20. January 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

Jennifer Grucza wrote here (in the discussion section, but I’m posting it here for all to read):

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. You were talking about holding up the oboe, and it reminded me of an oboist I saw once who had this stand attached to her oboe. It rested on her chair between her legs, so she didn’t have to support the weight of the oboe at all. What do you think of using those? Is that a common thing in the oboe world?

Some oboists do have problems holding the oboe. It can get so bad that a doctor may take the player “off” the oboe for a time. Much of the weight, after all, is on our right thumb! I’m guessing that the stand you saw is called “FHRED”. (I haven’t a clue about that bizarre name!) You can see it here. The device, from what I’ve been told, takes all of the pressure off that thumb. If you look at the page above you’ll see other aids for those who suffer. Some oboists use a neck strap, and some oboes even have a ring above the thumb rest that is intended for this. I don’t let my oboe students use a neck strap—I think they do more harm than good. They often cause you to pull down on the strap, hurting the neck. So nix those babies!

Playing oboe is not a breeze, and having hands act up is a real distraction. Being told to stop playing entirely is especially distressing, as I’m sure you can imagine.

If an oboe is difficult to hold, English horn is worse. Again, some musicians will use a strap (Ugh! They are quite literally, as I wrote above, a pain in the neck.) Most English horn players now use a peg when they are sitting and plyaing, which you can see on the same page I’ve linked to above. I just hold the darn instruments. When I get extremely tired I just cross my ankles and rest the bell fo the horn between them. It works, and it can even help me play with great control.

At least thirteen years ago I injured my right hand by doing too much needlework; San Jose Symphony (RIP) was on a trip to Tahoe, and I did needlework for at least 4 hours straight while on the bus ride. Stupid me! I was in pain for a good amount of time, and after that I never could do needlework comfortably. I finally gave away all of my projects, as my music was more important than my hobby.

I again went through a scary time a few years back where my hands were acting up. It hurt to hold the oboe. It hurt to type. Heck, it hurt to pick up a plate and put it in the cupboard. I’m not sure how I injured my hands, but I took it easy (I never did use a peg) and they are better now. I do know, though, to check for warning signs. There are times when I have to step away from the computer because I suspect it’s the main culprit in harming my hands. Going between hot and cold treatments can really help the hands, and I do that if I feel anything coming on.

More than you wanted or needed to know, eh? But maybe this will help some of the reeders out there.
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