Disabled child needs instrument

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Teenibeen, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. Teenibeen

    Teenibeen Member

    I have a disabled girl desperate to learn a brass instrument. She has very little feeling down her right side so cant hold an instrument up or wiggle her right fingers for long.
    Does anyone have any ideas of what we she could play or where we can get an instrument specially made for her ?
  2. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Sort of going to merge two things together here, but stick with it....

    Firstly, I've seen some cornet players who play left handed, so if there's no problem wiggling her left hand fingers that's a possibility. Secondly, for instrument support, I remember seeing something (possibly on the Rath website) about a guy who'd lost an arm or something having a support attached so he could play trombone with one hand. So maybe cornet with a support?
  3. asteria

    asteria Member

    Hiya Katrina!

    Much as I hate to say it, what about the french horn?
    *ducks to avoid people throwing things*

    Seriously though, it might be a bit more practical to hold and the valves are played with the left hand. I'm not sure what the weight balance is like but you wouldn't have to support it as high as a cornet or trombone. Could be a bit tricky transposition wise for band parts and it depends if you mind having a french horn sat amongst the tenor horns (or indeed if they mind sitting with a french horn!). Just a thought, good luck with it! :D
  4. EflatTenor

    EflatTenor New Member

    But a french horn-player has to put his right hand in the bell....
  5. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Not necessarily, you can get a stop mute which does the same thing as the hand stopping... just mean your have to use the valves all the time and can't do hand-stopped scales (which is pretty advanced french horn playing anyway...)
  6. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Hope he doesn't mind me mentioning it but tmp'er Dave Jaybee was the teacher who lost an arm in the coach crash in France a few years back. Dave still plays trombone with the Johnstone Band, and he must be quite good at it too cos they won the 1st section this year. Anyway, Dave manages to play with a specially adapted harness which basically holds the trombone allowing his other arm to work the slide. I wonder if such a harness could be adapted for your needs. Good luck to you; it's great to see bands encouraging all those who wish to learn to play.
  7. Teenibeen

    Teenibeen Member

    We currently have 45 members in our youth band and have more kids wanting to learn but we dont get any support from the education system here so hence the reason we are doing this for this girl rather than the school system helping her. Im sure there must be a solution and the harness idea sounds great. She has been learning on a cornet at the moment but can only hold it up for about 5 bars and then has to put it down but she is really kean. I think we would be able to get a grant to help her aswell so cost isnt an issue either. do you know the tmp name of Dave and I can pm him ?
    Thanks for your help
  8. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    click on this link to go to his profile.
  9. RacMac

    RacMac New Member

    Kind of linked to what Lynchie was saying, and I don't know if this helps, but I saw someone on TV a couple of years ago playing a cornet which was specially made/adapted for left handed playing (i.e. the valves etc were to the other side of the bell).
  10. Incognito

    Incognito Member

    Bix Beiderbeck played the cornet left handed.
    James Burke, US trumpet soloist had one arm and played normal trumpet.

    I think its a case of where there is a will there is a way.
    Especially with modern technology.

    The Schilke company have made special trumpets with attachments for clipping them via a ball joint onto an artificial arm.
    I have been looking for the photos but I can't find them on the web.

    Here is a one handed saxophone:

    Maybe its best to find an instrument and then look for a technical solution?
    A larger instrument like a baritone may be easier as the weight can rest on her lap.
  11. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    sorry, not really very useful but a baritone shouldn't rest on the lap unless the player is extremely short... even then, it's bad training for when they get bigger.
  12. Incognito

    Incognito Member

    I was assuming the child is small....

    I used to know a euphonium player with back trouble who always used a marching strap when playing to help support the instrument.
  13. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    How about using a chair with arms, then putting a piece of wood across the arms and then building on that until the level of support needed by the instrument is needed?

    This would require some help assembling and disassembling, but might avoid the need for an adapted instrument, and there may be an issue of whether the support might dampen the sound from a cornet, but it might work.
  14. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Until fairly recently we had a horn player with MS, meaning he couldn't support the weight of his instrument for long periods of time. Being a practical bloke he rigged up a support that clipped around the bottom section of the horn bell, with a sort of cushioned leg rest attached via a little ball joint.

    When playing he would sit the leg rest across his lap, the ball joint meant that he could play in a comfortable position and after rehearsal the whole thing unscrewed so he could carry his horn about in a normal case. It took just seconds longer to set up than if playing without and it meant he could play for the duration of rehearsals / concerts with no problem at all. Simple and clever.

    I would've thought you could rig something similar for any upward facing instrument up to Euph size.
  15. Dawnys_flug

    Dawnys_flug Member

    Hi, take a look at this http://www.shulmansystem.com/index.php?page=invention
    I was looking at these when my RSI was really bad and i was finding it hard to support my flugel. They're about £200 i think but if money is not an issue then maybe this could help her :)
    Dawn x x