Tuesday, September 08, 2009

James Galway's Calluses

Dear Flutists,
I see from my "search box" that someone out there in flute land is seeking the photos of James Galway's hand calluses.
See: Photos of Galway's hands here. (2014 photos no longer online.)

In the past, some flute teachers have actually said "You must build up some finger calluses, like Galway", and many other flute teachers have hotly disagreed.

You must decide for yourself, but I believe that the lighter the touch, the better the pads seal, the faster the technique (finger motions).

Having recovered from pretty acute left hand and arm pain from playing a leaking flute with inadequate muscle freedom, I tend to believe in the non-callous school.

James Galway himself has also has written about arm and shoulder pain from too much sudden technique practise.

So for interest's sake please do see the lightness and ease of hand position that I use for speed in this video.

The above video was in answer to a query today from a flute teacher who had difficulty getting beginners to balance the flute in the hands without strain.
Comments (4)
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recover from shoulder surgery, my hand and arm positions are critical to being able to play and still keep the pain down to a dull roar. This information, including the head joint position, has helped enormously. Strangely, even after an 8-week layoff my upper register is clear and clean, using your head joint suggestions. Lip is weak and out of practice, but everything else works. Thanks so much for your video.

John Gonser

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 9:37:00 AM

Blogger jen said...

Dear John,

To get weak lips back in focus try "Buzzing 101" demonstrated by Keith Underwood on Catherine Legrand's blog. It's a video showing the Jerome Callet spit-buzzing method on flute (originally for brass.) It re-discovers your upper lip aiming accuracy in only 5 minutes and gives great muscle tone to the embouchure for flutists who've been away from practise.
Use google or search this blog for buzzing 101.
Best, Jen
P.S. Glad to be of help.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 9:54:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,
This is a great video, especially as it explains also the grip/support for the left index finger, and your very own 'thumbolina'!!! I'm glad I watched till the end, I wasn't sure if this would solve my problem (very painful left index finger). Now I'm sure it will!!

Your entire website is incredibly helpful, many many thanks.

Sunday, February 14, 2021 9:56:00 AM

Blogger jen said...

Glad to help! Alot of flute students go through a period of left hand pressure; and then they re-balance the flute and it resolves. So good luck! :>)

Sunday, February 14, 2021 8:03:00 PM


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