[Menvi-discuss] Weak Knuckles

cdrobles693 at gmail.com cdrobles693 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 17 23:27:24 EDT 2019

I have been recently following this piano techniques thread if you will and I do agree with you guys a garden practice time and effort in the basic techniques that help you be prolific however I’m also a trumpet player and have Bell’s palsy it’s a facial paralysis I’ve had it since I was 12 years old due to a chickenpox live vaccination shot otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go to middle school and it left my embouchure in an off-centered position so I have had to overcompensate for it and adopt and adapt something that works for me. Different strokes for different folks, but what really presses my buttons is when a brasswind player picks me apart especially after the fact I preface with the fact I have Bell's Palsy which is not treatable would love it to be though and I would so much like to have that perfect true embouchure like my friend and mentor and maestro Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and especially would love to play those really off-staff notes like him someday if only someone could create a modified mouthpiece or a different mouthpiece for people in my situation.

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> On Apr 17, 2019, at 8:06 PM, Karen Gearreald via Menvi-discuss <menvi-discuss at menvi.org> wrote:
> Actually, people can learn to play the piano remarkably well with weak
> knuckles, as my favorite piano teacher did during his very young years.
> Eventually, though, he had to take time out to reform his technique under
> the instruction of a capable and persistent teacher.  He has gone on to
> become a fabulous pianist and vocal coach, able to play beautifully and
> comfortably for many hours a day.  
> If we become aware of a major technical problem, whether as singers or
> instrumentalists, we need to solve it, even if the solution requires us to
> stop performing for a while.  Many singers have to do this sort of thing, as
> the great mezzosoprano Marilyn Horne observed.  "Take two years to get your
> technique right," she counseled, "and the world will be your oyster."  I had
> to do that sort of thing when, on the advice of the best coaches, I was
> changing from a mezzosoprano to a high soprano.  This was the right change
> for me, but I couldn't accomplish it in a choir where various demands were
> distracting me.  So I prayerfully dropped out of the choir for a couple of
> years.  I still have all those low notes, but I don't rely on them heavily
> and tensely as I did in my mezzo days.  Oh yes, as I approach age
> seventy-five I still have the high C, too.  
> After seeking and considering the best counsel we can find, we have to be
> brave about making our decisions.  The important thing is to make the
> necessary changes while we are not under the pressure of performing.  
> At least that is my experience.  
> Best wishes to everyone who is diligently working to explore and develop
> God-given talents.  Each of us needs to find the right way according to the
> capacities that have been given to us, physically and mentally and
> spiritually.  These answers don't come overnight, but they do come.  As one
> long-lived singer observed, vocal study should be continued "until the voice
> is unlocked."  The same idea can apply to instrumentalists, I'm sure.  If
> the potential is there, a good teacher will encourage development; if the
> potential is not there, a good and wise teacher will direct us to find
> another instrument or endeavor that will satisfy.
>                        Karen Gearreald
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