Headrush/headache after holding out high notes?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpetScreamer, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. TrumpetScreamer

    TrumpetScreamer New Friend

    Jun 29, 2008
    Well I have been really working on developing my range, power, and endurance in the last few months. I am currently able to hit a High C with alot of power and good tone. I can go higher, but after the high C, I begin to lose the power and strength. One of the problems I have been running into is after I hit a note like High C, or maybe the B before it, and hold it for about 5-10 seconds I get a short headache, normally developing in the back of my head. It goes away after about 5-10 seconds. Keep in mind this is after I have been playing scales for at least 10-15 minutes straight. After about the fourth or fifth headache, they become to painful for me to continue playing. The most annoying thing about it is that it begins to develop before my lips are tired, so I think it is restricting me from building my range.

    Is this normal? If so should I just work through it and eventually it will begin to come at later times?

    If not does anyone know what I could be doing wrong and how to stop it?


  2. MaynardTrumpet

    MaynardTrumpet Pianissimo User

    May 25, 2008
    It's all endurance, it'll all go away in time. Just takes practice, nothing more. Do it every day or every two, and it'll become natural in time. Happened to me as well, to I know how it is.
  3. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Headaches occur when you use too much pressure and are over breathing. Relax don`t tense up your body and don`t try to over power the horn.
  4. Miyot

    Miyot Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2007
    I am not a doctor, but this doesn't sound normal to me. I have suffered with migrain headaches all my life. Some very severe. Trumpet playing has never given me a headache. I believe I would see a doctor if I were you. It couldn't hurt and would at least give you piece of mind.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  5. Miyot

    Miyot Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2007
    TrumpetScreamer, after thinking about this, I want to be more forceful. Go see a doctor. You should not get any pain that would force you to stop playing. I had a friend who suffered with an anurism. It has changed his life. Had he paid attention to the warning signs, things would be much different for him. I don't want to scare you, its probably nothing. I once got an instant and severe headache while doing squats at a local gym. It was recomended I get a vascular brain scan, I did. Everything was normal. It never happened again. Go see about it.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    What you are doing is normal when you are playing high notes the wrong way. It is normal when trumpet players try to use range that they have not earned and it is normal that this will screw up your trumpet playing.

    What you describe gives me the indication that your chops are not prepared for the job and that your breathing is probably also not adequate. if your chops and breathing are working, your range doesn't just stop, the tone just keeps getting thinner. When you use unnecessary pressure, your range just stops after a particular note because you squeeze the lips off with force that your air can't compensate for.

    Do a search here at TM on "circle of breath". That should at least get you started on correct breathing. The chops part should be looked at by a decent teacher. I suspect that your face muscles are weak so the normal long tones and lip slurs played very softly would help most. Count on at least 3 - 6 months of dedicated work to improve your chops and range.

    What is your idea of "really working on range, power and endurance"? What have you been doing differently other than beating yourself up?

    If you keep up your present method of practice, you will pass out sometime, that is not good for you or the instrument.
  7. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    and then BREEEEEAAAATH some more
    like Rowuk said, its something in your playing
    Trumpet needs a lot of air, and it needs to be used properly.
    and going back to what miyot said, it shouldn't give you headaches. Last year i had bad migraines, and the only times they would go away was when i was playing.
  8. Graham

    Graham Pianissimo User

    Jun 8, 2008
    Melbourne, Australia
    After you play high notes in that manner, exhale and let your diaphragmatic muscles all RELAX VERY SLOWLY. The backpressure that is generated up there by the air-pressure your using makes a lot of blood rush up to your head, and if you let all of it drop suddenly, it's not pleasant. People have been known to pass out that way.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  9. TrumpetScreamer

    TrumpetScreamer New Friend

    Jun 29, 2008
    Thanks a ton! That sounds logical and I will definitely try doing that next paractice session! :D
  10. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    From what I have read in previous posts I would think that you should be more relaxed through your whole range. Circle of breathing is good. Google David Monette's website and search out the centred breathing approach, it deals principally with posture and has made my playing much, much, much, easier all through my (somewhat limited) range - #F to A above the staff.

Share This Page