High Note Headaches

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TrumpEd, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. TrumpEd

    TrumpEd Pianissimo User

    Oct 9, 2008
    I've been playing for a long time but recently it seems that whenever I'm finished playing that involved high register work I get some pretty severe headaches.

    I been through all the tests the doctors can throw at you and they say it's nothing. Has anyone else had this problem? (I'm not looking for medical advice, just wondering if any of you other 'mature' players have experienced this.)
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  2. Trumpet guy

    Trumpet guy Forte User

    Feb 9, 2008
    It just mean's you're using a lot of air pressure rather than air speed. Your using too much of your face muscles to keep a huge volume of air going through the small aperture your mouth needs to play high notes. or it could be you're closing your throat off to play high notes.

    In a nut shell your working to hard. Warm up little by little at around piano to mezzo-piano range. From low C to middle C, D to D, E to E and so on until you get to A to A (assuming that is a comfortable area for you). continue and try to stay relaxed while you are doing this. never tense up. when you feel you have some troubles and start tensing up around the throat. take a break for 15-30 seconds and take deep breaths and whatever you need to open up your throat. And try not to get frustrated while working this. that causes tension as well. just work diligently and smartly.

    A good, efficient warm up can do wonders on your range and tone quality. this is just a basic guide to warming up. If your high note work is higher than the C above the staff, still try to stay relaxed but someone else will have to chime in with warm up exercises for that range.
  3. TrumpEd

    TrumpEd Pianissimo User

    Oct 9, 2008
    I've started to warm-up more than usual, I must admit I've cut down on that over the years.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There is no such thing as fast air when playing the trumpet.

    Headaches are a sign of tension or stress. A proper high range should not be either.

    I suspect that you use too much mouthpiece pressure which squeezes off the lips, requiring MORE air pressure to be able to play at all. This often happens to players that start playing high before they have earned it. The solution is to start practicing and performing smart. Your practice sessions should be at pianissimo - even in the upper register. That normally draws attention to all of the dumb things that have snuck into our playing!

    Brawn will NEVER beat the brain when it comes to playing. Testosterone has ruined many a trumpeteering career!
  5. sonicgeo2

    sonicgeo2 Pianissimo User

    I heard you go bald from playing in the upper register too often...:shock:
  6. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    Well, that explains it... and I thought it was genetics!

    Headache after playing in the upper register is bad... too much tension, pressure, stress... not enough air! Don't kill your brain cells! You might need 'em eventually! HAHA.
  7. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Headaches and blackouts are caused by over breathing, in other words trying to take in too much air and then over blowing , take a full but relaxed breath and hold back on the volume , the upper register cuts through a lot more than you think.When I was younger I used to get them too, but when I figured out what caused the headaches I never got them again ,that was thirty eight years ago.
  8. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    Too much air? I don't belive there is such a thing!!! :)

    I can understand the overblowin', but too much air?... HAHA Happy HOLYdays
  9. mellowmood_in_ventura

    mellowmood_in_ventura New Friend

    Dec 4, 2008
    Sometimes I give my trumpet a headache:lol:
  10. lovevixen555

    lovevixen555 Banned

    Nov 5, 2008
    As much as it pains me to do this I agree 100% with rowuk in this reguard. Too much tension and too much pressure with your mouth piece.

    I wrote about this a while back. You basicly need to track down where you are holding residual tension and learn to relax those parts of your body. Usualy it is in the arm's,shoulder,upper back and neck. Since you are already sitting down more then likely your circulation is already impaired as is add in a lot of tension as you try to muscle out the note's and your blood flow get's restricted and you blood pressure temporaly goes sky high. You body tries to reduce this by opening the periphal blood circuits more thennormal which put's pressure on nerves that normaly do not have pressure on them and bam headache!

    What I would recomend is that before you start your work inthe upper register put on some soft music like flute music with waterfall sounds etc..... Sit or stand very still and actively work on relaxing your scalp, then your eye's with them closed mind you, then your checks, then you entire face, then your throat and neck, then your shoulders etc........Do it top down so you do not have to memorize anything like the order top down makes it almost idiot proof. Take a few deep breaths and then shake out your limbs. Now get started playing. Any time you fill tension building in your arm's neck or should stop put your trumpet on the stand and stand up take three deep breaths and shake out the tension like a dog shakes water after a bath. The first part takes less then 5 minutes and the stopping to shake out the tension takes about 30 seconds. What will happen is in time you will feel the tension start to build and you will learn to relax before it get's to the point that you need to shake it out so in time you will not need to stop and take the deep breaths and shake it out.

    I recommend doing some relaxation exercise's either after playing or before bed for general good health. This is just as important to an artisit as it is an athlete. Everyone focus's on building their chops and the contractile function of the chop's ie buzzing but relaxing a muscle is just as much of a skill as contracting it is. In the athletic world you see a bigger difference between pro athletes and their did not make it counter part's in their ability to relax their muscles between contractions then their ability to contract a give muscle. By either naturaly doing it or learning to do it the athlete that keeps those muscles not needed at the moment relaxed has more endurance and energy and for his preffered skill or sport. All nervious tension bleeds energy like crazy fromt he body and usualy the more contracted the body the worse your fine motor skills get. If you have ever worked really hard like bailing hay or unloading a truck when you first get done your hands might be shakeing too much to sign your own name but 5 minutes latter after you have rested a bit you are fine. The same things happens to all the muscles includeing your chop's!

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