Left handed Brass players??

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by _si, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. _si

    _si Member

    I am actually posing a serious question, this isnt a wind up.
    I have been getting frustrated recently with my playing, and one aspect in particular.
    In very fast pieces/ solos during my practice (Carnival of Venice for example) i am struggling synching my fingers and lips. Up to a certain speed my fingers keep pace with what my mouth is doing, but when i up the speed to my limits, my fingers cant keep up! im constantly fluffing notes because the valve isnt fully depressed when i tongue the note. My Question is, being left handed am i at a disadvantage having to use my 'bad' hand for the valves? after maybe twenty minutes of playing fast stuff i have to stop because my tendons ache so bad in my right hand.
    Do other left handed players have a similar problem, or is it just me? If you have tried writing a sentence with your left hand (if you are right handed) then you will know how different it feels to use your wrong hand to do stuff, I cant help feeling i would be better at coordinating a really fast piece if i was right handed?
  2. Di B

    Di B Member

    I am left handed and don't feel as if I have the same problem. It was an issue when I was first learning, and now if I need to I can play left handed(!)
    Do you hold your fork in your left hand when eating? Is it easer or harder to put it in your right hand? I hold in left and can't hold in right, just like a rightie not a leftie! The point here is it is what you become used to as the norm that will usually be the best thing to do.

    If you are struggling with pushing valves down and hand pain maybe your springs are too tight for your style of playing? Have had this problem in the past!
  3. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I know of at least four proficient (as a minimum) players who play their instruments back to front. 2 cornet players (a brother and sister), one tenor horn player playing with the back of her left hand towards the conductor (she was sitting opposite), and a left handed trombone player. Bizarrely, every single of them played at Fulham at various times.

    And no, 'left handed trombone playing' is not intended to be synonymous with anything else...
  4. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I'm left-handed myself and while I wouldn't say I was any sort of virtuoso (quite the opposite in fact!) I can't say I have the same problem. Over the years I have learnt to do most things to some level right-handed - I can write fairly well using my right hand, I eat right handed, play racquet sports right handed etc.

    I don't believe this is unique to me - most left-handed people I know can do stuff with both hands, and in fact this is a well-documented trait us 'lefties' have (simply because we have to - try using a pair of scissors left-handed for instance). So I'd say don't over-think the problem, I'm sure there are plenty of right-handed players who find the same problem. Sadly there is no easy fix - just lots of practice.
  5. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I did see a left handed cornet Boosey & Hawkes Imperial in the late 70's. We replaced our principle cornet players instrument with this when he wasn't looking. Quite funny to see he couldn't hold it when we came to play. That said, Have you looked to see if you can find a Left handed cornet to try. see if it makes things easier for you. Not sure if these are readily available or if it was custom made.
  6. Par10

    Par10 Member

  7. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I'm no virtuoso either but can play at a reasonable standard. Being left-handed has not hampered me at all - apart from the occasional dropped mute!

    I conduct left-handed though - very sinister! ;)
  8. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Well, French Horn players can't all be left handed.

    Although that would explain why they play them though. Weirdos. ;)
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Do you really? I shall have to watch some time...

    Pianists have to train their two hands to perform with equal dexterity - what you find is that eventually the weaker hand catches up with the stronger.
  10. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Well, there's a first time for everything ;)
  11. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    A few footballers (Gabriel Batistuta being one of them) have been of the opinion that if you work on your "weaker" foot consistently it actually gets better than your stronger foot.

    When I was at yorkshire co-op we had two southpaw tenor horn players, who both played their valves right-handed. And neither were short of technical ability - two of the best in the band in fact.

    If anything, it put both players at an advantage when having to tremelo using their opposite hand as compared with a right-handed player.
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I suppose an extra challenge makes you think about what you're doing to a depth that you wouldn't otherwise explore. I know that one of the best things that ever happened to my embouchure was a bout of TMJ trouble when I was 17.
  13. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    That was pretty well what Batistuta said if I recall correctly. Because he had to focus harder on what he was doing consciously, he could fine-tune his actions better than his more instinctive actions.

    Didn't Bob Childs re-learn a contest piece left-handed once after an injury to his right hand? Not sure where I heard that story so it might be apocryphal.
  14. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I could believe it - and could also believe that he did it just to see what it was like! I've certainly heard that he takes an extreme amount of interest in preparing as well as possible - for example, the anecdote he told us at NYBB years ago about preparing for performing in a hot hall by practising his solo wrapped up in winter clothing in front of a roaring fire in the summer!
  15. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    Every woodwind instrument, Keyboard and Stringed instrument requires significant use of the left hand, in the case of strings mainly as the "active" hand doing all the fingering, and the population is predominantly right handed, from beginners to the most spectacular players, and they seem to "get by!"

    It's all about doing what I didn't (and still don't) do NEARLY enough of.... effective & constructive practice and getting those neurons & synapses in the brain firing on automatic so the right combination goes down every time! ;-)
  16. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    But does your third beat of four appear in front of or clear of your body? Don't mind left handed conductors but don't like backwards left handed conductors. You know who you are... :biggrin:
  17. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    Funny that this has come up, I was going to start a similar thread my self!

    Just before Christmas, I had a call from someone wanting to buy her boyfriend a couple of lessons as a gift. He (eventually) got back to me a couple of weeks ago and when I arrived he told me that he was left handed, which I told him shouldn't be a problem. The main reason he is left handed, is because of a neurological condition that he has, meaning he has no dexterity in his right hand, which also shakes uncontrollably. I've suggested he gets the finger hook moved onto the other side of the instrument, just for a bit of extra support in holding it.

    He's had his first 2 'gift' lessons and is carrying on. First time I've had to teach someone to play Trumpet left-handed!
  18. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I do a mirror image of what it says in the Gordon Jacob book. Yes, I hate conductors who conduct backwards, you never know where the 2nd and 3rd beats are!
  19. Par10

    Par10 Member

  20. GordonH

    GordonH Active Member

    I play the french horn and thats played with the left hand.

    One interesting point is that the left side of the brain is supposed to work the right hand side of the body. I find if I have problems with a tricky technical passage I can play it more easily with my left hand. It might be related to that.