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 Left Thumb Problems
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-09-14 14:51

Encouraged by the response to "Hearing Problems", I'm asking for help as well. Being in an uncomfortable, advisory [not teaching] situation with a beginning cl'ist, who appears to have "double-jointed" thumbs [benign hypermobility, per Earl Thomas' fine ICA article, The Clarinet May-June 1993, pg18+], I recognise being "out of my depth" immediately and will greatly appreciate any and all advice. Many Thanx, Don

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 RE: Left Thumb Problems
Author: William Fuller 
Date:   1999-09-15 04:34

A friend of mine had "double jointed" thumbs and learned to play clarinet very well. Perhaps he could help you--his E-mail is

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 RE: Left Thumb Problems
Author: Jerry 
Date:   1999-09-15 14:56

My left thumb is double-jointed but I can hold it straight like my right. So I've never had a problem playing the clarinet. I actually have to "will" my thumb to pop it out. My brother is professional pianist and has two double-jointed thumbs. It's never bothered him. In fact I always thought it was an advantage for him--to be able to reach and play fourteen keys on the piano, when I can barely reach an octave (with my short, stubby fingers).

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 RE: Left Thumb Problems
Author: Karen 
Date:   1999-09-17 03:37

I have double jionted thumbs and i played flute & clarinet for a total of 4 years and now i play bass calrinet, it has never bothered me... it might take some getting used to though.

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 RE: Left Thumb Problems
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-09-17 16:57

Many tks, Karen, Jerry and William, your positive advice matches that from two of my comm. band cl'ists-good friends, great teachers, [their skills are beyond mine!] in that "carry on, TRY to do as the books say, but just enjoy playing any way you can" is a reasonable advice-summary. I feel much more confident now in helping an eager student, and will be cautious in asking her to try to adapt to a near-horizontal left thumb position. I had her explore the [45 degree?]thumb position needed on my Selmer alto cl with some success. Will post on results occasionally. Again, thank you-all. Don

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