"I stick my neck out for nobody" H. Bogart...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    Does your neck puff when you play high notes? Do you get so embarrassed that you feel like growing a beard to cover it up (as did Al Hirt, true story)? Do you buy shirts with huge collars in order to allow expansion?

    Do you worry about your neck, throat etc? Had physical pain associated with it?

    Next: How does your neck puff? Like is it a general billowing like a bullfrog or a localized, nasty expansion like a bubble?

    This from Wikipedia:

    Laryngocele refers to a congenital anomalous air sac communicating with the cavity of the larynx, which may bulge outward on the neck. [SUP][1][/SUP]
    It may also be acquired, seen in glassblowers due to continual forced expiration producing increased pressures in the larynx which leads to dilatation of the laryngeal ventricle. It is also seen in people with chronic obstructive airway disease. Laryngocele - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Delightful concept ((heavy cynicism intended). When my throat/neck first started to expand I was about 15 years old or so. Coincided with the occurrence of my first solid High F's G's and A's etc. Concerned and frightened, i went to the mirror and sure enough there it was. Puffing like a bullfrog. It being so long ago I can't quite recollect if my neck puff was present on my first loud screamer note or if it developed over a period of time. My guess is that it was probably there from the start.

    So i went and asked Bill Chase what his thoughts were. He replied:

    "My neck just goes out. i can't do anything about it".

    That was a relief. And sure enough at his concert that evening his neck REALLY EXPANDED outwards. Even bigger than my own. I observed this in Biviano blowing lead w/Maynard's band a few weeks later. In his younger days Lin resembled Chase both in physique and neck. Both Italians from Boston.

    Eventually I got rid of my neck puff. In the Spring of 1997 i felt something nasty "pop" in my throat cartilage during a loud series of high note long tone on stage. Not only did the throat stretching hurt at the time but continued to hurt even when i was not playing.

    Swallowing and talking were at least moderately painful for a few days. Couldn't blow my nose due to pain.

    Good thing i didn't have a cold. So i took a month off and reviewed Donald Reinhardt's "Encyclopedia of the Pivot System" pages 69 and 70. An excellent set of exercises can be found there. the book valuable if only just for those two pages.

    Afterwards i invented a few more exercises to help along the way. Within a month after returning to the trumpet I got my solid High G back at full volume but without any serious throat expansion. These days some folks consider me the :"informal internet expert on neck puffs". Thanks a lot guys (even more cynicism intended). Not very often but at times i get e-mails and messages from all kinds of cats who have trouble with their necks expanding.

    Some have no pain or physical damage but are just sh-t scared.

    Others have done damage and are limiting their trumpet playing to under a High C or so to avoid continued pain/harm.

    Watch out for these kinds of ignorant replies to follow (and they are ALL B/S)

    "It's all caused by bad breathing"

    "You're not keeping your throat open enough" (believe me there is no more of an open throat than that of someone with a HUGE NECK PUFF)

    "There's is no harm caused by puffing your neck"(yes in some cases this is true. In others it is not. Is largely the luck of the draw)

    "It is impossible to cure a neck puff"
    . (even after I show them a video of myself playing a High G both with and without puffing my neck)

    And so on. I find myself needing to take a deep breath every time I read ill founded posts on T/M.

    "Count to ten first Local. It's all good. Don't get pissed and put the numbskulls down publicly"

    A few years after I corrected my neck puff I kibitzed a bit with the noted east coast pro player and disciple of Donald Reinhardt Mr. Chris LaBarbera. Monster player and one of the most knowledgeable cats about trumpet technique in the world. Well worth going to hear and meet if you ever get the chance. So I quizzed Chris about what Donald Reinhardt's thoughts were regarding the neck puff. Specifically about pages 69 - 70 in the "Encyclopedia of the Pivot System". He said:

    "Doc told me that he thought these exercises would work but he'd never found a case study to try them on"

    Well what do you know? I was the first to apply these ideas of Reinhardts. Go figure. Anyway if you feel like contributing I'd be glad to read your thoughts. Meanwhile I know a good source for size 20 neck collars. The ones in "Extra Fat" size. If you ever feel the need...

    This isn't the best video of a neck puff but always a good listen. Chase in Japan 1972

    Chase "Open Up Wide" LIVE Japan 1972 - YouTube

    Rest in peace you are STILL loved Bill.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012

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