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Discussion Starter #1
I have a student with Bell's Palsy, and I've been searching websites for info on whether playing a wind instrument can be a good or bad thing. His embouchure gives out rapidly, and it's my opinion that if he practices a little bit at a time, he can build up enough stamina to get through one of the tunes on the play-along CDs he enjoys using. He's 70 years old, has had Bell's Palsy for about 30 years, but loves playing sax and clarinet. Anyone have any experience with this?
Thanks!
Chris Klich (http://chrisklich.com)
 

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Über Geek, Forum Contributor 2010 Distinguished SO
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My only experience with Bell's is with friends or family members who dealt with the effectis for however long they had to.

If your student enjoys playing and making music in spite of his obstacles, then it can't be a bad thing unless playing a woodwind instrument is somehow medically contraindicated. I highly doubt that's the case (he should check with his doc or his occupational therapist), so I'd say do whatever you can to keep him making music. The research indicates--and I believe this--that the more we challenge our brains in various stages of our lives, the more ammunition we have against diseases that rob us of cognitive function. In that battle, music appears to be a major game-changer.

So, I say keep doing what you're doing... it will probably pay huge dividends for your student in the future.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I also agree keep going, but it would be a good idea to ask to get medical advice, and therefore you are not liable if anything bad does happen. If the advice he gets is that he shouldn't play, but he insists on playing you really need to think about your legal position, so some kind of disclaimer would be in order.

If it was me who had a medical condition and I was advised not to play, I would expect to make my own decisions about ignoring that advice and I would definitely want to absolve a teacher from responsibility.

This is a tricky one, though I think as people get older the situation changes. I would want to make a decision myself, e.g. I know this is bad for me but I don't have much of my life left anyway and I'd rather spend that time doing something I enjoy, even if it makes me less healthy.

I see 86 year olds who have smoked all their lives. Nobody tries to make them give up as the stress could me more likely to kill them than getting lung cancer at that age.
 

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I am a RN and have worked with people for quite awhile with Bell's, I think it is a great idea and would say keep going with him, as long as he enjoys it, this is what really matters.
 

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Old thread but I've been hit with it. Last week the bad taste thing and on Wednesday at rehearsal my blowing, lip seemed off. Thursday to now I cant blow. Had gig last night. Could not play a note. Lips on one side or numb, jaw on the other side goes east. Doctors tomorrow. So frustrated as I want to play and just cant. My face is not mine, arghhhh. Awful thing it is.
 

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Old thread but I've been hit with it. Last week the bad taste thing and on Wednesday at rehearsal my blowing, lip seemed off. Thursday to now I cant blow. Had gig last night. Could not play a note. Lips on one side or numb, jaw on the other side goes east. Doctors tomorrow. So frustrated as I want to play and just cant. My face is not mine, arghhhh. Awful thing it is.
Really sorry to hear about this! Glad you are consulting a doctor. Please keep us posted on your progress.
 

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Really sorry to hear about this! Glad you are consulting a doctor. Please keep us posted on your progress.
Thanks, really worried. Fingers crossed. Its a funny thing losing your mouth as a wind brass player when it happens. Just feel lost. Doing lots of exercises as I type. If it were a broken hand, arm etc you can sort of make a date and get on with the recovery but this weird thing. LIMBOOO, Keep you up to date.
 

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Sorry to hear this Davey ...don't know what to say that would be useful. Keep us informed here or FB.
Bollox!
Fingers crossed for a recovery sooner than later.
Big thanks for thoughts. Doctor today really said theres not much he can do. Got a weeks worth of steroids but he was more concerned about my left eye not closing so got some drops. Keep it covered at night in bed to avoided drying up and eye damage. Toes fingers crossed its over sooner than later. I want to know whos face I'm wearing, ha
 

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Yes, please be very careful with your eye. I have a condition called recurrent corneal erosion that began with my eye getting too dry overnight. Now to prevent a very painful relapse, I have to apply ointment at night and drops in the morning.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
 

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I am currently teaching a student with a form of palsy in which the left side of her mouth has no muscle control. It has been this way for many years. She normally plays flute and is starting alto sax. After some experimentation, we found that putting the mouthpiece all the way to the palsy (left) side so that the pressure of the mouthpiece actually helps to close off the left side and the right side muscles act as a grip to push the mouthpiece over. So far it has worked well. Don’t know if this helps anyone, but I haven’t found a ton of info on long term palsy and wind instrument playing.
 
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