Air comes out my nose

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetbeast, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. trumpetbeast

    trumpetbeast New Friend

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    Nov 17, 2010
    When I go to play my highest notes, air always squeezes through my nose. Not only does this waste the air I need to hit my notes, it irritates my sinuses so I have to stop to blow my nose. Some days this seems to happen more than others, but i dont know why. How can I fix this?
     
  2. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    Get yourself a teacher and have him/her analyse your problem. Quite possibly there might be a medical condition that needs to be attended to.
     
  3. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

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    As I so often am I'm with Barliman on this one. There was a thread a while ago about paralsys of something in the pharyngeal area causing this......or you could jut be blowing way too hard for your top notes. Either way you need a teacher to guide you here.
     
  4. tjcombo

    tjcombo Mezzo Forte User

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    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    I had the same problem in my first few years of playing. It tended to happen towards the end of a long night of band practice playing boring bomdebomdebom third cornet parts. I think it went away when I got a new teacher who taught me about breath support (and a little more about practice discipline).

    One of the problems here is that this is not a particularly common problem. As a 10 y.o. having no one who understood (or believed) me was a bummer.

    I think that the problem is called pharyngeal incompetence. If you Google this term and wind instrument you'll find a little more info.

    I'm neither a doctor or a teacher, but I believe in my case it was caused by tension above the shoulders due to poor technique. Others may have a more serious case. If you seek medical attention, I'd advise that you get a copy of some of the material on the 'net that specifically talks about this problem for wind musicians to show your doctor.
     
  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    What you are describing is "stress velopharyngeal insufficiency". In brief, it is a weakness of the velopharyngeal seal (muscles that prevent air from going up into your nose), and which comes out under times of stress (for example, when playing a trumpet or oboe).

    Assuming this is the case for you, it tends to come out when you play beyond your normal tolerances, when your embouchure is out of shape, when you are overplaying, or when you are playing incorrectly. Roughly 1/3 of all trumpet players have experienced this at one time or another (based on the published literature).

    If you search the web, you'll find a number of medical causes for velopharyngeal insufficiency. These includes a cleft palate and several neurologic diseases. These people may not be able to speak or swallow correctly. In these medical cases, there may be a place for surgical evaluation or help from a speech pathologist.

    If it only happens when you "play [your] highest notes", it is likely the "stress" version. In this case, you might benefit from certain exercises you can work to strengthen these muscles.

    For me personally, I've had a problem with this since the 5th grade after getting my tonsils and adenoids removed. It remains a problem for me to this day, albeit a manageable one.

    Mike
     
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi trumpetbeast,
    You stated:
    "When I go to play my highest notes, air always squeezes through my nose. Not only does this waste the air I need to hit my notes, it irritates my sinuses so I have to stop to blow my nose. Some days this seems to happen more than others, but i dont know why. How can I fix this?
    ------------------
    I've seen many people have this problem without it being a medical condition.
    Something to think about:
    Can you blow shoot a spitwad with a straw? Chances are, you can. When I was a kid, it was one of my favorite things to do. When you do this, did a bunch of air shoot out your nose? When you yell, does air come out your nose? When you blow out your birthday candles, did air come out your nose? I'm gonna go with....no.
    --
    While it's really tough to make a determination without being there, my guess is that you've gotten into the nasty habit of relaxing the area that keeps the air from escaping out the nose when you get to a certain range on the horn.
    Something to try:
    Stand in front of the mirror and play the C scale starting with low C and go as high as you can while maintaining a good sound. There's only two rules:
    1. Play soft (How soft is soft? I should be able to stand next to you and have a conversation with someone and not strain to talk or hear)
    2. No red faces. When you see and "feel" your face getting flush, ease up on the forcing. Stop forcing the air.
    ----
    This is what I've used on people who have had the same problem. It their case(as with yours), the air would start to come out of their noses when they got to a certain range.
    I hope this simple method helps your problems may go away.
    Dr.Mark
     
    coolerdave likes this.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Damn doctors and their needless surgeries! I say... off with their hands!
     
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Dayton, Ohio
    When you FINALLY come to hear me play at Little E's, I am telling the waitress, no soda's for you... Only coffee my friend, only coffee.
     
  9. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Maryland
    No argument here. ;-) Did you see the recent article on sham knee arthroscopy in NEJM? Of course, we're joking, and there's an important place for surgery. But as you already know Dr. O., when it comes to surgery, we're learning that less is sometimes more.

    After my surgery, I couldn't make a sound on my trumpet. Over a 6-month period, my teacher put me through a series of exercises to build up my velopharyngeal muscles. I won first chair the next year.

    While this problem can be frustrating, often the solution is good technique combined with certain exercises to strengthen the velopharyngeal area.

    Mike
     
  10. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi Gman,
    Holy smokes!! My tonsils were removed when I was in sixth grade and I had the air leakage problem for a while. My trumpet teacher suggested I play soft and take it easy. After a period of time I still had the leakage and I discovered that it was more based on psychology than surgery. Today I have no problems with range.
    Dr.Mark
    Hope to see you in Feb.
     

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