Meri’s Musical Musings

Should musicians aim for light but secure instrument cases?

Posted on: September 22, 2016

Yes, especially if the musician is mainly or exclusively walking or taking public transit with their instrument.

I recently was diagnosed with tendonitis in my left shoulder. I think what happened was that in my younger days, especially in the all city symphony orchestra, I regularly carried a regular B flat instrument, a bass clarinet, and a soprano E flat clarinet to rehearsals most Wednesday evenings during the school year on public transit, since my parents were at work when I had to leave for rehearsals most of the time.

However, the weight issue gets way more important when you add a B flat with an A in a double case, along with the bass clarinet and E flat soprano in some cases, even occasionally an alto or tenor saxophone for the rare orchestral piece that requires one, such as Ravel’s Bolero. And pit orchestra musicians (for musicals) require these instruments, and sometimes an oboe, bassoon, or flute on top of that! Double cases for clarinets are somewhat more than double the weight of a single case, although the lightest one I’ve found that is affordable and that I like is the Allora double case.

Many instrument case designers only include a regular shoulder strap for carrying the instrument, and often an option to convert to a backpack-style case is possible, but it’s usually hard to find or expensive. Perhaps it should be standard equipment. In addition, especially for heavier instruments, but even in the case of double clarinet cases, the option to wheel the cart like a piece of regular luggage should be available, especially to those of us with back and shoulder problems.

Lighter cases are important for children or smaller individuals learning to play instruments, especially larger and/or heavier instruments, because more and more children are developing back and shoulder problems for a variety of reasons.

Finally students and professionals of all instruments, but mainly piano, woodwinds, and upper strings, have to watch for the issue of lifting their shoulders while they play, which may be part of the reason besides carrying multiple instruments and heavy school backpacks leading to my recent shoulder injury.




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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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