Leaking air through the nose - help

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by woo, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. woo

    woo New Friend

    Oct 19, 2005
    I have a student who is having problems with air leaking out his nose. I've tried numerous things to alleviate this. He is soo frustrated. He is my best student and it pains be to see him struggle with this. We had this problem last year but it resolved with emphasis on relaxing the back of the mouth and throat as well as using more abdominal support. I am pretty sure what happens is that instead of develping compression with the tongue and lips, he unconsciously closes off his glottis. It is the "diving reflex" that everyone has when you try to hold your breath. He is not holding his breath prior to blowing a note. It happens mainly when he compresses air for higher notes and when he tries to play loud. The leakage is shortly after he starts a note and especially when trying to sustain a higher note.

    ANY suggestions from you or the TM community would be much appreciated.

  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Actually you've got some soft palate isues going on. At the back and top of the mouth you've got that handy little flap of skin that helps introduce lovely little mucus items from your nose to your mouth. Ideally, that flap stays closed when we play and have a good amount of intra-oral pressure.

    You've had the experience of trying not to laugh but the laugh comes through your nose, right. Well, this is what's happening to your student. It's only a big deal when it doesn't seal right and, believe or don't, is nothing more than a bad habit that can be cured easily but it takes time and awareness. The awareness is the key.

    Have your student pretend to "not want to laugh" and build up the pressure in his mouth. In this game, he's to build up pressure gradually and not allow the "laugh to come through the nose". After a while you go back and forth from the nose to game to the horn until he gets the idea and it'll solve itself in a few days to a week. No big deal.

    There's always the possibility that there's an imperfect seal that might be part of his oral makeup. Unlikely, as you seemed to indicate this is a recent problem.

    Let me know in a couple of weeks,

  3. woo

    woo New Friend

    Oct 19, 2005
    Thanks again Manny. Your advice is always welcome and very valuable. Great having you on the TM. I will try it with my student and get back to you in a couple.
  4. Benjamin

    Benjamin New Friend

    Sep 30, 2004
    Montevideo, Uruguay
    I dealt with the same thing when I was in middle school. For me at least it had to do with a lot of tension in my throat. Closing the throat was a reflex to "trying" harder. The pressure would build up and the valve couldn´t handle the pressure and air would come out my nose. I don´t know if it is similar to what your student is experiencing, but if it is, then I might be able to help.

  5. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    You may want to contact David Hickman over at the TH. He addressed this issue and mentioned a Dr. in Madison named David Dibbell who deals with this problem. It involves a one hour surgery to remove some skin from the palate....he has seen this procedure succeed. Dr. Dibbel also addressed the issue as far back as 1977 in an ITG article.

    Best wishes

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