Sinusus Letting air through...?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by GideonRichter, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. GideonRichter

    GideonRichter New Friend

    Oct 23, 2011
    So lets let's role play.

    Say you playing along but oh no! a sudden high note appears. (Or really any note after a while)
    and to air you so preciously need escapes through your sinuses (Roof of your mouth) and out your nose!
    Leaving nothing in terms of notes but a chhhhh coming from your nose...

    Is there a way to stop this? I also feel sometimes when i stop playing my sinusus are "Cramped" so to say.
    Has anyone ever had this problem before?

    I suppose it's worth noting that I'am a nose picker... Would this contribute to this? It's a habit that stopped but has recently aroused because of daily :shock:bordem (I'am working on it.)

    Thank you!
  2. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    I have come across this issue, both as a patient and as a physician. The more common term is "velopharyngeal insufficiency", which I mention for those wishing to google it.

    Some people develop this problem through an identifiable cause, such as a cleft palate, removal of his tonsils/adenoids, some other type of procedure in/near his throat, a stroke, or neurologic disease. But for an otherwise healthy person, where this issue only happens when playing the trumpet, there is often no identifiable cause. FWIW, many brass players have this problem, to one degree or another, with estimates around 5%-10%.

    It is often initermittent, appearing when a person plays beyond their normal endurance/tolerance. When there is no identifiable anatomic or neurologic etiology, and it is evident only when playing the trumpet, a better description is "stress velopharyngeal insufficiency" (given the velopharyngeal closure works under normal conditions, but not under stress).

    As a patient, I was affected by this after having my tonsils and adenoids removed back in the 5th grade. At first, any attempt to play resulted is all of the air leaking through my nose. I went through a series of breathing and tonguing exercises for about 6 months to be able to play again. It still have intermittent stress velopharyngeal insufficiency to this day (when I push beyond my normal tolerances), and have learned to live with it and work around it.

    Most of the medical therapies (speech pathology, oral appliances, and surgery) are directed towards those with true velopharyngeal insufficiency, not stress velopharyngeal insufficiency. But there is some overlap. There are some breathing and tonguing exercises than can help. If you have a teacher, talk to him/her about it these exercises.

  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I am sure that there are medical issues, but often what is needed is to get your breathing sorted. Learning to "exhale" through the horn instead of pushing air is a very useful lesson. Also playing long tones without using the tongue is a VERY good exercize. It trains the air/lips to respond without the tongue in the way! If the lips are "clamped off", the air has to go somewhere.

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