How Do You Play Flute With HH? An inside look (with video)

Hi all! I hope you’re having a great start to August!

Next month, my quintet, Washington Square Winds, and I will be releasing our very first full length album, THEY’RE ALIVE! The official release date is September 7.

With that in mind, I have decided to share some of my music with you today. Francis gave me the idea for this post as he said he was curious what it’s really like to play a musical instrument with HH. He’s a trombonist, himself! I included a video to show you my thought process when I play and how HH affects me.

This video was taken during my graduate flute recital at NYU in 2011. I’m playing Ian Clarke’s The Great Train Race. It has a lot of cool extended techniques like playing 2 notes at the same time, singing and playing, and explosive air attacks. This was before I started Iontophoresis treatment, so I was definitely sweating a lot at this point.

  • Another thing I worry about is also related to my appearance. HH typically comes with excessive blushing (as if excessive sweating wasn’t enough). Generally when I’m performing and really nervous, my chest and neck blotch up like crazy!! Amazingly, in this video, you can’t really tell! But as I play, I’m constantly thinking about the audience’s perception of me based on what they see, versus what they hear. In the past, I’ve had people ask me if I was okay after a performance because they saw me blotch up. This bothers me a lot because I don’t want the audience to be concerned about me during my performance. I would rather them just listen and enjoy- no matter what I look like.
  • Having sweat on my hands makes it really uncomfortable to play my flute. I’ll be trying to focus on the music while I feel drips of sweat rolling down my arms or starting to feel the pads under the keys get squishy with moisture.
  • HH is also uncomfortable because it makes my fingers swell- A LOT! It can be difficult moving my swollen fingers fast when I need them to. You can tell that right around 45 seconds in this video, there’s a difficult fast passage that could have been a lot cleaner! My fingers weren’t just cooperating!
  • Sometimes the sweat on my fingers will cause me to slip off the keys too- especially if I’m going fast. At 2:17, it’s barely audible, but my finger slipped on a key and I played a wrong note. I recovered really fast though!
  • A clear picture of my mental state is apparent at 2:52. Remember I was playing this without sheet music in front of me. I forgot what came next and paused a little too long!

This was back in 2011, but I still get these same feelings. My philosophy nowadays is: “You love music, so play like you love it. The audience will see this in you and the music will flow more freely”.

I hope you enjoyed listening to some of my music! If you would like to hear more, please ask me about our upcoming CD!

In the meantime, you can check out my flute website: carynfreitag.com
and my quintet’s website: washingtonsquarewinds.org

Thank you for reading,

Caryn

 

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6 thoughts on “How Do You Play Flute With HH? An inside look (with video)

  1. Hi Caryn,
    My name is Rick, Im a Masters Design student from Australia and Im doing a research assignment on Hyperhidrosis, for which in the end of the term I need to come up with a design idea (products, apps, etc) for people suffering from this condition.
    I stumbled accross your blog as I’ve been reading a lot about it and I ‘m just starting to understand how much distress people with this condition face in their daily lives.
    I admire your courage keeping this blog and talent playing the flute so well.
    I wonder if you could help me understand Hyperhidrosis better in order to find the best design solution for my college assignment. I will need to ask you a few questions soon, nothing very complicated.
    Congratulations on your blog that I’m sure is helping so many people with the same condition out there!
    Kind regards
    Rick Untura
    Sydney, Australia

    • Hi Rick,

      Thank you for finding my blog and for considering me to interview for your project! I’d love to help you out! Please let me know what type of questions you would need me to answer. You may reach me at: justalittlesweat@gmail.com

      It’s great that you are taking this project on for school! It will help build awareness of HH and also help people living with it.

      Thanks again,
      Caryn

  2. Beautiful piece! You really are talented, best of luck!
    As a fellow HH woman, I’d like to ask if you face more or less sweating according to your dressing choices? I notice you are wearing a dress with thin straps.. I feel much better when my sleeves reach up to my palms.
    But my biggest concern is my footwear, where unfortunately, its rare to find anything that i am comfortable in, other than closed shoes or boots, which I wear with cotton socks. And for formal settings, with great courage, I put on heeled pumps. I was wondering if you could share what your go-to footwear is?

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