Custom instrument for one-handed flutist

Custom instrument for one-handed flutist
Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 7:43am

A 10 year-old North Texas girl wants more than anything to play the flute in the school band. There's just one problem it takes two hands and she only has one. With the help of a retired musician, she's finding out that where there's a will there's a way, Carla Wade has the story.

Abby Gieseke was born without a fully developed left hand, but for years she's wanted to play a two handed instrument, the flute.

She knew it would be hard, but at just 10 years-old she's already learned that when you can't change your circumstances, you change your attitude, " I've always found my own ways to do things that other people can do and so I knew that I would eventually find a way to do it."

After searching the internet for a solution, Abby's mom contacted retired musician and instrument repairman Clarence Wood or Woody as friends call him, "I first thought 'that's an impossible thing to do' someone with no fingers on her left hand just couldn't possibly play a flute, I couldn't make one but she insisted, she was determined to play a flute."

So Woody became equally determined to help, "It can be a adjusted in or out this way."

Since Abby can't hold a flute with both hands he designed a stand for her to grip the instrument and hold it steady. Then he redesigned the flute itself, "Because the fingering is not anywhere similar to regular flute fingers. I had to play it myself and work out each note at time to see which keys to push and pull."

Less than a week after getting her custom made flute, Abby's already playing simple tunes, "I just jumped for joy, I was so happy."

And already proving that by choosing to focus on what she has, "I just love a challenge."

Instead of focusing on what she doesn't strikes just the right note.

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