The single handed trombone player

19th February 2015  •  6 comments  •  Posted in Adapt IT news, Inspirational stories

The best trombone Christmas present ever…

 

If there is one musical instrument that you would definitely NOT recommend for someone who has use of only one arm – that may well be the trombone.

Not so for young Matthew Griffiths of Milford Haven,  The combined efforts of Hercules Stands, Jupiter Instruments and Cory Band have given this young trombone player the best Christmas present he could wish for….


Single handed trombone player

Matthew, a determined young trombone player has received a very special gift this Christmas, thanks to the combined efforts of Adapt-IT, Hercules Stands, Jupiter Instruments and Cory Band.

Nine year old Matthew Griffiths has a disability called Brachial Plexus injury, also known as Erb’s Palsy, which left him with no finger movement in his left hand and very restricted movement in his left arm.

 

Being a single handed trombone player isn’t easy

However, after trying several different activities Matthew decided he would like to play a musical instrument, and undaunted by the obvious difficulty and guided by his school music teacher, he set his sights on the trombone.

It soon became clear that Matthew had a wonderful ear for music and soon started to make great progress – thanks to the use of an improvised microphone stand. However, this was not ideal: as he quickly improved, it meant that someone still had to steady the instrument while he practised and played.  Being a single handed trombone player is not easy!

 

Assistive Technology Assessment

Just over a year ago, Matthew was assessed by Martyn Slyper, an Assistive Technology consultant with Adapt-IT for his requirements to help with his school work.  And it was from this that he discovered Matthew’s trombone problem.

He contacted Robin Crocker of Strings & Things Ltd, the UK distributor of Hercules Stands, who in turn set their development boffins the task of coming up with the perfect solution.

 

Brilliant solution

With their renowned expertise, Matthew’s requirements for playing the trombone were assessed and a brilliant solution was found – with a unique adjustable hand clamp that cleverly held Matthew’s trombone firmly in perfect playing place.

After initial testing, the clamp, which was fitted to a standard heavy duty Hercules MS401B microphone stand, was flown over to the UK via special delivery.

 

New trombone

That was just the start of things though, as the Hercules Stands parent company is called KHS, an abbreviation of ‘Kong Hsue Sheh’ in Taiwanese, which translates to ‘Contribution to Schools and Society’.

During the development of Matthew’s unique clamp and stand it was noted by KHS that he was playing a ‘Jupiter’ branded trombone – also manufactured by KHS.

So impressed were they by Matthew’s determination that, in association with Korg UK, the UK distributor of Jupiter, KHS decided to also present him with a brand new Jupiter JSL-432L trombone to further help inspire him to follow his passion for music.

 

The Final Part

The final part of the success story came through Hercules Stand’s link with Cory, one of the best known brass bands in the country, who then invited Matthew and his family to be special guests at their recent BBC Radio Wales concert in Cardiff.

At the event, a thrilled Matthew was presented with his new equipment by Cory’s star solo trombone player Chris Thomas, alongside KHS and Korg UK, and Robin Crocker from Strings & Things (above), who was directly involved in the development of Matthew’s special Hercules equipment.

 

Highlight

It was a brilliant occasion, with Chris telling 4BR that it was one of highlights of his long playing career.

“To see such a great youngster wanting to play the trombone no matter what, touched everyone’s heart, and to be able to offer some help and advice to Matthew was one of the best things that I’ve done in my long playing career.”

He added: “I’m going to keep an eye on his development now – and if I can help in any way in the future the family only have to ask. Hercules have done a remarkable job. My only hope is that he doesn’t quite get good enough for a few years yet before he comes along and takes my seat at Cory!”

 

Overwhelmed

Matthew’s mother Diane was quite overwhelmed by all the work that everyone had put in to achieve this.

She told 4BR: “To be given such wonderful support by Hercules Stands and Strings &Things has been overwhelming, and the kind support shown by KHS and Korg UK has been simply amazing.”

“I am also very grateful to the everyone for introducing us to the right people in the first instance so that Matthew can continue to participate in one of the things that he most enjoys.”

 

So welcome

Diane added: “We are also so grateful to Cory Band Manager Austin Davies for arranging for Matthew to have his first chance to see the band in action. This was a wonderful gift to him. Chris Thomas was simply wonderful in making Matthew feel so welcome and special as a player.

Now, with the modified stand and clamp, he can play and practice his new instrument with greater freedom and independence. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone involved.”

6 responses to “The single handed trombone player”

  1. Jo Fullerton says:

    This is fantastic – is there a photo of the clamp? As a one handed wannabe musical instrument player (complete beginner) I would like to see it.

    • administrator says:

      I will see if I can get an image.

      Alternatively, if I go back to the company who made the clamp, would you be interested in buying one from them? If so, I could put you in touch.

  2. Steven Speare says:

    Hello i,am a cornet player who had a stroke two years ago an some use in my hand finding it difficult to hold cornet been trying to play left handed but don,t have the strength in my right hand to hold the cornet, can you recommend something that would support the cornet so i can play left handed, Steve Speare. p.s. been trying tenor horn.

  3. Rachel says:

    This is a great outcome. For the cornet player above please see more information about our work with equipment to adapt instruments for people with physical disabilities. http://www.ohmi.org.uk . We would be delighted to try and help people with equipment we have or hear about other ideas!

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