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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001086.txt from 1998/03

From: "L. BORCHERT" <lborcher@-----.Edu>
Subj: Re: NeckStraps and Related Readings
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 17:27:47 -0500

I would certainly echo Dee's comments regarding the use of
neckstraps. Also, I would encourage anyone who is interested to read a
few related articles:

Amadio, Peter. "Evaluation and Treatment of Hand and Wrist Disorders in
Musicians." _Hand Clinic_ Vol.6, No. 3, August 1990.

Bird, Howard. "Overuse Injuries in Musicians." BMJ, Vol. 298, April 29,

Brandfonbrener, Alice G. "The Epidemiology and Prevention of Hand and
Wrist Injuries in Performing Artists." _Hand Clinics_, Vol. 6, No. 3,

Fry, Hunter. "Overuse Syndromes in Instrumental Musicians." _Seminars
in Neurology_. Vol 9, No. 2, 1989.

Fry, Hunter. "Prevalence of Overuse (Injury) Syndrome in Australian
Music Schools." _British Journal of Industrial Medicine_. 44:35-40, 1987.

Hochberg, Fred et al. "Hand Difficulties Among Musicians." JAMA, April
1989, Vol. 249 No. 14.

_N.B._ This is just a brief overview of the material and not meant to be a
complete bibliography. I am sure there is much more current research into
these areas, but the copies of these and other articles I researched
earlier are still pertinent.


Dr. Laroy Borchert (D.Mus. not M.D.)
Professor of Clarinet
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003

On Sun, 15 Mar 1998, Dee Hays wrote:
> I can't believe all the brouhaha about neck straps. Nobody is trying to
> MAKE anyone use it. It is merely a tool available to address a need.
> Here's my take on it.

> 1. A neck strap can improve hand position. Since you no longer have to
> support all the weight on the thumb, you are more free to position the
> hand for correct playing. 2. A neck strap can improve embouchure. The
> student is less likely to bite or pinch on the reed or mouthpiece trying
> to "steady" the horn. 3. The thumb was never designed or intended to
> support the weight of ANYTHING. As an engineer, I would never design
> any load carrying structure to be like the thumb. It is extremely weak.
> It's reason for existence is to allow us to manipulate objects not carry
> weights. 4. The neck and shoulders are much better designed for
> carrying loads. 5. If it comes to a choice between neckstrap or quit,
> there is no choice. 8. It is merely tradition that clarinettists don't
> use a neck strap. The instrument is light enough that many people don't
> have to use one and it is a nuisance if you don't need it. 7. I have
> even seen an occasional oboist using a strap (and an oboe is really
> light). See comment about thumb structure above.

> The following paragraphs are NOT directed at the majority of this list,
> as most of the members are rational people with legitimate points of
> view, pro and con, about the use of a neckstrap.
> WARNING: emotional blast follows.
> Normally I don't get emotional about things (my husband even complains that I am
> too calm and logical) BUT when one person said that using a neck strap made a
> person a "wuss", I went ballistic. A comment like that shows a great deal of
> immaturity and macho egotism (regardless of sex). We are here to make music.
> If that means some one needs to use a neckstrap, they should be able to do so
> without being putdown. If someone wants to be a body builder, well, they can
> just sign up for Gold's Gym rather than take music lessons.
> Dee Hays

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