First Advisor

Winges, Sara

First Committee Member

Adler, John

Second Committee Member

Malde, Melissa

Third Committee Member

Kramer, Reiner

Document Type


Date Created



Potentially debilitating performance-related pain (PRP) is common among professional and aspiring instrumentalists, can lead to significant loss of income, and sometimes end a career. Postural misalignments that lead to PRP can develop early in students’ training and is often successfully addressed by a music teacher recommending a change in technique. The nature of a musician’s PRP is dependent on how their instrument is held; there has never been an in-depth study of PRP specifically for hornists. This dissertation summarizes the current relevant research of PRP in musicians and hornists, conducts and analyzes a comprehensive hornist-specific health survey, seeks to identify a common pattern of imbalances through an electromyography and posture study, establishes a detailed set of guidelines hornists may consider when optimizing their body positions, and describes some ergonomic aids that may be helpful to hornists. The study’s goal is to define universal principles that all hornists and teachers should consider in order to optimize individuals’ horn-playing posture,1 mitigate current PRP and prevent the development of future PRP through better teaching and use of the body.

Abstract Format



1 The postural guidelines developed for this dissertation are primarily based in Alexander Technique and Body Mapping. The term posture is usually avoided in these practices because of the implications of immobility and stiffness many students associate with the word. In this document, the times the word posture is used, it is meant to encompass efficient, healthy movement in relation to the horn; it is not a static or stiff use of the body. The word posture also may simply mean a position of the body.


257 pages

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