One of the difficulties of teaching the horn, or any wind instrument for that matter, is that tone production and the muscles involved therein, are mostly invisible to us. By contrast, consider the more obvious physicality as a pianist strikes a key, a string player draws a bow, or a percussionist wields a mallet. It comes as no surprise that for wind and brass players there is so much misinformation and so many misconceptions about breathing and supporting, the most basic elements of tone production.

David Nesmith’s ‘Breathing Book’ is a welcome addition to any horn player’s library. Too often horn players dwell on the role of the embouchure and overlook the importance of relaxed, efficient breathing and exhaling. Mr. Nesmith provides the reader with not only a wealth of information and facts about our breathing anatomy, but lays out a clearly guided path of self discovery, leading to a tension free system of playing the horn. His unique experience as a certified Alexander Technique instructor and a professional hornist, combined with his communication skills make this a must read!

Erik Ralske
Principal horn
Metropolitan Opera 

ERIK RALSKE PHOTOErik Ralske was appointed by Maestro James Levine as Principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at the start of the 2010-2011 season, after declining an invitation by Gustavo Dudamel to become Principal horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Previously, he was Third horn and later Acting Associate Principal horn of the New York Philharmonic for 17 seasons.

Mr. Ralske is on the faculty of The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School.