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Medical Problems of Brass Instrumentalists: Prevalence Rates for Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, and Low Brass


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Chesky, K.
Journal Title: Medical Problems of Performing Artists
Date Published: 2002
Language: English
Category: Multiple Medical Disorders
Key Words: medical problems brass musician instrumental trumpet horn trombone low brass
Full Citation: Chesky, Kris, Karendra Devroop, and James Ford. Medical Problems of Brass Instrumentalists: Prevalence Rates for Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, and Low Brass. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 17, no.2 (2002): 93-98.
Full Abstract: The prevalence rates and the severity of the medical problems of brass musicians vary according to the specific demands of each instrument. The side of the body affected is specific to the side of the body that positions the instrument, causes the proper compression against the lips, stabilizes the horn, and manipulates the valves or slide. In trumpet playing both hands stabilize the horn and position it securely against the embouchure. The right hand operates the valves. It is the right side fingers, hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulder, side of neck, side of upper back and lower back that have a high prevalence rating of medical problems. 76% of the brass musicians are males with 4.11 years of college music experience, who practice 2.5 hours a day and exercise 3.5 hours a week. 61% of the brass players in this study report one or more musculoskeletal problems. Among the brass instruments, trumpet players report the lowest prevalence rate of having one or more musculoskeletal problems at 53%. The prevalence ratings in many cases are more than twice as high in females. 25% of female trumpet players report having right hand problems. Males report 10.6% having right hand problems. The prevalence rating of blackouts, dizziness, headaches, and loss of lip control are highest in trumpet and French horn players. This shows the correlation between the physical demands of playing at higher frequencies which require higher intraoral pressures and mouthpiece forces.