Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 13:39:59 -0500
From: "LEON MERIAN" <>
Subject: your body and your horn

Now that I am not allowed to play my horn for about a month; {eye surgery} I would like to expound upon a few helpful points if I may.....

Firstly, if players would get to know their body as well as their instruments, they would be able to play with much greater ease and much less stress and strain thereby increasing endurance. I have observed that a great many musicians play by unconsciously forcing the body to conform to the demands of the instrument. It's rare that I see it done the other way around, namely in using your body in a way where playing your instrument becomes an "extension" of the proper actions of the body..

By doing it this way you would more likely get the feeling of  ONENESS with your instrument which most players would want I'm sure. One of the obstacles probably being in the education of musicians. If you know your body and use it as part and parcel of your instrument  you would play with much greater ease and less stress and strain.. If you do it the other way around [which many many musicians do] the body will act out of habitually accommodating the difficulties of the instrument... The result will be stress, strain, fatigue all which in turn will become chronic.... all of which could be avoided.  To overcome these problems means to be aware of what movements you can do to help facilitate your instrument ! !

You want to make your posture FLUID and ADAPTIVE... get away from a fixed and bent position. Let your body flow with your horn the same as you want your music to FLOW. Get away from that stiff military stance..

Shift your weight.  As an ex. the cellist has to shift weight through the hips and turn them left and right..... We on our horns should be going into the horn when we are going up on an ascending line. Straight ahead. GO OUT ...straight OUT. I see so many players crunching, coming down into their necks , into the body, pulling the horn down and in . If the music is going up from say G ,A, B, high C, D, E , F high G etc. your body should be taking the weight by going out into the horn in a fluid manner and flowing back as you descend.

Don't fight the horn's resistance, go WITH it and of course always keeping your air flow continual NEVER adjusted. This kind of movement of the hips and spine will result in integrating your body and your instrument which in turn will improve playing and reducing stress. Your body is well designed to do these functions .When you become aware of doing this and knowing what you are doing and how it helps your playing --a natural biofeedback. It's a natural movement of the body. Once you bring this process of your body working with the horn into awareness, improvement will follow and the harmful effects of old stressful habits will dissipate. Think of your body and your horn as ONE.

Good luck to all of you and happy honkin