3.10 Trumpet Ergonomics

The instrument and the body

The first thing is to achieve a relaxed torso, which is important for the breathing and flow of air. All types of exercise to find this are acceptable, everything from moving the arms and legs to stimulate the breathing and heart, to more gentle exercises, such as yoga. The goal is for the diaphragm to function dynamically, with no resistance in the breathing musculature. For more details, see the introduction for wind instruments in Part 3, as well as Chapter 2.

For your breathing to function well you need a stable torso, in which the vertebral column rests securely on the pelvis. To achieve a stable position in the pelvis, try Exercise 8.1 for standing position xxx and Exercise 8.2 for sitting position xxx.

The grip with which you hold the instrument is important. All grips that demand an “outstretched” hand easily result in extra tension, first in the hand and forearm, and later even in the upper arm and shoulder. Begin by holding the instrument with the left hand.

Illustration 3.10.1. Bending the wrist to the side creates a considerable increase in tension in both the wrist and the muscles of the forearm.
Illustration 3.10.2. Repositioning the thumb will result in a more relaxed position for the back of the hand and the wrist.

Try to relax the right arm/hand and then place the hand on the instrument. Make sure the elbow is held slightly outwards, so there will be a feeling of symmetry and your breathing movements are not disturbed by the position of the arms.

The angle of the instrument compared to the body affects the neck, and if you cannot find the optimal position, this also affects your ability to breathe freely.

Illustration 3.10.3. When the chin is pulled inwards and there is a feeling of lifting the head from behind, the cervical spine is straightened up to a more relaxed position.
Illustration 3.10.4. When you adopt a position with a tendency towards “vulture neck”, i.e. curving the neck in an S-shape, the disks in the cervical spine are pressed together more, and the strain on the stabilising musculature, such as that which raises the shoulders, increases.