Topic: Odd feeling in finger on right hand - Bassoon

Does anyone ever feel like they lose control of there right ring finger? (The one that hovers over the lower G key)
I feel like whenever I practice I have to stop because it'll freeze up and I can barley bend it..
Does anyone have any suggestions of what I should do to possibly free up this finger?

Undergrad Bassoon Performance Major at the Conservatory at Shenandoah University

Re: Odd feeling in finger on right hand - Bassoon

I'm interested to learn what you mean by "freezing up" of your right ring finger, and why you have difficulty moving it. Do you have difficulty keeping it in proper position? 

Christopher is correct in describing the physical situation (anatomy and function) of this digit, and his solution is a reasonable one -- but that only corrects the problem without identifying it. Seems that more information is needed.

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: Odd feeling in finger on right hand - Bassoon

Ah, sorry it took me so long to reply. I didn't get a notification saying someone replied to this topic..

My right ring finger feels like it is just locked and I can't bend it. It usually happens when I am playing in the upper register. especially in this one piece where I am constantly switching from Bb to Ab and I simply can't move it after awhile. and when I can bend it, it seems to force itself down. I hope I am making sense... It's like its either at 180 degrees or 90 degrees.. D:

Undergrad Bassoon Performance Major at the Conservatory at Shenandoah University

Re: Odd feeling in finger on right hand - Bassoon

As you describe the situation, it may be that your forearm muscles that control both flexion and extension of the finger are fighting each other by staying contracted at the same time as you play. Assuming the finger can move fully from a clenched fist to wide-open palm and fingers (away from the bassoon), and there's nothing organically wrong with it -- here are some options.
1 - Warm up your hand(s) with a soak in nice warm water; slowly and gently open and close your fist.
2 - Avoid repetitive and prolonged use of the right ring and little fingers in an extended position. That means fewer and more gentle high notes that use the F and Ab keys while the ring finger is not used.
3 - Use Ab fingerings that utilize the lof F key -- a smaller stretch for the fingers
4 - Finally, play the troublesome passages slowly at first. consciously keeping the hand as relaxed as possible; any excess tension in the fingers should be eliminated or minimized this way. When this becomes comfortable, gradually increase the tempo while maintaining that relaxed state.
Good luck!

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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