Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Yvette, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Yvette

    Yvette New Friend

    Jan 31, 2010
    Son John, 15 yrs.old is a trumpet player and has developed VPI. It was his first year of marching band, played in a big competition on 10/10 and has not been able to play any high notes on trumpet since. Air escapes out his nose-soft palate is not closing. Been to every doc under sun.Done CT,MRI,Swallow tests. All normal. Been to speech Therapist-nobody has any advice or help.Drs. has never heard of VPI until I provided them with the literature, which is slim. Last ENT pretty much suggested that John quit playing which he does not want to do. He took 4 weeks off from playing Oct.-Nov. then one doc said that it probably wouldn't hurt, so he began again;it has not improved. (It had improved from onset because at first when he drank anything it would come directly out nose--this cleared up after two weeks of rest).Now I am searching for any advice from the music community.
  2. tipo mastr

    tipo mastr New Friend

    Jun 6, 2009
    Treat this as you would any chop issue. Rest, rebuild. Build up, do not destroy. He shouldn't expect to be able to play as high as he was for a long time...It's important that he doesn't push his high register, especially if problems like this are occurring. I have a soft palette problem myself which results in some escaping air through my nose, but I don't really play any worse because of it.

    The early studies in clarke's technical studies would be good to get back into the groove of things. Slow and soft does the trick, as with any chop emergency.
  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth New Friend

    Nov 24, 2008
    the same thing happened to my son last year durring marching band season. He has only now been able to play well without it happening all the time. It's taken about 18 months with a private teacher for him to improve. It still happens sometimes but he can work with it.
  4. Yvette

    Yvette New Friend

    Jan 31, 2010
    Thank yo Elizabeth--did your son continue playing in band, or just take private lessons? John's band teacher is being very understanding, never hearing of this. I have told John to only play the lower notes, and not to strain on the high notes--he really has seen no improvement. Were there any kind of breathing/blowing exercises that he did? I wish that there was more information on this subject. John will finish the year in band;however, I am unsure what his band teacher will let him do next year.
  5. Back at it

    Back at it Pianissimo User

    Feb 12, 2010
    Western, NY
    This is an interesting topic. VPI should be able to be overcome if it was not a problem in the past. I think it may be important for your son to learn when this happens by doing a lot of long tones with cressendo's, beginning in middle register and going up. Focus on the air reaching the end of horn or imagining blowing through top of head. It sounds like he may be getting "backed up" then the air bypasses the soft palette Relax, relax, relax, nothing forced, slow progression to understand when this happens in his playing and develop means to manage it. by doing this it will also improve his tone and basic air control. Keep us posted.
  6. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    What is VPI?
  7. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth New Friend

    Nov 24, 2008
    Yes, my son did continue in band. His teacher was very understanding but also hadn't had any experience with it. He was very careful not to over play and he took lots of breaks when he practiced. This happened last year when he was a junior and he didn't want to drop band. Last summer it improved because he wasn't playing alot and worked with his private teacher. He did marching band again this year because all his friends did it and they really needed trumpets but he didn't play very loud or hard. However, this probably didn't help because it seemed to happen more often during marching band. He is playing better now, but he says it still happens sometimes and he finds it hard to play real loud and high sometimes.
    It might help if he gradually starts playing again but just low ranges and break up his practice until he improves.
    I have to say this was extremly frustrating for my son to deal with but he didn't give up and he is now happy he didn't. Also while my son is not going to major in music in college he is still interested in playing in a band for non majors.
    I hope this helps. Maybe you cand find a good teacher to help him deal with it.
  8. nordlandstrompet

    nordlandstrompet Forte User

    Apr 5, 2008
    Velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI) is a disorder resulting in the improper
    closing of the velopharyngeal sphincter (soft palate muscle in the mouth)
    during speech, allowing air to escape through the nose instead of the mouth.
  9. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    I know nothing really helpful. I'm trying to put a thread of logic together with something that only happened to me a couple of times. I am not a marching player we don't really have that tradition in the UK but on a couple of occasions when marching to help out my local Boys Brigade Band I found air coming down my nose a bit. It was uncomfortable and I have great sympathy for anyone with this sort of problem. Just a question from that train of logic could somthing within the act of marching while playing be a contributing factor. As I say I have no idea and do not consider myself any sort of expert or playing diagnostician but I find this subject both worrying and intrigueing

    Hope you get sorted out

    Best wishes etc

  10. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    The VP muscle is a sphincter, and those are hard to train and control voluntarily. However, there could be some exercises that will help increase awareness and possibly control. When I first started scuba diving, the instructor had us exhale alternatively through the mouth and nose, changing as many times as possible in one breath. You could try that, it might help. Have your son concentrate so that he develops an awareness of the VP's position. He'll have to think about stuff that is automatic for most people but it might be doable.

    Wish you the best.

Share This Page