Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tjm127, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Ahhh read my post above... Yes you are doing something tehnically incorretly and the problem is mentioned in my post above. I'm a doctor... I know these things.

    Stop wondering... the answer is NOT!
  2. tjm127

    tjm127 New Friend

    Jan 22, 2011
    Yeah, didn't think there were any :p I did read your post, gmonady, of course, I just wasn't positive if that constituted something technically wrong or just an unorthodox technique. I'm not really sure how to STOP performing a valsalva maneuver, considering I'm not sure how I'm doing it (not typically aware of my glottis and what it's doing) or how I got into the habit of doing so, but I guess that's what tooling around in the practice room is for...
  3. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    I've stopped replying to "valsalva" threads. But I'm glad Robin brought this up.

    Let me first say, that the advice given about proper technique and the valsalva issues are likely what is going on for tjm127.


    Tjm127 feels that his playing is "back to normal" and that he is playing typical music for him. But in spite of being at his baseline, he is having this new set of symptoms.

    New cardiovascular symptoms in a player who is at his/her baseline, and which can't be confirmed by his/her teacher as being a technical issue, should be evaluated by a physician.

    I'm saying this as a physician. Gary, the other physician in this thread, I'm sure would agree.

    Again, I suspect that it's just a bad habit that crept in, or maybe tjm127 is playing outside his current abilities. His teacher should confirm this. But if his teacher confirms that he is at his baseline, is playing typical music for him, but now has new unexplained symptoms, he should see a physician.

  4. tjm127

    tjm127 New Friend

    Jan 22, 2011
    TrumpetMD, I don't have a teacher (I've never had lessons). And I know I wasn't playing outside of my abilities, I hit those notes at that volume and intensity at every rehearsal and show we do. I think it's probably door number 1, that I'm not quite yet back to my baseline...I feel like I am, but I guess the player himself is a pretty lousy evaluater of his own progress. And the notes are high even if I AM one hundred percent; a double forte D above double C after an hour of playing is tough no matter HOW good you feel.

    I guess the question is, then, assuming it's a bad habit that's compensating for some kind of not-quite-back-to-normalness, what's the best way to break it? Do I just need to be more aware of the tension in my glottal area, so I can work on relaxing it?
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    as far as health issues go, I believe that there ARE a few. First of all, there are several things that lead to the high tension state before you pass out.

    Generally, players that use range that they have not earned, use pressure and tension. The mouthpiece is mashed into the lips and we have to blow harder, the muscles are not properly synchronized with breathing and body use, we increase the tension to compensate. Those things together are very stressful AND like most human habits are learned and stored - preventing further development.

    If you do pass out, there is reasonable doubt that you and your horn will survive unscathed.

    Other things to consider: Blood pressure (been there - done that - major causes: sleep apnea, sodium). High blood pressure can produce similar results.

    The reason that I am harsh on the self proclaimed high school expert is that not even the successful chop docs have an internet recipe for fixing what the thread owner is talking about. When diagnosing something that leads to passing out, instructions from a cereal box are not really helpful. The implications for ones future playing are significant,. We really need to figure out what is required from the bottom up. A bandaid does not aid healing - it just covers up the wound and hopes that the important issues were addressed before the cover up.

    To play lead, there is a physical side that should be properly trained. That involves a very relaxed upper body and as little pressure as possible on the upper lip. We use pressure because it generally works - until our bodies scream for mercy. When we use less pressure on the chops, our range and endurance get worse because those factors compensated for something else missing in our playing - very often breath support. Hitting high notes is MUCH different than being able to place them when they are required. Owning the upper register does not mean infinite power, range and endurance. Above all it means even in the heat of the gig, being able to hear the little voice of reason inside you that keeps your playing predictable instead of animal. Loss of control leads to more pressure and more compensation in many bad ways.

    So your path to a more reliable top end will first involve training body use, then breathing, then perhaps chops and attitude studies. This is best accomplished by working with players success doing what you would like to. IT is also best done outside of performing season as the patch is usually not "instant".
  6. tjm127

    tjm127 New Friend

    Jan 22, 2011
    Really quick: I have NOT passed out ever while playing, nor do I feel as though I've ever gotten close. I've felt dizzy for three or four seconds, but I've never passed out. I just wanted to make that absolutely clear.

    Rowuk: thanks for the detailed post. I do not have blood pressure issues, and I feel I have "earned" the range I have - while I have not had lessons, I have played alongside/in front of professionals who have told me that I had very strong command and control over my high stuff. (That's not to say I'm any great shakes overall, because I'm not, but it is to say that at this one aspect of trumpet playing, I'm confident that I'm able to "place rather than hit" as you describe).

    That said, all of your comments are very well taken. After all, even if I sound good, it's quite possible that I'm using poor technique without being aware of it. It was poor technique (too little upper lip and too much pressure on the teeny bit of it that was inside the mouthpiece) that caused me to hurt myself in the first place a bit over a year ago; since then I've self-shifted my embouchure (more upper lip then previously) so that that doesn't happen again. Maybe I'm pressing more to compensate for the embouchure shift; I sound the same as I did, but that doesn't mean I'm getting there as efficiently, and maybe I'm using shortcuts without meaning to. Man, wouldn't THAT stink :roll:

    This would be easier if I had a teacher. Alas, they are costly, and alas, I am in college and poor :roll: I'm almost tempted to ignore the issue, but I would feel pretty dumb about that the minute I eventually cross the "point of no return"...
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    what I am saying is that these symptoms are not unusual. The underlying "problems" are also common - especially for players without a solid foundation. Natural talent means vulnerability especially with no guiding hand from within. It does not take a lot to clamp off the chops or upper body which causes the body to twist things to meet expectations. That is what I was talking about.
  8. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    While dizziness is not a problem yet, it could become one. I would get some advice from some of the pros you play with. My first instinct is to say that you are blowing too hard with too much air. try backing off and relaxing.

    As far as the red face, it's not necessarily a problem. Like Herseth I turn very red when I play really strong. But I playing correctly. But I've always turned red. Yours just started and seems to be linked with the lightheadedness you feel. Something is backing up on you. Find a knowledgeable person who can watch you play.
  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    It's the same with my old trumpet teacher from the symphony .... His face turns red without much effort when he plays, usually. I asked him about it and he said that he's just always been like that. In his case, it doesn't mean he's doing anything wrong, in fact he's first trumpet in the symphony, a longtime professor of trumpet at the University here, as well as personnel director of the symphony (last time I checked, there was a trumpet spot open in the Rogue Valley Symphony).

  10. Steve Hollahan

    Steve Hollahan Pianissimo User

    May 31, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    The effect you are describing is hyperventilation. Oxygen is forced into the lungs by the pressure of playing in the high register. This is the cause of the light headedness and can cause you to pass out. You might lose this feeling as you get back into playing, but be aware of it so you don't pass out alone or at all. Stop practicing and sit down. Breath evenly until you are not dizzy any more. And be careful.

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