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Thread: Back strain when playing euph?

  1. Back strain when playing euph?

    Hi All,

    I was wondering if anybody else experiences a bit of strain on the lower left muscles (mainly) when practicing for extended periods of time while standing. I've noticed that recently my lower left back limits me to how long I can practice while standing and was wondering if this is normal or if I'm just doing something wrong.

    Cheers,
    Justin

  2. #2

    Back strain when playing euph?

    A 3+1 euphonium is not the most natural instrument to hold while standing. It forces your left arm to be in a position you may or may not find comfortable. If you have a trigger on your horn, that amplifies the problem somewhat (and adds more weight). The wrap of the leadpipe can also make a big difference in comfort, by determining how much body contact you can have to offset some of the weight.

    I would suggest practicing while sitting for at least a week or two. Give you muscles a chance to recover from any strain. Then, introduce a little standing into each practice session. Just stand for a few minutes for the first few days. Then gradually increase the time spent standing and playing. You want to progess at a rate that doesn't leave your muscles feeling tired. You might be able to build the muscles in a gradual and consistent way, and that might solve your problems.

    If that doesn't work, my next choice would be to make an appointment with a physical therapist. Take your horn and demonstrate your playing stance. The PT may ask you a bunch of questions or probe your back and arm(s) a bit while you hold the playing position. Then he/she might be able to suggest some very specific exercises to build strength properly and efficiently.

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. #3

    Back strain when playing euph?

    Another option is to spend a session or two with someone certified in Alexander Technique for musicians. They will assess your stance and quite possibly see what you can do to minimize the stress. If you are interested here is a place to start though just googling Alexander Technique will work as well. Hope posting the link is OK Dave.

    http://www.amsatonline.org/

    Neil

  4. #4

    Back strain when playing euph?

    Originally posted by: EuphdadHope posting the link is OK Dave.
    Yes, certainly - as long as the link is helpful, relevant, and points to a reputable site (i.e. not junk/porn,etc.) Thanks for providing it.

    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5

    Back strain when playing euph?

    A possible solution is to use the ergobrass for euphonium http://www.ergobrass.com/euph/...eng_euph_etusivu.html


    It crossed my mind getting one of those as once and a while, my back hurts while playing. This mainly occurs at a camp sitting on those fold up metal chairs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    18

    Back strain when playing euph?

    This ergobrass for euphonium looks pretty good on paper. Has anyone tried this device?

    Tom


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,284

    Back strain when playing euph?

    I've not tried the ergo-brass, but the eupher sitting next to me has one. He just bought it this year. He likes it, but it seems cumbersome to me when trying to put the horn down on your lap during long rests. He has to raise it up to move the leg, then lay it down on his lap. Also, during one of our concerts the leg fell out of the plate and hit the floor with a bang... loud enough that our director mentioned it at our next rehearsal. Not sure why that happened, but probably the safety clip came loose (see image below). Gail Robertson told me that she sometimes uses one of these now.

    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Cumbanchero (Rafael Hernández) cell phone video

  8. #8

    Back strain when playing euph?

    I also had this problem. Playing while sitting is a great remedy and seems to be a totally acceptable way to perform. The problem with playing while sitting (for most people) is that the mouthpiece does not come to your face while naturally sitting up straight; for me it lands around my adam's apple. To fix this, my teacher advised me to cut a few pieces of pipe insulation long enough to fit on the bottom of the euph and stack them on top of each other and secure them with double sided tape. It allows you to have to mouthpiece reach your mouth easily without having to do anything detrimental to your posture. It really did wonders for my playing allowing me to sit perfectly straight.


  9. Back strain when playing euph?

    Thanks for all the advice. I've just been taking it a bit easier and have been very conscious about the stress and tension that I feel and try to move away from that. Also tried a bit of Alexander technique that a flute player showed me that involved lying down on the floor to straighten up your spine. I've rested it up and I think I'm good to go again.

  10. Back strain when playing euph?

    Another thing to remember is that playing a brass instrument is very demanding physically. You should get regular exercise outside of playing your horn.

    I am a cyclist and cycling seems to help with muscles strains and breathing.

    Try stretching your back before you play.


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