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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:01 pm 
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Okay, so my M&E keyed flute from EBay arrived today, and I’ve been playing around some. I’ve played Boehm flute for decades, and never had hand pain issues like I seem to have developed after not playing long at all on the M&E.

The flute is significantly heavier than I’m used to. I’ve taken the end cap out which helps some. I’m getting pain mostly in my left hand, which is carrying the weight of the flute. My left hand automatically goes to that “shelf” shape with the joint between index finger and palm on the underside of the flute. I’m also working pretty hard to cover the holes on the bottom with my right hand.

My hands are small (Size 6-6.5 surgical gloves). Anyone have ergonomic tips for the small handed flute player?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:42 pm 
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Your left hand shouldn't feel like it's carrying all the weight of the flute. This video link is the flute hold I use, from C&F member "Jem the Flute" with one exception*:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lssGAtVBS_8

*The exception is that on my 8-key flute I roll the C foot out and lightly "plant" my pinky against the flute because I seldom need the Eb key, it doesn't improve the venting in any meaningful way on this flute, and I never use the C and C# keys for Irish music. If your flute doesn't have Eb, C, and C# keys you can ignore this.

I also use a "semi piper's grip" for the low hand, with my fingers more extended and touching the tone holes a little more flat and behind the fingertips, which helps in covering the holes and just feels more natural to me (your mileage may vary). My upper hand fingers are more arched, more of a traditional flute hold I guess, with tone hole contact on the finger pad tips.

I'm certainly no expert so take this with a grain of salt. We all have to work out our personal flute holds, but I think that video is a good start. FWIW, it took me a year to get completely comfortable with my flute hold when I started, but that was basically from scratch without previous experience except for a brief dalliance with a Boehm flute many years ago that didn't stick.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:49 pm 
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Thanks, CB. I’ll check that video out.

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:19 am 
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And check this out, GinGin

http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=103962&hilit=three+point+hold

It's perhaps more radical (particularly in the degree of offset of the head) than many would advocate, but it works for me! Indeed, nothing else does.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:47 am 
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As a beginner on keyless wooden flute 18 months ago I experienced discomfort in the tendons on the back of my right hand after just a few minutes of playing.

As an experienced banjo player and teacher I'm aware that even when a process is new and unfamiliar it shouldn't involve the student in pain. So instead of just 'working through it' and expecting the discomfort to disappear with practice, with my flute teacher we spent time looking at why I was having that problem.

It took quite a bit of trial and error over several weeks. I have small hands too and play a Lehart flute with no compensating reduced spacing, but she found that was not where the cause lay. The problem was resolved by a really quite subtle shift of my grip, particularly in relation to paying attention to and balancing out all the right and left hand supporting pressure points on the flute and particularly adjusting the position of my right thumb. The eventual grip shift was subtle but the effect was dramatic; my discomfort immediately disappeared and over a year later has not returned.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:26 am 
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It is also possible to have a flute that is too heavy for hands/wrists. But this is too soon to know.
I've several times had initial pain that went away as I got more used to the instrument. Another option is to continue to use the hold you used for decades on your Boehm flute, supposing that's the standard classical grip. You've got that down. A fair number of people can't use Rockstro and other variants. I've tried Rockstro seriously several times and couldn't use it. Got injured, in fact. This is not a criticism of Rockstro, just that it isn't for every one. Also this may not be the right time to start with a new grip, something that will probably take a good while to get used to. New flute, new hold, a bit much. If it were me I would use the hold I know, do some stretching, and give it more time. When things start hurting more than just a little, I stop. FWIW


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:13 am 
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GinGin wrote:
Okay, so my M&E keyed flute from EBay arrived today, and I’ve been playing around some. I’ve played Boehm flute for decades, and never had hand pain issues like I seem to have developed after not playing long at all on the M&E.


i had the same problem. my impression is that the keys on the M&E, especially the B-flat, G# and long F, are placed for someone with very large hands; i can't use them without having to put my hand in a position that quickly leads to hand pain (and i don't think i have especially small hands because i have no issues with the spacing of the normal tone holes). for me, the problem is that the G# and long F touches are so far down from the L3 hole that i have to shift my left hand down the flute to the point that covering L1 required too much stretch.

my solution was to order a flute from another maker with the keys in a more comfortable position - the G# and long F touches under the L3 hole (as on the Boehm flute) instead of below it, and the B-flat touch further up.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:51 pm 
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Terry McGee wrote:
And check this out, GinGin

http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=103962&hilit=three+point+hold

It's perhaps more radical (particularly in the degree of offset of the head) than many would advocate, but it works for me! Indeed, nothing else does.


Hey, Terry, this is awesome. Thank you! :thumbsup:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:52 pm 
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Thanks, y’all! Very helpful lot you are. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:36 pm 
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As a new flute player with no previous flute experience, I had hand soreness in various places that lessened slowly over time. I don't think the flute felt all that heavy, rather that I was gripping too hard. Most issues came because I had less-than-ideal positioning. The final two aches were because the left wrist was cocked and pressing into the joint(improved by dropping the elbow), and the L1 (shelf) joint, which still bothers me a bit if I play several hours. A little flattening of the wood on the flute in this area would seem to be an appropriate flute improvement.

When I started I just held on and tried to make things work, but today I would suggest to my newbie self to get some lessons or advice.

When I got a keyed flute after 1 1/2 years on keyless, I realized that my initial habits needed to change, which wasn't easy. And later, when I wanted to use the Bb key, learning the three point hold was necessary and useful. At first it felt very unstable, as I was quite dependent on the grip of the right and left thumbs. The moral of my story is that I would have been better off learning properly to begin with.

I just reread Terry's three point hold post, and it turns out to be similar in almost all details to how I have evolved to hold my flute. I say evolved, because I did not strictly follow his instructions from day one, rather it is how I've ended up.

The significant improvements from my beginning hold include:
- Tips of L1 & L2, pads of L3, R1, R2 & R3
- Right Hand thumb used to be underneath the flute (180 degrees), now it is 1/3 or 120 degrees, pressing outward more than up.
- Right pinky on Eb key, which for me is rotated maybe 75-80 degrees, which is the necessary location if I wish to play C# and C without accidentally venting R3, as I have smallish hands.
- Minimal or no use of my left thumb. It's no longer necessary, but that was the hardest thing to change. Lots of practice alternating F-nat & Bb.

Edit: Regarding rolling in or out the RH joint. Mine is rolled slightly in, because that puts the position of the long-F key where I want it.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:20 am 
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Thanks, tstermitz!


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