Dear Mr. Friedland,
my 11 year old son has been playing the clarinet for 2 years. However, he wants to quit now because he can’t get over a problem: when playing, he experiences a sudden pain in his throat in the region of his larynx. If he continues playing, the pain disappears and comes back in increasingly shorter intervals. Usually he stops playing after the first appearance since the pain is unbearable. The advice of his teachers was to relax his throat as much as possible but he finds that the moment he relaxes is exactly when the pain starts. Could you give us any advice on this?Thanks for your help,
Dear Mrs. W:
Certainly I can give you advice on this delicate matter since I have incurred it many times , especially as a student. One would suppose that a doctor should be seen, however since you asked me, let me give you whatever advice I have gained with this specific problem.
I would carefully ask your son if the throat pain is the sole reason that he wants to quit the instrument. Whatever that response, you will be getting some more information on the subject.
I would need to know what he means by the pain being “unbearable“, that being highly unlikely.
What I am trying to say is that there are other reasons he wants to give up playing and “unbearable ” pain is simply not respectable . Unbearable implies the care of a medical person, specifically “Eye Ear Nose and Throat” medical assistance and consultation. If you consider the pain to be “unbearable”, he should be seeing a doctor.
The first thing to do is to completely cease playing until all residual pain completely disappears, and then to resume playing again, carefully avoiding the pain and playing for short periods of time, gradually increasing the time spent practicing and perhaps the pain will have disappeared.
If not, I would advise you to see a specialist in the area of his discomfort, but I do respectfully caution you to determine whether or not he may simply be “sick” of the clarinet.
Somehow I would understand “unbearable”if I knew the person involved is simply fed up with the clarinet, a condition many of us suffer with from time to time.