Ed, I usually don't "repost" complete topics from other sites, but I know that there are different audiences between TM, TH and TPIN, and it's fun to see how the same topic can take completely different directions. I just submitted this to the TH site... Let's see how it develops here as well. I just wanted to share some random thoughts that I’ve been having concerning strength and balance. It seems like many posts talk about achieving a powerful sound, or the strength required to play in a certain register of the horn. Many posters will then offer suggestions to “strengthen” a particular aspect of the original poster’s playing set up. And then the original poster will respond sometime later that they have diligently taken this strengthening advice and shown some marginal improvement in that area of their playing. I even can’t count how many times I’ve read this type of topic over the years on these forums. In the last several months, my sons have all moved to a new gymnastics facility that recently opened in Chandler, Arizona. My boys are in different classes that are age appropriate (from 3 year olds to 6 year olds). In this brand new, fantastic facility, there are kids of all ages working out in the same area (up to high school, and maybe even a few college age gymnasts). I am amazed at some of the strength aspects that I see in many of these young athletes. My six-year-old is able to “climb the rope” about halfway to the top. This rope is attached to the ceiling of the two story high gym and is easily 30 feet high. He uses both his hands and feet and a technique that is quite common among the kids his age (my five-year-old can’t climb higher than his coach can help him – just like my six-year-old was last year). There are kids that are in the second grade that can climb the rope to the top (with no feet)! They keep their feet in a pike position and simply use their arms hand over hand to get to the top. Once they can do that, they climb up the rope upside down (I’m not making this up – these kids are just phenomenal with several years of “strength” training under their belts). They also do lots of pushups, sits-ups, leg lifts, etc. This strength work is only one aspect of being successful at gymnastics. The other major area of “technique” is of course balance. Balance is part of everything that my boys do at gymnastics. Even my 3-year-old will jump off a tall mat and be instructed to “stick” his landing. And he has lots of fun saying, “Tah Dah” and putting his arms up in the air when he lands with both feet together. You don’t need any specialized “strength” to begin working on this aspect of gymnastics. I was especially impressed at something that I saw last week. There was a class of boys that were probably in the 5th or 6th grade who had not been enrolled in classes before. They were all working on handstands with their instructor, and while they all had the physical strength to accomplish this task, strength is clearly not the most important element that is needed to perform a great handstand. They were all throwing their hands down at the mat and kicking their feet in the air and getting most of the way up to vertical, and it was the rare attempt that actually ended in a real hand stand for anything than more than a second or two. Looking across the gym, the high schools girls on the balance beam were doing back handstands with apparent ease, and “no wobbling”. There was a college student that demonstrated handstands for the boys, and he very slowly bent over, put his hands on the mat and lifted his legs to a vertical position. He demonstrated both great strength and balance. The point of this very long story is simply that the mindset of many young brass players these days, is that strength is the major aspect that needs to be pursued to achieve their goals. I know that I was of this mindset for the majority of my playing years! Balance should be a major component in everyone’s playing day with respect to sound production! In this metaphor, How many players fall down when executing a back handstand on the balance beam and then consider that they need to be stronger to accomplish their goal? In the reading that I have done here and at other sites, strength is the answer that is presented to help this player the majority of the time. Resonance is our balance! Learn about it! Apply it every day in your practice sessions! What was once unattainable, will suddenly come into focus, and become part of your regular accomplishments.