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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000436.txt from 2001/04

From: "Aimee E. Kratofil" <>
Subj: [kl] Re: Right Hand Thumb Position
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 08:36:30 -0400

Will Cicola wrote:

> Solution? A
> neck strap works from what I know, but it does seem like it would hinder
> your playing. I got a Kooiman thumb rest from the Woodwind and brasswind and
> have been playing pain-free ever since. It's a bit pricey ($150, I believe)
> and needs a repairman to install the plate it attaches to, but once you get
> used to it (only takes a couple days), it feels great! I don't think it's an
> understatement to say this saved my clarinet career.

Kooiman now also has a $19.95 version, called Etude. Less
moving parts. I now have two students (each with this thumb
problem) with new thumbrests. One bought the $100 version
and recently the second one bought the Etude. The $100
version has more places to adjust, but more potential damage
to be done by a young clarinetist. I had to have a new box
made, because she beat up the one they sent. The Etude is
simpler. It has a thumb rest plate (plastic, not metal) and
a wing on the side that allows more of your thumb to get
involved. The height of the thumbrest and the wing is
adjustable (independently).

My concern with these students with the weak joints is they
tend to hook their RH index finger under the trill keys to
help hold up the clarinet. I'm sure you can see the hand
and fingering draw-backs to this. Not to mention the
bending of the trill keys.

I once asked my chiropractor about "double-jointedness." He
explained that the tendons/ligaments and such around that
joint are stretched and allowing the joint to bend more than
some other peoples. (no true "double joint") He suggested
that strengthening the joint and the surrounding
muscles/tissues could help. He also pointed out that if one
continues to show everybody how that joint will bend (or use
the joint in the extreme position), the problem will remain,
if not worsen. I have tried to get some of these kids to
use a stress ball to strengthen their thumbs, but none of
them has stuck with the exercises. I've no results to
report from that experiment!

Personally, I've found a neckstrap allows me to play better,
as my hands are not used up holding up the clarinet so
much. (I don't have the thumb problem.)

Aimee Kratofil
Greensburg, PA
Ask me about WoodWind Week!

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