What every brass player should know about Bell's palsy

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by DrDave, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. DrDave

    DrDave Piano User

    Nov 26, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
  2. euphmaster

    euphmaster New Friend

    May 18, 2007
    I got BP about a year before I was going to have college auditions. It was terrifying. I couldn't play anything higher than a second line G without air bursting from the sides of my mouth. When i went to the doctor, he told me the best thing I could probably do is to keep trying to practice, because there was very little chance I was going to get full muscular control again otherwise - practicing might help.

    It was tedious, but I got full control of my face again. It took months. I still freak out about cool breezes on my face at night, getting colds, and stuff like that. I wouldn't wish BP on any brass player.
  3. DrDave

    DrDave Piano User

    Nov 26, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    I have just posted a second installment on this topic dealing with treatment.

    Wedge Mouthpieces Blog

  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    @euphmaster ... I have a friend who was a flute player ( I am not sure how you spell floutis) ... well she use to play flute back in high school but got BP ... I told her your story .... she seemed encouraged .. hope she gets her Armstrong out of the closet and gives it a go... but thanks for your story
  5. omlaha85

    omlaha85 New Friend

    May 18, 2012
    I am a flute/piccolo player (flautist) and was diagnosed with BP when I was 16 . I had started playing flute when I was 12, piccolo when I was 15. I was devastated because I was unable to play flute for half of my junior year. I worked over the summer and got to where I could play somewhat, but not nearly to the level I had been. Before the BP, I had been offered a scholarship to play piccolo at a local college. After I graduated I became so disgusted by the fact that I could not control the right side of my lips after a year of struggling and sold both my flute and piccolo. It has been 11 years since I was first diagnosed with BP and I still do not even have half the control of the right side that I did before. It took nearly five years to even be able to drink from a straw and I still cannot gargle mouthwash or roll my tongue as before. A doctor that I had seen when I was younger remembered that I had been in band and suggested that I start playing again to see if I could regain even more control of the muscles in the right side. I am going to try it if I can find a flute that I can afford. I hope the best for your friend.
  6. BustedChops

    BustedChops Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 1, 2011
    The link didn't seem to work regarding the bells palsy story. It linked to the mouthpiece blog but I didn't see any info.
  7. TrumpetMonk

    TrumpetMonk Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2009
    West virginia
    I've never had it, but an older trumpet player I knew had a spell of it going in to college. From what I understand, he had a BUNCH of playing problems other than that. Now, about 6 to 8 years later, he's a pro trumpet player. Inspirational...
  8. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    The original thread is over a year old. The Bell's Palsy stuff is long gone (or stuffed deep down in an archive).
  9. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Thanks for all the comments on Bell's Palsy - but can I ask a simple question that springs to mind - how do we, as trumpet players, avoid it?

    (I know a bus will smear me if I step in it's path - so I don't.)
  10. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    I have had Bell's palsy twice... Once in my early 20's and again in my late 40's. The second bout took longer to recover from. I could not play trumpet for almost a year. Could not control my left side at all, couldn't drink from a glass without holding my lip to the cup rim. As soon as I could once again make a sound on my trumpet I started back practicing. I don't have the stamina I had once but that is incentive to be more diligent in my practice habits. The stamina is coming back slowly but surely. There is not much doctors can do about it. Some people get everything back, some have lingering residual effects.

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