Principal Trumpeter Is Blowing The Musicians’ Optician’s Trumpet
Shaun Hooke is the Principal Trumpet of the RTE Concert Orchestra. Having had a high minus correction for distance since he was young, he is now also having to contend with sharply increasing presbyopia over the last few years. Shaun had worked with his optician to try to resolve his increasing near vision issues. But the monovision contact lens solution has been highly unsatisfactory for reading music clearly.
Musicians need to be able to see the music on the stand clearly. Often they are required to play pieces of music by sight-reading. These pieces are often unfamiliar and the musician needs to get it right first time. So having a crisp view of the piece is essential. Shaun not only needs to focus at all the distances required of a professional trumpeter, he also teaches. This requires Shaun to read music positioned off to one side, which is situated in front of the student. Shaun conducts the lessons either in person or via Skype, through his website dublintrumpetacademy.com which again presents even more variance in his working distances.
Having initially contacted Allegro Optical Opticians via our website Shaun made a special journey all the way from Dublin to visit us in Meltham. We conducted a full eye examination and a contact lens test. Shaun was using a monovision contact lens prescription. Giving his dominant eye a correction for full distance and the non-dominant eye a focal distance of 1.5 meters. Unfortunately, this no longer worked. Shaun was considering a change to multifocal contact lenses with an over spectacle, for use when rehearsing or performing.
A Two Part Solution
We corrected Shaun’s vision by prescribing contact lenses with a monovision solution. The left eye underpowered by 2.00 Dioptres and the right eye prescribed for clear distance vision. For playing and at work we have prescribed adapted rimless spectacles to use over the top of the contact lenses. The new spectacles allow Shaun to see all his music on the stand, the conductor and also his computer.
Shaun has now collected his new glasses and he said “Uncertainty with your vision is just as serious as a mechanical failure with your instrument. That moment of indecision increases performance pressure, leads to mistakes and stops you giving your best. All sorted now thanks to Allegro. Crystal clear vision even in a gloomy opera pit!”
In addition to the above solution, we have also devised a multifocal prescription for contact lenses, giving Shaun a much better view of the music when he isn’t able to use his spectacles.
Focusing at many different distances can pose real problems to musicians. A great many find they struggle with the varied focal distances required. Some musicians also suffer from postural problems which are often caused by their deteriorating vision.
With an understanding of the playing and seating positions of professional musicians, this can be overcome and the musicians working and playing life can easily be improved. Many Musicians who experience focusing problems at different distances are unaware that there is a solution to their vision problems. Most Optometrists and Opticians either prescribe and dispense single vision lenses for the music stand. Or Computer or Office lenses which don’t give enough depth of view.
This case study has illustrated the variety of dispensing challenges that practitioners may face when a musician presents in practice.