Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I'm new to this forum. I recently had to change instructors since mine was moving. I found a new one and his teaching methods were different. He advised me to practice every day 45-1 hour. I usually practice 2-3 times a week. The new instructor told me that was the only way I was going to really learn. I actually take his advice. So fast forward one week and I am having severe pain in my fingernails and then the fingers on my left hand have pain shooting through them constantly.

It can't be arthritis...I'm only 26 and this just started a week ago because of the constant playing. So I wonder if this is like exercise, that it hurts at first so you should keep on going....or, if this is something serious and I would worsen it by continuing the way I am going?

I know you guys are going to ask me to ask my instructor, but like I said, he's new to me, and I've been having problems with him (late, cancelled sessions, not answering messages). So a new instructor may be in order as well.

Please give me an idea. Thanks!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,026 Posts
Do you have long fingernails?
Are you keeping your fingers in contact with the pearls at all times (or trying to)?
You shouldn't be experiencing any finger pain. Check to see that the neck of the instrument is properly positioned - using your 2 thumbs hold the instrument - in playing position - in front of you. Is the mouthpiece pointing directly at your mouth?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
769 Posts
I have a feeling it must have something to do with improper hand position. I play a minimum of 3 hours a day, and very rarely have hand pain. It's my lips and gums that start hurting like heck after a while (but there's more like a 6+ hour day, which I've been having more and more of lately).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
And keep your shoulders low! When you lift your shoulders the muscles in your neck towards your arm will shorten. that causes a bad bloodstream to your hands. But,yes, you have to ask your teacher wat is wrong with the way you hold you sax and your body. If he does not want to give you advice on that or says things like: you have to find out yourself, or what suits you best, take my advice: Find another teacher.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Welcome to playing every day. You should love it but it shouldn't hurt. Do you play with curved, natural fingers like any piano teacher would have you play? You should. Do your joints nearest to your fingertips collapse when you have a key depressed? They shouldn't. Do you squeeze the keys harder than needed to close them on the tone holes? You shouldn't. Has your instrument been serviced by a good technician with a light touch in the last six months? Leaks can cause you to squeeze the keys just to change notes. After playing something do you ask yourself "Was that the lightest, freest sounding and feeling that I have done? Can I do it lighter and freer?", and don't move on until it feels light and free?

Does your teacher play with beautifully curved fingers? If not find one who does. The truly great players do, and make playing look so easy. It should never look like you're wrestling a large insect and loosing, with fingers flapping, shoulders humping, chicken wings, and whatever other movements aren't being turned directly into sound.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
That was a fast response! Thanks! I'm pretty sure that my fingers are naturally curved. Tonight I'm going to pay attention to my positioning and keep some of your suggestions in mind.

I'm taking a guess it might be my shoulders. We'll see.
My sis says to give the instructor one more chance. I think that's fair.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,204 Posts
It sounds like you've got a death grip on that horn along with poor hand/horn position. Lighten up the grip. If the notes aren't 'speaking' get the horn to a REPUTABLE repair tech ASAP. The only thing that should hurt after a long practice session should be your chops.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
"Do your joints nearest to your fingertips collapse when you have a key depressed?"

Hmmmm...what do you mean by collapse? I was more observant during practice and notice when I press down the keys my fingers are straight, not curved, is that the problem?

...I made sure my shoulders were down today though I'm not sure if they have been down the whole time.

The keys in my opinion have more resistance than I would be comfortable with. My old teach was female, she said she had someone loosen all the keys to her comfort.

The pain should go on for a few days. If it goes away I must be doing something right. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
While seated lay your hand (or hands) on your thigh with the palm facing upward. Let the hand relax and do nothing; no extension, no grip, no tension. Your fingers are now curved. This is how your hand was born and this is the position where you can change the positions of your fingers most rapidly. Closing a key on the sax is done by bending this curved finger from the knuckle closest the wrist without changing this curve at all. When you release the key the finger comes back to this position by simply not closing the key any longer and doing nothing. No need to even lift. The springs do that.

Keep observing both in the mirror and how your fingers feel. They should feel as free as on your thigh doing nothing. Also enjoy the sound and the fun of playing.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks David. I started to make sure my fingers were curved since the last post and I'm happy to report that there's barely any pain left. :)
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top