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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Valsalva Maneuver in the General forums; Hello, I'm not sure if its relevant but I snore a lot. I recently had a couple lessons with Dr ...
  1. #1
    Piano User keehun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Post Valsalva Maneuver


    I'm not sure if its relevant but I snore a lot.

    I recently had a couple lessons with Dr Martin Hodel down at St. Olaf college, and he told me something that I have not heard before. That he feels like I'm doing something similar to the Valsalva maneuver.

    Quote Originally Posted by

    Valsalva maneuver: A maneuver in which a person tries to exhale forcibly with a closed glottis (the windpipe) so that no air exits through the mouth or nose as, for example, in strenuous coughing, straining during a bowel movement, or lifting a heavy weight. The Valsalva maneuver impedes the return of venous blood to the heart.
    Quote Originally Posted by

    Physiology of the Valsalva Effect
    The Valsalva is generally divided into four separate phases.
    • Phase 1: Onset of straining and the beginning of an increase in intrathoracic pressure.
    • Phase 2: The persistent straining and maintenance of the increased intrathoracic pressure.
    • Phase 3: Release of breath-holding and glottic pressure with a sudden drop in the intrathoracic pressure.
    • Phase 4: Sudden increase in cardiac output and aortic pressure.
    He said something similar because air was still coming out and I was playing notes, but he feels like something was physically closed in there and creating a soft grunt sound (involuntary).

    Now, going back to the Physiology of the valsalva effect from (Who knows if its accurate, but until its proven otherwise, I'll believe it), it seems like it has a lot to do with the pressure within the cavity of the chest (intrathoracic). Now, I think that may equate to what I've been hearing as "back-pressure"? The pressure gradient between the chest/mouth and the trumpet where the pressure in the chest is very high?

    Now, I'm going to dumb it down even further. Is it possible that I'm forcing too much? Dr. Hodel tried to teach me greater relaxation and relaxed playing. It was going really well. (Too bad I live far from him and lessons are sporadic at best [Earlier in the summer I had 4 consecutive lessons in a week and that really helped]).

    When I play with a lot of pressure and then when I lessen the pressure, I can hear and feel the difference, but I can also notice the dramatic difference in range. With pressure (in comparison to playing with a lot of pressure, it still sounds pretty decent), I can go up to E (3 ledger lines above) and without pressure (well, not without but with much less pressure), my range drops about an octave. The weird thing is that I don't fade out like I do while playing with high pressure. I will go up in chromatics and I will just fade out slowly until I get to that top note where its barely audible. With less pressure, it's not so much the case. My lips just stop vibrating and I can hear air being exhaled out through the horn.

    I'm not asking for personal help, since I don't think that sort of help can be offered online, but do you guys have past experiences with this yourself? Do you have any metaphors or imagery of things to try for me? (i.e. Say "ticket" to emulate the tu-ku sound for double tonguing). Dr. Hodel didn't have anything for me that would help reduce the pseudo-vasalva-maneuver but he did have some other personal things to try that were helping.

    I feel like this is a really bad habit developed from my early days without a teacher and on my own.

    I can not wait until I get to work with Dr. Baldwin this fall.


    edit... of course, as soon as I post this, my iTunes plays "Allegro Assai", Mvt 3 of Brandenburg Concerto No. 2... Sigh.
    Last edited by keehun; 08-17-2010 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Irony
    Bach Strad. 37
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  2. #2
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Re: Valsalva Maneuver

    Everything is here: (Trumpet Playing May Be Dangerous to Your Health.)

    We do not need to start this again.

    I disagree with the premise.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  3. #3
    Mezzo Piano User lakerjazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Re: Valsalva Maneuver

    I remember there being a large, argument-filled thread about the valsalvsa maneuver on here before. The overall conclusion I think was that playing the trumpet even with a lot of pressure wouldn't create enough pressure to invoke the valsalva maneuver

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