Excess pressure – don’t do it

A flute player to whom I give occasional Jazz lessons wrote that she had over-practised and now has pains in her hands. She also wrote that she needs to avoid driving, to aid recovery.

I wrote:

One more thing to think about: if driving is bad then I wonder if you have an issue with gripping the wheel. Meaning perhaps you grip the wheel far harder than you need, and perhaps you do the same with the flute.

In the car, you can practise just relaxing your hands. When playing, there’s an exercise where you just rest your fingers on the keys, and then blow. You then gradually increase finger pressure until the sound is correct. You need press no harder than this. The pressure required will vary depending on how hard you are blowing. This idea applies just as much to stringed instruments.

Many guitar players press far too hard. You’re squeezing the neck, guys. It won’t improve your sound, it will slow you down, and you’ll get RSI.

Tantalisation

I got an email from a lady [name omitted to protect the innocent]:

Jeremy – I’m a singer/songwriter and I was referred to you by Bob [surname omitted]. I’m working on a CD and I’m looking for an accompanist. Bob is going to be out of town until Dec. I might want to lay down some tracks before then. I’d appreciate it if we could talk. I’m at [US looking number].

Bob is an old friend of mine that I hadn’t seen for 20 years. Exciting, starting to get a reputation. I called the number and the lady said how pleased she was that I could do it, especially because I am local. Then I realised that she wanted Jeremy Kahn not Jeremy Kahn! Damn that Jeremy Kahn.

At least I beat him in the Google rankings.