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Flute thumb rests


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#1 Clovis

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 13:44

I’m having trouble with my right thumb due to to practising my flute for an exam.

Does anyone use thumb rests, and do they work? Would welcome any recommendations or advice.
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#2 zwhe

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 16:40

I use a thumb rest - it helps as I have really small hands. I'm not sure it would make much difference for larger hands though. Its important to hold it without any tension - is your thumb slightly bent as it can cause strain if it is straight.


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#3 vron

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 16:59

I use a Thumbport 2 and like it . I find it helpful for keeping the flute steady when playing certain notes eg c sharp.

However I don't have a thumb problem per se so can't say if it would help in your case. May be worth trying tough.
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#4 dorfmouse

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 17:11

I'm sure I've praised the Thumbport before. And it's not just for beginners. I've not used it for a while but became aware that my right thumb was beginning to slide again, putting the hand into an unstable position. Had a lesson with a rather demanding professor chap the other day as my teacher is unavailable for a few weeks and I'm preparing for G7. He was beginning to hunt around for sticking plaster to put on the flute when I showed it to him. Use it! was the command!
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#5 Yet another muso

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 00:34

Every player is different on this one - the variable factors  being size of hands, shape and proportions within the hands, and flexibility in the joints. Some players will easily find a good optimum position for holding the flute without the assistance of a thumb port, and it is certainly something I have never felt the need to consider myself, but clearly they are a great help to some people. It has nothing to do with the level of the player (some pros use thumb ports) but everything to do with the individuality of our hands. So I would suggest if you are having difficulty settling with a good thumb position you should give it a try. Ideally go to a shop where you could try it out in the shop first. 


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#6 Clovis

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 17:59

Thank you everyone. I’ll try relaxing my thumb and bending it slightly - I think that’s the main issue.

If that doesn’t work then I’ll explore the thumbport.
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#7 adultpianist

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 18:48

I have never heard of a flute thumb rest until now.  I am taking flute lessons and my teacher has never mentioned thumb rests to me and I have never seen any professional flute player use one.  I have small hands because I have issues on the piano reaching an octave.   I go back to flute lessons this week after half term so will ask about them but I think if my teacher thought I needed one she would have mentioned it to me.  

 

I have not been able to practice my flute for at least three weeks due to going on holiday and so picked up my flute today to practice and my tone was the best it has ever been.   I am not sure whether it was just luck or the fact that I have had a break and gone back to it.

 

Do people improve if they take a break?   (I do not mean a long break I mean no more than a week or two)


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#8 helen_flute

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 19:07

There's a professional flautist/teacher on YouTube who has a video all about how she's customised her flute to work for her small hands, and I think she has a thumb port, amongst other adjustments. She definitely has a piece of cork added to one of the keys to help one of her fingers reach it properly.

 


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#9 dorfmouse

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 18:23

As Yetanothermuso says.
There is no one size fits all with the flute, but they are pretty much made as if there were.
Since I last posted, I had to do some emergency new teacher hunting, and now am with one who is doing some root and branch stuff with my hand position, to decrease finger tension and lessen the angle between hand and forearm. He is a performing professional, of small build, not much bigger than petite me. (Interestingly, he studied a lot in the States where the attitude is much more find a new solution rather than the more European view that you should just practice harder - perhaps a generalisation but it would explain why some teachers dismiss aids without real experimentation. Or tell you that there is a one and only way to align the headjoint.)
He has some transparent plastic tubing from the diy store fitted to his beautiful flute, to help the left hand position and a C# Brannen riser.
He gave me a plastic C# riser which instantly helped. I've been experimenting again with pencil grips stuck on with double sided tape for the left hand index finger, (see Jen Cluff for method) and similarly for the right thumb I've stuck on a bit of shoe insole to "widen" the flute. He wants me to achieve balance in supporting the flute on a relaxed right thumb rather than by pushing against it in the way I was taught. Thus the thumbport in this case is not used, as this encourages pushing with a straight thumb. In order to achieve balance, the rods and keys are orientated to the ceiling, which means adjusting the headjoint position quite radically. I've got bits of pink stickers on the headjoint to mark various alignments I've tried.
I intend to treat myself to the Bopep finger and thumb supports, which I hope will be slighly less conspicuous than my multicoloured d i y efforts!
That's probably all mud-clear but definitely for me, widening the flute's tube seems to be helping a lot to lessen tension and allow faster fingers.
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