Damage

Hello Sherman,

I am an amatuer, but reaonably advanced palyer, having been at it for nearly 20 years. I play a Buffet full Boehm in their top grade – although the instrument is probably about 40 years old. I use a Van Doren crystal mouthpiece, Number A1, with Van Doren 1 1/2 reeds.

I have recently had a large chunk removed from my lower lip – initially a suspected keratosis ( a skin cancer), but subsequntly found to be diagnosed as non-malignant, and ‘scar tissue’. I wonder if lip injuries such as this are common amongst single reed players. The dermatologist who did the job was either unsympathetic or lacking in understanding, or both, as he did not appear to take my concenrs about lip-damage seriously, and despite initially assuring me it would not leave any trauma, subsequently admitted that my lip would never be the same, but why didn’t I just put the mouthpiece in the side of my mouth and play that way. (Grrrrr!)

Is this the right website? Can you offer any insigiht into the condition as well as how to recover. Can send hoeerndous lip-pics if needs be,
If this is the wrong site, sorry to have bothered you.
Regards,
———————————————————————-Dear Mr L :
I may wish to ask the very same question, or “IS there a website for such a problem”?
There may be sites which will circumvent the issue in many ways, but there is not one specifically designed to answer such questions. (Dermatologist? I wonder if a plastic reconstructive surgeon may have been advisable.)
I have had questions pertaining to mouth cancer with its attendant difficulties and impossibilities and other problems which can be called physical .
One thing is for certain: the doctor is only interested in the healing process that takes place in your mouth. He has no cognizance of embouchure or any other kind of clarinet holding position, nor does he have any interest in anything but your healing.
You are going to have to deal with the problem solo as they say because it is just that.
You may, after the healing is somewhat complete attempt to use double lip embouchure which may help your ability to play, at the least it will give you something else to think about , or perhaps you may not be able to play, at least for a while.
Perhaps this will make you say “grrrrrr” yet another time, but if you are reasnably painfree you will find a way to play, you have to and it is incumbent upon you that you do, and you will.
best of all good luck and spirits.
sincerely, sherman friedland

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