The Kooiman PRIMA thumb rest
When it comes to holding the flute, the main problem is to balance it when going from one octave to the other: at that point you hold the instrument with no more than the tip of the right hand thumb and the side of your left hand forefinger. As the keywork, which is located on the upper side of the tube, makes the instrument top heavy, the flute now wants to roll toward you - but it shouldn't. Flutists try to prevent this movement by pushing the instrument against their lower lip (which doesn't promote relaxation nor a good sound) or by manipulating the right hand thumb and the left hand forefinger. This creates lots of tension in those and other fingers, which can easily result in symptoms in the hands, the arms, the shoulders, the neck, and even the back. The left pulse is another problem area: flutists often set this pulse at a unnatural angle in an attempt to balance their instrument.
The smoothness of the flute tube, which offers little or no grip, doesn't make things easier. This particular problem can be solved by sticking a Band-Aid or masking tape on the instrument, but this is visually unattractive and by far not as effective as an ergonomic thumb rest.
The Kooiman Prima Thumb Rest offers an answer to every single aspect mentioned above. The rest has a large plateau for the right thumb, allowing this finger to balance the flute effortlessly. As the thumb relaxes, so can the other fingers. This makes it easier to properly position the hand, enhancing the freedom of movement of the fingers and making technical passages so much easier to play. Simultaneously, the Prima Thumb Rest effectively reduces the pressure of the instrument against the lip.
Like many other truly successful inventions the Prima Thumb Rest looks deceivingly simple. However, a lot of research has been invested in this meaningful device, on top of Kooiman's extensive experience in creating hand made ergonomic solutions for wind instrument players. Many flutists (young and old, beginning and pro-level players) have been videotaped so their posture and their way of playing could be studied in detail; as many flutists have been interviewed about their experience with the problem and their solutions, and scientific calculations of the way flute playing exerts pressure on fingers, wrists and arms have been made to be able to see how to make the design as effective as possible.
Do it yourself
You don't need to be a technician to assemble the Prima Thumb Rest. The thumb rest basically consists of two parts: the thumb plateau and a mounting plate. Two rubber strips are used to attach the mounting plate to the instrument. A silicon pad, which is supplied with the thumb rest, prevents the mounting plate from moving and from scratching the flute tube. Then you simply slide the thumb plateau over the mounting plate until you hear a soft ‘click' - and that's it. Once you're done playing, the thumb plateau can be removed just as easily: it has to be taken of off the flute to make the instrument fits its case. The mounting plate stays on the flute, of course. The thumb rest is fully adjustable to your way of playing and to the size of your hands. Removing the Prima is a matter of undoing the rubber strips. You can be sure that the mounting plate does not leave any traces on the instrument.
Want to know more?
The Prima Thumb Rest is a very affordable solution that makes playing the flute so much easier. It is available in four finishes: red, blue, silver, and see-through. Get yours at your music store today.