Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Music and Dramatic Arts

Document Type



The purpose of this study is to present how the Alexander Technique can be used as a practice aid for horn players. In this document, I have proposed that the Alexander Technique can be a tool students use to achieve efficient and effective practice sessions. Students who have a clear understanding of the Alexander Technique would be aware of their body and mind, such as physical tension and mental thought processes, while performing. The intention of this dissertation is to use standard repertoire as a means of learning how the Alexander Technique can assist a student practicing these works.

I have reached out to college-level horn teachers and orchestral members who teach privately in the United States. Through a provided questionnaire and optional phone interview, the responses discussing both physical and mental habits were recorded. After reviewing the responses, I selected the habits mentioned most by horn teachers that could benefit from the Alexander Technique.

I then reached out to Alexander Technique teachers to discuss the responses received from horn teachers. I discussed which concepts the teacher might use in a lesson with a student who is dealing with the identified habits. I also discussed with the Alexander Technique teachers their experiences working with horn players or instrumentalists.

The selected works are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Horn Concerto No. 4 in E- flat, K. 495: first movement Allegro maestoso, Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, op. 47: first movement Moderato-allegro non troppo low horn tutti (Rehearsal 17- Rehearsal 21), Johannes Brahms Horn Trio in E-flat, op. 40: third movement Adagio mesto. I received 21 responses from horn teachers and 10 responses from Alexander Technique teachers.

Alexander Technique does not answer all problems in playing the horn. No one technique does. However, it is my assertion that many performers can benefit from using the Alexander Technique as a practice tool in standard pieces. This research is intended to offer an open, clear understanding of how the Alexander Technique can improve the quality of a musician’s practice, refine their overall playing technique, and directly impact one’s long-term viability as a performer.



Committee Chair

Orgel, Seth