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Left Hand Strength

Before I ramble, the main question here: What are some good exercises for building left hand strength specific to holding the Euphonium? I have the QHR hand strap, which does seem to offer some help.

So, I own a Willson 2950 and am only 30 years old. With that said, I've had on-off issues for quite some time. I had right hand issues 4 years ago around the time I was preparing for a recital, but I've discovered that was due to trying to support the horn with the wrong hand (specifically my thumb). I've always preferred to perform standing when possible, which negates the use of pillows/lap supports. I also seem to favor a more vertical bell position than angled off to one side. I'd been told by a visiting clinician if offers a more equal dispersion of sound, and I didn't suffer as much as other colleagues from the 'stuffy' sound of aiming their bells into posts and backstage. I notice most of the pain in the bicep and forearm, less in the wrist, but that may be due to the hand strap. Trombone does cause some fatigue too, but it is more in the hand and fingers.

I also play guitar, and have noticed strength issues playing barre chords and 'power' chords for extended lengths of time (a typical 3.5 minute long song). I'm by no means 'in shape' or practice regularly, but I notice it less on my classical guitar and other guitars with lighter strings. Pain is more in the wrist, right in the cluster of muscles on the underside.

Fast-forward to recent practice sessions. I know I'm getting back into playing shape after a few years of kinda-sorta-maybe-ish maintaining practices. At times, I find it difficult to make it through warm-ups and Etudes sitting without wanting to cross my legs for support. I know this isn't normal, people practice for hours at a time and I'm struggling to make it through 20-30 minutes without relief.

So, back to the question at hand. Are there any methods of strengthening the left hand to support the Euphonium? Am I just holding it wrong? Or is it possible that it might be time to seek out a doctor to discuss the possibility of carpal tunnel, etc?

This post first appeared on Euphonium-Tuba And General Music Forums - Recent B, please read the originial post: here

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Left Hand Strength


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