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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000797.txt from 1999/04

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] speaking of diaphragms
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 18:17:32 -0400

On Sat, 17 Apr 1999 08:28:51 -0700, said:

> I posted a few days ago asking for experience or knowledge on when you
> can start playing after major abdominal (abominable?) surgery. Now my
> surgeon says it will take 4-6 weeks of rest, and no clarinet-playing
> for six weeks. This seems excessive to me; I suspect he isn't a wind
> player. After all, he didn't say anything about not SINGING for six
> weeks, and controlled singing seems to me (admittedly a completely
> untrained singer) to be very, very similar to playing a woodwind as
> far as muscular tensioning. Some of you on the list might be familiar
> with the physiology of the solar plexus during clarinet playing -
> Diane Karius, Steve Goldman, Robert Howe - do you have any arguments
> either way on this?

Well, I'm not any of those people, nor am I a physician, but I do have a
sort of an answer: pretty clearly the forces involved depend rather
crucially on how you personally play the clarinet. So your surgeon
needs more information.

If you use a setup that has almost no resistance, and you play very
quietly, and you use none of the support techniques I was just
describing, then you can reduce the tension involved to pretty much as
low a value as you want.

Of course, that value might not produce the musical results that you and
other people want.

The truth is, you know something about your own playing situation that
no doctor, even a wind player, can. So, could you play to him before
your surgery, to give him some idea?

> We have a major concert six weeks and two days after my surgery is to
> take place, and I'd rather not have to temporarily switch to
> percussion. The action during playing seems to me to be basically
> isotonic - I just don't see how playing the clarinet would be all that
> much of a strain on abdominal muscles (or forming scar tissue, I
> guess) after, say two weeks of abstension.

A couple of musicians I know have found that specialists in the sports
injury field have a better understanding of the issues confronting a
player with an important engagement to honour. Judgement of when
sportsmen or women can safely begin to play again requires great
expertise, and sports physicians have to exercise very fine judgement.
I suppose it's unlikely that abdominal surgery is a part of anyone's
sports background. But who knows? It might be another avenue to

How important is the concert? Again, only you can decide.

I once had a severe injury to my eye, with internal haemorrhage --
never, ever, try to fix a bass clarinet on the back of a motorcycle
using those elastic spiders, stretching *forwards* to latch the hook on
-- and had to decide whether to play the Weber clarinet quintet with the
Vermeer quartet a week later. (I pulled out of the concerts that
involved the bass clarinet.)

The doctor said there was some risk, because of the pressure involved,
but it was up to me. He accepted my offer of two tickets for the
concert, in case I got into trouble, and I discharged myself from
hospital on the day, played the concert in an eye-patch, and returned
later in the evening, to be examined and tucked up by him before he
disappeared with his wife and a bottle of champagne to the guest rooms.

Everything was OK, but I suppose I was lucky.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN family artist:
tel/fax 01865 553339

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