Air Escaping Through Nose

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by misty.sj, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

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    I'm trying to self-diagnose a problem. I've only been playing for less than a week, and I think the root cause of the problem is fatigue-related. Anyway here goes:

    1. When playing higher notes (for me right now, that is toward the top of the staff from E to G) I can feel my throat clenching. I think I'm unconsciously trying to create extra back-pressure. Maybe this is an artifact of having played French horn for so many years. What can I do to relax it? I've tried moving my jaw forward but that doesn't seem to do much. Filling up with a lot of air helps, but then I can't play soft and I feel like I have less control.

    2. When I'm tired, which right now is after about 15-20 minutes of continuous practice, some air starts escaping up through the holes from my mouth to my nose. I don't know what those are called (I thought they were the eustachian tubes but now I'm not sure). I remember this being an occasional problem when I was straining at the top of my range before (my range was at least an octave higher then, but anyway). An annoying side-effect of this is nasal drainage down my throat while I'm playing, which means lots of distracting coughing and swallowing. Ick.

    Am I just pushing myself too hard, or is something seriously wrong with my technique? :dontknow:
     
  2. Miyot

    Miyot Pianissimo User

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    An unqualified answer. Since you played French horn for yrs. I'm surprised you are having troubles. You should be able to play softly with a full breath.
    Fatigue could be a problem with air leaking thru your nose. But I would think a concious effort to not let this happen would quickly fix this leakage. You could have a problem with you soft palate, but I doubt it. Find a teacher who can watch you play, and offer some real help. I'm sure you can get this to quickly resolve.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    Second piece of GROP (Generally Recommended Operating Procedure): rest as much as you play. At the beginning, numerous 5-min sessions throughout the day will help you to build up rather than break down the muscles. My teacher was disappointed, I think, by my lack of gratitude when he told me at the first lesson that I didn't have to blow a straight 30 min for practice to count, but by then, I'd been lurking here for a month or more and seen it recommended to every comeback player.
     
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Try to recreate the blow-by problem without playing. If you can vocalize while doing it, listen to the sound your voice makes, and it will most likely sound like a frog getting strangled (yes, I've done it, the frog thing, so I do know what sounds they make). Try to recreate the effect using the syllable "toh" or "tuh" or "tah" or even "tee." Odds are you won't be able to, and with time and good use of your air the high notes will come loud (and soft!) and clear.

    Good luck!
     
  6. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

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    I think this problem is mostly sorted now. A combination of building endurance, getting used to the back-pressure again, and conscious thinking has really helped. I've hardly noticed this the last few times I've practiced. I just thought I'd give an update. :)
     
  7. Jude

    Jude Piano User

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    Thanks, Misty - problems get proposed, solutions are offered - and then, often, you never learn how it all works out. Especially for someone searching on "air escaping through the nose" in the future it will be helpful to find this. (Boy, the trumpet sure feels and sounds different from the horn, no?)
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2008
  8. misty.sj

    misty.sj Forte User

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    It does feel different, but as it was my first instrument, it feels 'normal.' I don't know that I ever completely settled into the horn, even though I earned my bread from it in college. I always had to remind myself how the fingerings differed, etc.

    The trumpet does feel like it has a smaller workable range though. I miss that lower register. I can't do pedal tones again yet, so I am stuck with low F# as my bottom note.
     
  9. Trumpet guy

    Trumpet guy Forte User

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    i think that it's a natural reaction to have air coming out of your nose. your nose and mouth are both connected to the same air tunnel so it's just a matter of using a deeper breath so the air doesn't travel up to the nose when you're blowing out.
     

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