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Healthy Habits and Injuries

“A daily practice of yoga is immensely helpful for mental calm, core strength, and  training our mind how to be mindful of how we use our body (all very applicable to horn playing!) If you only have 5 minutes, try this quick yoga pattern, preferably before one of your practice sessions!”

Sun Salutation

1.  Stand at the top of the mat.

2.  Inhale—Extend your arms up and reach towards the sky.

3.  Exhale—bend in half and reach toward the earth. Hang out in a forward fold for as long as it feels good. You can place your feet hip-width apart to release your low back and feel free to bend your knees to it feels comfortable.

4.  When you’re ready, step back to plank pose. Hold this for a few breaths to cultivate strength. In plank, you want your shoulders over your wrists and your back in one straight line. Try not to raise your hips, or let your low back dip down. If this is difficult, you can drop your knees. You’ll still be building strength.

5.  When you’re ready, lower down to your belly. Place your hands to frame your chest. Spread your fingers wide, and press your hands into the mat to raise your chest up. This is cobra pose. Take a few breaths.

6.  Now, keep your hands where they are, but tuck your toes to lift your hips up. You’ll find yourself in downward facing dog. In down-dog, your hands are shoulder-width, and your feet are hip-width apart. Your hips are lifted high towards the ceiling. Your body will look like an inverted “V”, with the hips being the highest point. Here you’re stretching your back and hamstrings. Your strengthening your whole body. Take a few breaths in this pose.

7.  When you’re ready, step to the top of the mat. This is an ancient sequence called Surya Namaskar, or the sun salutation. It is a wonderful way to move your body and invite in new and bright energy for the day.

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 A Conversation with Jennifer Montone 

How To Deal With Chop Concerns
How To Deal With Shoulder Injuries


What kind of bodywork practitioners can help me be a healthier player and more relaxed and mindful performer? Every area has great practitioners... My favorite kinds are:

  • Massage (deep tissue and Thai massage)

  • Alexander Technique

  • Rolfing

  • Feldenkreis

  • Physical Therapy (if you have any pain)

  • Cranial sacral chiropractor

  • Acupuncture (make sure it's a good one!)

Some of my favorite resources include:

Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Lederman helped me in my recovery from two different injuries that affected my playing fo many months.

Clinics for Performers
A comprehensive list of performing arts clinics in the USA.

Lip Service: Rehabilitation for the Injured Embouchure
Dr Vanderkolk and his colleagues have treated both colleagues and students of mine for lip injuries.

Resources for Chop Problems/Dystonia:

Invaluable list of resources. Specifically, Jan Kagarice and Dr. Stephen Frucht have helped students and colleagues of mine immensely.

Injury Recovery and Emotional Healing

Angela Bilger has created a warm and compassionate resource of interviews with some of our friends and colleagues who have battled and recovered from performance injuries. Some great practical tips and seriously inspiring stories here!

Below are additional options physical therapy and other medical and bodywork sources around Philadelphia

Medical Issues:  An Accidental Journey


Not all facial injuries affecting horn players are the result of overuse.  my injust was the result of a seemingly minor car accident.  Unfortunately, it affected my job as principal horn in the St. Louis symphony for most of a season; fortunately I am expected to completely recover.


International Horn Society - IHS Online 2005 October

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