over with the finger tips on the valves.
    We only do it like this because we want everyone in marching band to look exactly the same and because it makes it easier to hold the horn at the correct angel.

    But in concert band and orchrestra my hand placement is compleatly differant. My left hand is close to the same, but I use my ring finger in the 3rd valve slide ring instead. On my right hand I put my thumb on the other side of the 1st valve, for me it keeps my hand more open and I can move my fingers faster and easier. The main differance is that I hold the entire at an angel. So looking from the front it would look like this " / " if that made anysence... I think its just out of habbit, but for some reason it seems like I play with a darker, fuller sound like that, but maybe thats just mental, I don't know.
  6. BPinard

    BPinard Pianissimo User

    Jun 14, 2005
    Setauket, NY
    I'm trying to break my habit of using the pinkie hook. I never really had an issue with finger movement considering the stuff we play in band is usually pretty easy, but with bebop, quick fingers are a must! :lol:
  7. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    It can be important in the feeling of balance and control. Also, improper hand position can promote pressure.

    An unbalanced position creates (although unconsiously) a sense of instability, promoting tension in other areas of the body. Not good. Further, if your horn is heavier, a balanced grip would seem to aid in muscle endurance.

    A position I've seen Hickman reccomend is just the tips of the thumb and ring finger in the rings or saddle/ring (depending on your horn's configuration), pinky on the pinky rest (as I call it to my beginners), and right hand curved as if holding a tennis ball in a relaxed manner.

    Grasping the horn with a "death grip" (left hand shoved all the way in, squeezing the valve casings) can only promote tension; also, players I've seen with that extreme grip use excess pressure. Also, they rarely play with finesse and delicacy when needed. (A reflection of mental attitude).
  8. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003
    I disagree. The least bit of tension in the left hand( or right) can lead to problems so i would not say that "its not really critical".
  9. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003
    I was referring to the way the fingers actually go around the valve block ie. weather they go under the slides or over the slides or things of that matter. I agree it is also imprtant to play relaxed.
  10. MrLT

    MrLT Pianissimo User

    Jul 12, 2005
    Manchester UK
    Good practice. I started lessons with a monster pro 20 months ago - the first thing he got me to do was to rest my pinkie on top of the hook - it removes another source of bring pressure to bear onto the chops and also makes the instrument pivot down a little giving the top lip more space to vibrate. Go try.

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