Dizzy from Upper Register

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trmpt_plyr, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. trmpt_plyr

    trmpt_plyr Pianissimo User

    Jun 12, 2009
    I played a really high note for a long time today, and the blood in my head went crazy. What happened, and can this cause one to pass out?
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Not likely - Simply try closing your nose and mouth and forcing some air into your mouth so that it 'pressurizes' your head like when you were playing high notes. You may find that you have the same dizzy sensation after a few seconds of holding it like that. If you became too light-headed, you would start to breathe again before passing out. I had the same sensation when I started my comeback playing but each time, I would relax until it passed and then play long, soft notes for awhile. Each time, I could play the high notes longer and the rest period between became shorter so now it is not a problem anymore. Your breathing just needs to become more balanced so that air is always flowing instead of becoming backed up in your lungs.
  3. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Just keep your air moving and don't try to force the upper register.
  4. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    While Come-Back Kid is right that it is unlikely, it is not unheard of for people to pass out while playing in a manner which restricts blood flow to the brain, so be careful.

    S. Coomer is also right when saying "don't try to force the upper register." High notes should just be other notes we play, not some weird foreign land we venture into from time to time.

    Use a system that has been worked out over a long period of time so that the people who developed them know that they work -- the James Stamp warmups for example, or the Thompson Buzzing Book, or the Reinhardt Routines. And read as much as you can about whichever one you use and then follow the instructions implicitly and do the work every day. Extremes of range, high or low, can't be rushed and also be any good.

    It all comes down to air-flow, not muscle power, so working carefully and regularly to build up your air flow is the way to increase your range.

    People who play well in the upper register can do it all night and can sound as strong at the end of the night as they did at the start, because they aren't wearing out their muscles doing it.

    Bud Herseth told in an interview of an early encounter with Fritz Reiner, when Herseth started with the Chicago Symphony. There was a work with a high and exposed solo for the prinicipal trumpet. They rehearsed that section and then Reiner stopped them and told them to start back at the measure where the solo began. Herseth had played the passage perfectly the first time, so he shrugged and got ready to do it again. Again he played it perfectly. Reiner stopped and called for it again. After a couple more times the other members of the orchestra were beginning to gasp, knowing that Reiner was trying to break this young kid in the trumpet section. A couple more times and the tension was palpable in the hall, according to Herseth. When Reiner called for the passage yet again Herseth said, "I looked at my watch and I looked at Reiner and I said 'I'm here until 4 o'clock.'" and then he played it perfectly yet again. Reiner stopped trying to break him after that time through the passage, and Herseth said he never had any trouble from Reiner again after that.

    For many of us the upper register becomes a Mecca, a badge of honor, which we try to grab without really earning it by forcing ourselves to play it. patience and practice are the only way to go, mainly concentrating on air-flow. The higher notes will come when all the mechanisms are in place, and one day you'll try for a note you've had problems hitting in the past and it'll pop out so easily you'll think you've missed the note. That's when you know you're making real progress.
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Don't try to play too loud in the upper register, your over breathing , trying to use too much air, and yes you can pass out, remember it takes less air to play high notes than it does to play low notes, the upper register air needs more velocity and arched tongue, not more air.
  6. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Well, it's probably more common than you think. It's usually the guys who want to hold out what they think is a Maynard/Bergeron/Doc type high note at the end of a tune. Unfortunately they usually can't play like Maynard, Wayne, or Doc, so they go out. Usually just for a few seconds, but definitely out. Like so:

    YouTube - Trumpet Player Passout

    MTROSTER Piano User

    Jan 25, 2007
    As a doctor, Ive commented on this problem before. You are doing what is called a Valsalva maneuver which is due to forced expiratory effort against a closed airway.This increases pressure in your chest and decreases blood return to the heart and consequently cardiac output. It also decreases coronary blood flow. Thsi can have serious consequences as it impedes bolld flow to the brain and that is what is making you dizzy. If it happens repeatedly it can have serious permanent effects. I would say there is something wrong with your technique. I would check this out with a good teacher. Cerebral damage can impair you permanently,or relegate you to playing trombone.:-P
  8. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Oooohhh! That's good!. Let's see the trombone players try to top that one.
  9. hichez

    hichez Pianissimo User

    Jul 13, 2009
    I know what you mean but saying saying "too much air" is kind of misleading.
  10. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    A new piece of challenging music can demand you to push yourself physically forward at times, and catch you off guard, even.
    Grab that pencil, and start marking comments on that sheet, and places to breathe.

    Some charts truly are an excruciating trial of endurance, like a tri-athalon, but without intent (?) .

    When all else fails, let the rest of the section cover, unless you're making the big money.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009

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