High Note Headaches

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

  1. toms@rockisland

    [email protected] New Friend

    Oct 15, 2009
    friday harbor, wa
    Yes. I too have been getting headaches- for about 24 hrs. after playing. That is why I joined this forum. I have played since Jr. High and am now 70 - stage band, brass quintet, trad. jazz band, church gospel band, and practice regularly. But I'm afraid I might have to give up my passion - trumpet playing. I don't want to have a stroke!

    I'm going to switch to one of my cornets and see if blowing less air is the answer.
  2. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    As a younger player I used to get headaches after playing at the top of my range. It happened frequently, but I needed the money, so I kept playing. The headache was intense and short-lived, like a "brain freeze". This was in the days before the internet (we used to sit around the cave and play) so advice was limited to people in my vicinity. I started analyzing WHY these headaches kept occurring. For me, I decided that the cause of MY headaches was tension in the air passageway of my throat. Once I consciously relaxed the throat, the headaches went away. I rarely experience them now, and when I do I relax and they stop. Hope this helps.
  3. TrumpetMonk

    TrumpetMonk Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2009
    West virginia
    Yea, I don't believe in OVER BREATHING. Air is as playing a trumpet as gas is to driving a car. But you're blowing TOO hard, not fast. Think as if your air is only going 20mph, then you want to just increase it to 30mph. Also, I know a huge problem I have is I tend to try TOO hard to get a breath, thus tensing up. Sometimes our strength is our weakness
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Speed has nothing to do with it and never will- The problem is far more simple.

    Playing well (in addition to high),m means that there is equilibrium between what you want, what your body does and what the horn accepts.

    Perceived resistance from the horn is normally not the horn at all, rather the player trying to force the issue without having earned the chops. That causes the player to try and get the notes without enough "synergy" between breathing and coordination of the face muscles and tongue. Often that means too much pressure on the lips needing "hammer" tonguing to get the notes started and air pressure galor to keep the note going. Intelligent practice to remove the force makes the mechanics work. The only thing holding the player back then is the brains to do the right thing.

    Headaches just mean that you have evidence of your bad approach. Too much force with too little results.

    Strength is never our weakness. Impatience is. If we temper strong with common sense, we generally have a winning team. If we are stupid, well we are just stupid.

    High notes do not need fast anything, or incredible power. They simply need brains. That is what you all need to work on. Playing smart (which will generally focus on the musically important low and mid register instead of the freak show top octave).
  5. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    TrumpEd says:
    "recently it seems that whenever I'm finished playing that involved high register work I get some pretty severe headaches"

    I would suggest not sporatically playing in the extreme register. Make playing in the extreme register a part of your practice routine BUT! only a little. 95% in the regular register and 5% in the extreme register.
    Also, when you play in the extreme register, may I suggest thinking of it as more like walking a tight rope.
    Let me explain:
    As you know, pressure and tension are bad things in any register. In the extreme register, you have to pay even MORE attention to pressure and tension creeping in. Once you find that "center" where you're using little effort and screaming your pants off, you gotta make sure you don't become "uncentered" and slip off the rope and start using tension and pressure. You have to learn to recognize pressure and tension and learn how to deal with it. Remember, 5%.

Share This Page