(To catch you up if you’ve missed a few posts: This weekend I had my first rehearsals with Charlotte Adams, her dance troupe, and tuba genius John Manning at the University of Iowa in preparation for their fall Dance Gala at the end of October. Our improvisatory, collaborative piece begins with me lying on the floor, bottom of the stage, playing the opening lines of “Kaddish.”)
I can’t believe I haven’t thought to mention until now that Charlotte’s dance is about her memories of her father and his death a few years ago from Parkinson’s. She has graciously agreed to write a little about him and her piece for a future guest essay here.
I’m back home, and tonight begins my several weeks of training to be able to play this thing well despite lying on my back. I recorded the whole Kaddish in my studio with the usual setup except that I was lying on my back on the floor.
I’m experimenting with using the left-hand crutch different. I’m talking about the so-called “duck’s foot” thingy that some people add to their horns; it rests on your index finger’s first knuckle and helps hold the horn up so that not all the weight is on your little finger from the hook that has been standard on horns for ages. Since my horn is upside-down for this performance, I’m sliding the crutch so that it fits between my first and second fingers, and instead of resting “downward” on my index knuckle, it pulls “upward” (what would be upward if I weren’t upside-down) on the inside of my index finger.
Hmm. Exactly where the muscle that I’ve been trying to rehab is. This might not be such a good idea.
(Last December, on the 19th to be exact, I walked out of my office into my studio in the dark. I was heading to the kitchen, where I’d flip on a light. Unfortunately I forgot that my trumpet/flügelhorn case was sitting out, and I tripped over it, falling and landing hard on my left hand. I bent my fingers back pretty hard, especially the left index finger. It was swollen and painful for quite a while, and it was taking forever to heal, so finally in July I went to see a hand surgeon to get it checked out. He diagnosed a sprain of a little muscle on the inside of the index finger so obscure that I can’t remember its name and sent me off to physical therapy. I’ve been seeing my hand therapist supposedly weekly since late August, except that my travels have made it more like biweekly. I’ve been doing various exercises supposedly several times a day since then, too, except that my life has made it more like once in a while. Clearly I need to do a better job of healing myself.)