Competition encourages development of one-handed instruments

Dr. David Nabb had taught woodwinds at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for six years when he suffered a massive stroke, leaving him unable to play or teach.  

Unwilling to accept that he could no longer pursue his profession, he began consulting with a local manufacturer, Stelling Brass & Winds, to develop a one-handed saxophone.  His efforts led to the toggle-key saxophone, which enabled him to resume his teaching and playing career.

Nabb and Stelling Brass & Woodwinds of Kearney, Nebraska, have launched the UNK One-Handed Woodwinds Program with the mission to make one-handed woodwind instruments available to permanently disabled individuals.

Other initiatives have popped up around the globe.  In Australia, the One-Handed Musical Instrument Trust has launched it’s own competition.  In Britain, a competition has begun to encourage development of instruments which can be played at the elite level by disabled musicians.  That effort come out of a father’s effort to enable his daughter, stricken with cerebral palsy,to fulfill her dream of exploring music.

The human spirit is an amazing thing.  Telling someone they cannot do something oftentimes drives them to prove you wrong and, in the process, benefit all of us.

Watch: Competition launched to develop one-handed instruments (BBC.com)

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