A while back, I said that I would write a review of the Ergobone support system for trombonists. I’ve used the Ergobone some myself and had my students try it as well. Last year, teaching at the public music school, I had a few young students for whom the trombone was too heavy and long. They should have started on the alto trombone but I was only a substitute for a year. The Ergobone helped them play more comfortably and with a better sound. I recommended that they purchase the Ergobone but my year was coming to an end and they were getting a new teacher so I don’t know if they followed through. As whether or not to start students with the support I’m still not sure. How will they develop the strength to hold the trombone later on? Maybe this needs to be addressed separately, away from the horn.
As for my own experiences, I can say that I liked having the support and my left arm was more relaxed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the mouthpiece to sit quite the way I needed with the Ergobone. I found myself tensing elsewhere in my neck to get my head in the right place, which caused other kinds of problems. Additionally, because I like to take the mouthpiece out frequently to buzz while I’m practicing, I found having to “mount and dismount” the horn each time too cumbersome.
I agree with the idea behind the Ergobone but still enjoy holding the horn the usual way. Maybe my habits are too engrained but I finally went back to the tried and true. There are ways to develop posture and strength to compensate for holding the heavy horn. Just look at all the wonderful players who hold heavy horns and play beautifully.
Al the best, John Tarr