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 Post subject: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 8:12 am 
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My post is in response to having found and watched Jem's interesting video demonstrating the Rockstro grip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GruFY6U ... e=youtu.be

My question is in regard to preferred thumb position on the keyless flute that I now play. I have naturally begun to note with the inside pads of my R/hand (piper's grip?). I like the idea of relaxed stability and avoiding any tendency for the 'death grip'. But given the outward pressure from the right thumb required for the Rockstro grip, with the fingers further across the body of the flute, that seems to rule out any way of applying outward pressure without tension in the thumb.

Are there any good resources that demonstrate support and the ideal relaxed thumb position for a keyless played in the way I describe?


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 11:32 am 
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I can't seem to use Rockstro. These things seem to be very individual, so,
that said, I will say that I put my rt thumb under the flute, more or less, and use
the rt pinky to brace the flute (except when playing low D). This is relaxed and works
fine, for me. I think it's widespread, especially among Boehm flute players, and worth a try.
Grey Larsen gives detailed instructions in his opus on the flute.


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 3:24 pm 
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A tip that really helps me , not a flute player, but it could be of value is to use the side of the thumb as Jen does in his video clip above. Not the pad , that can end up hyperextended but more to the side, with a straight to slightly curved grip, exactly as he demonstrates with the left thumb on the keys. YMMV

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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 1:38 am 
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Mendipman, Have you seen Steph Germia's flute lesson here regarding her take on embouchure and holding the flute? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goCd1mEWsWs


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 10:05 am 
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That video of Jem's, and a thread from Terry, set me on the road to fixing a lot of issues with my hold. I put up a thread on that a while ago. Anyway, I had a bad case of the grip of death, but now I am pretty comfortable with the left thumb off the flute at all times, and my right hand I have all four fingers available for playing, as I am anchoring with just the thumb. So I guess it's Rockstro. I have a keyed flute so I'd like to be able to use them if i want to. I tried some other variations too, like the way Harry Bradley uses his left thumb almost like a shelf, it seems to me. I tried the stuff in Grey Larsen's book... didn't work for me at all. I tried the hold recommendations in Conal O'Grada's book.... didn't work for me. Anyway, the hold is working better, now it's sorting out my embouchure which had to change a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:16 am 
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HBradley's rt hand position in this video, especially toward the
beginning, when one can see it, is instructive, IMO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2wPxD-ukCg

Here's JGalway and Matt Molloy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1SPfXOGXEQ


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:50 am 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mumkJUoAyZI


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 1:06 pm 
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[quote="jim stone"]HBradley's rt hand position in this video, especially toward the
beginning, when one can see it, is instructive, IMO.

Right hand or left hand? To me it's the left/top thumb that's interesting.... instead of gripping the flute, it's resting on a shelf. When you try it, you end up with the finger tips coming more straight down on the tone holes, again like Harry, rather than the flats of the pads.

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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 2:36 pm 
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The Bradley video gives a good view of his right hand/thumb and is really helpful. His right thumb position is also different to mine and I may give that a try too.

Thank you for the great support on this forum. Now to practice and adjust my thumb positions...


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 8:10 pm 
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Just on a point of historical accuracy, I do wish we could get away from the use of the expression "Rockstro Grip" in favour of something less directed and more accurate, e.g. "19th century flute hold". Certainly Rockstro used that approach to holding the flute and promoted it in his book, but he was among the last to use it, and certainly not the first. He simply carried it over from his early days playing the 8-key. It's not so important with the Boehm flute, as the keys bring the fingers together and make precision in covering less important, even if you have an open-holed model.

Rockstro gives Tromlitz, writing 100 years earlier, as the earliest authority advocating it. So we would be more accurate calling it the Tromlitz hold. Or more usefully perhaps the "three-point hold"?

Rockstro certainly fought a strong rear-guard action. I've assembled his relevant discussions at:

http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Rocksto_on_ ... flute.html


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 5:55 am 
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I have no stake at all in the name of the grip Jem's video demonstrates. Makes no difference to me what it's called.

Actually I think in the video it's referred to as a 'hanging thumb' grip or some such?


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 5:37 pm 
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We're kinda stuck with the "Rockstro" label, like it or not, history or not. I agree with Terry it's not the best label and I'd go for "3-point support" myself, but the "Rockstro" term is widely recognised. I disagree with Terry that Rockstro was the last to use or advocate it or that calling it "Nineteenth Century" would be accurate. It's alive and well in mainstream Böhm circles, though by no means dominantly so or without controversy.

My "Dangling Left Thumb" video (linked by Mendipman above) is an *exercise suggestion*, dependent (ooops!) on using the 3-point support method, yes, but not a support method in itself. I don’t advocate doing it full time. I've another video which is a short, quick exposition of the hold/support method itself. https://youtu.be/lssGAtVBS_8
Sometime I hope to make a longer, more detailed one. I'm delighted folk are finding them useful.

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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 11:04 pm 
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Yes, these videos are most helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 3:20 am 
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Saw a guy playing in a session in Ennis last night with his left thumb completely free and was playing at quite a lick as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Thumb position
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 7:16 am 
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Normski wrote:
Saw a guy playing in a session in Ennis last night with his left thumb completely free and was playing at quite a lick as well.


Took a while but I'm comfortable now with my left thumb free.... I play for a teeny bit with my thumb on the flute till I'm sure I'm lined up, then it drops off, available for the key if I want it. If I leave it on the flute, I'm back to cramping very shortly.

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