From Stephen Caplan professor of Oboe

From: Stephen Caplan

Sent: Friday, April 24, 2009 12:19 AM

To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Subject: : book recommends Kooiman



Hello, I just wanted you to know that I have written a book "Oboemotions--What Every Oboe Player Needs to Know about the Body." More information can be found at www.giamusic.com It has just been published by GIA Publications, Inc and includes a chapter on oboe thumbrests. Below is a copy of what I've written about the Kooiman products. I have used Kooiman thumbrests for several years now, and have been very pleased. Congratulations on your work! I will be at the International Double Reed Society conference in Birmingham, England in July. Will Kooiman be represented there? Sincerely, Stephen Caplan


From "Oboemotions" Chapter 7:

Kooiman—a new model for thumbrests

Illustration: Kooiman oboe thumbrest and Etude thumbrest

The branches of a tree are thickest and strongest where they join the trunk of the tree. If I'm climbing a tree I stand confidently on this part of the branch. I wouldn't walk out towards the very edge of the branch, for I know it would break under my weight.

Your thumb is constructed in a similar manner. The part closest to your hand can bear weight much more easily than the tip of the thumb. Yet traditional thumbrests deliver all the weight of the instrument to the tip of the thumb. Recognizing the fallacy of this, a Dutch manufacturer, Ton Kooiman, has developed a new mechanism that transfers the instrument’s weight to a part of the thumb that can best bear the load.

Of all the products described in this chapter, I feel that Ton Kooiman’s products (etude thumbrest, oboe thumbrest and English horn thumbrest) are the most elegant, practical and universal. They can be used whether you’re sitting or standing; playing chamber music, solo music, or orchestral music; and it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing! Most important, they completely relieve any tension created by traditional thumbrests. These devices actually help you find the best possible position for moving your fingers on the instrument--no callouses, no pain, no injury.

The Kooiman thumbrests are supported by an excellent website, describing the various products and providing many suggestions for how to properly attach and adjust them. The website claims, “the oboe thumbrest can be adjusted in all possible directions to meet the highest individual demands.” This is true and is one of the great advantages of this thumbrest over the less expensive etude version. It can also be a source of frustration at first. Because the thumbrest is made to adjust in so many different directions, it takes great patience to find the best position to suit your hand and your method of playing. It is useful to have a friend or teacher helping you make these adjustments.



Stephen Caplan is Professor of Oboe at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He also serves as Principal Oboist of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Sierra Winds.