Tilting your head?

How and what to teach and learn.
Post Reply
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:54 am

Tilting your head?

Post by henrikbe » Fri May 04, 2018 7:06 am


When I was a kid, I tilted my head quite heavily to the left (towards the instrument on my shoulder), and I got some comments on it, but most people said I'd grow out of it (if that's the correct expression).

Now, taking up the trombone again as an adult, I figured this shouldn't be an issue anymore, since the weight of the instrument compared to my body weight is much lower, but I just noticed that my head is still tilted while playing. Not so much as before, but maybe 10-15 degrees. Is this common, or is it just me? Would I be better off trying to keep my head straight?
Posts: 289
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm
Location: Detroit area

Re: Tilting your head?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Fri May 04, 2018 8:08 am

Probably. I suspect that much of the time when people develop little quirks like this it isn't just random, but to be able to reach the mouthpiece reasonably with how the trombone sits on the neck/shoulder. Have you tried holding trombones with different width slides?
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
Posts: 404
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 am
Location: central Virginia

Re: Tilting your head?

Post by timothy42b » Fri May 04, 2018 8:16 am

I don't think it's that important to be straight, but it is important to have the right angle to your chops, and these things all affect each other.
Nobody's mouth is completely symmetrical, so we play at different angles left and right, up and down. For a given range there is an angle that's best for response and tone. That angle changes a bit as we move through the ranges. Some people move the horn/mouthpiece, others keep the horn still and adjust their head.
So what I think is that if you artificially force yourself into a "correct" posture based on what it looks like in the mirror, you might be hurting your playing. If your playing is better at a different tilt, that's okay. Take a look at Chris Botti, he plays out of the side of his mouth but it's right for him.
Anyway, your tilt as a youngster might not have been because of a heavy horn, but because it worked. Maybe.
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:55 am
Location: UK

Re: Tilting your head?

Post by LoremIpsum » Mon May 07, 2018 2:08 am

I cannot justify stating how I would straighten everythign out as I am not a pro player or a teacher and am loath to potentially give bad advice. However, I have exactly the same trait including the decrease in the angle as time has gone on. In my case, I am pretty sure that the instrument itself doesn't matter now; I may have learnt it on my Bb/F cannon but I do something similar on my light medium bore trombone. It has never been mentioned in a negative way (at worst it is just an aesthetical statement) and I have so many other things to fix that it will probably be a quirk until I finish playing. The only reason that I would change it now is if an experienced teacher told me that my current set up would lead to significant neck/shoulder problems in the next 30 years.
User avatar
Posts: 1287
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Tilting your head?

Post by BGuttman » Mon May 07, 2018 3:33 am

For what it's worth, I've seen an awful lot of sax players who tilt heads.

If it doesn't affect your playing, don't worry.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
Doug Elliott
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:12 pm

Re: Tilting your head?

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue May 08, 2018 5:16 pm

It will affect your neck more than your playing. Holding your neck in an unnatural position for extended periods of time is never a good idea.
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 1:37 pm

Re: Tilting your head?

Post by ebrenner » Thu May 17, 2018 8:18 pm

the_glenn_miller_story_5_stewart.jpg (26.88 KiB) Viewed 1063 times
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: Tilting your head?

Post by baileyman » Sat May 19, 2018 9:41 am

http://abelincolntrombone.com/images/Ca ... 20copy.jpg

If you tilt like this, and sound like him, heck who cares?
Post Reply

Return to “Teaching & Learning”