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The Effect of Posture on Selected Aspects of Trumpet Performance
Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association (2016)
  • Robert Friberg, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Leigh Ann Hunsaker
PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose was to examine if short term improvement in posture results in discernible differences in the quality of selected aspects of trumpet playing. Research hypotheses are: Musicians will perceive differences in freeness of air flow, fluidity of note connections, and clarity of tongued articulation when listening to trumpet played in normal and improved postures; Music professionals are more perceptive in identifying differences in trumpet music quality than student musicians; Brass players and nonbrass players will differ in their ability to identify differences in trumpet music performed in normal and improved postures.

NUMBER OF SUBJECTS: Twenty-seven music faculty and advanced music students assessed the performances.

MATERIALS/METHODS: University trumpet students were recorded playing both a lyrical piece and technical piece. Each musician was then provided posture training. They were recorded playing the same music again in the improved postural position. The recorded pairs of excerpts were randomized and transferred to a CD. Music faculty and upper-level music students listened to the CD on a blind basis scoring the performances on the variables noted above, using a 7-point Likert scale.

RESULTS: MANOVA revealed performances in the efficient posture resulted in statistically significant higher scores for the lyrical piece (P<.000), with significant improvement in air flow (P<.000), note connections (P<.000), and consistency (P<.000). MANOVA for the technical music demonstrated significant differences in clarity of articulation (P<.03) and air flow (P<.000) in efficient posture. Repeated measure ANOVA between faculty and student musicians revealed a significant difference (P<.009) with faculty differentiating efficient from normal posture for both technical and lyrical music. No difference existed between brass players and other musicians in differentiating postures.

CONCLUSIONS: Previous studies of posture with wind instrument players have not included systematic observations of the perceived quality of performance. This study indicates that lyrical music showed immediate improvement with short-term posture training. Although there was significant improvement in some aspects of the technical music, the total score for this piece improved only slightly with improved posture, suggesting that as difficulty of the music increases, the player may compromise the improved/efficient postural position to meet the more challenging cognitive and psychomotor challenges. Additionally, there were slight differences between the perceptions of student and professional musicians when listening to the lyrical music and more pronounced differences in perceptions of the more difficult music. This suggests that more experienced musicians are better able to hear the nuances indicative of compromised improved/efficient posture.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Improved/efficient posture is important for maximizing performance for trumpet musicians. An intentional program focused on the biomechanical and neuromechanical limitations of posture is important for the efficient postural position to become normative.
Publication Date
February, 2016
Los Angeles, CA
Poster presentation
Citation Information
Robert Friberg and Leigh Ann Hunsaker. "The Effect of Posture on Selected Aspects of Trumpet Performance" Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association (2016)
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