Air escaping through my nose... :-(

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by 2007besson2052, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. When i play for long periods of time, like through the whole 4th section test piece, especially when i'm under pressure in a concert or contest, i find that i can't control my air flow as well. I still play but need to breathe in a lot more frequently and my tone gets worse. This is because air is escaping through my nose as well as through my mouth through the instrument. :oops:

    Has anyone else had a similar problem? Is this a medical problem or a problem with my euphonium playing technique?

    Any suggestions or comments would be greatly recieved.

  2. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    I'm sure you'll find it's nothing to worry about. You'll probably find that with a slightly different approach to your technique and improved breathing stamina (achieved through plenty of practice and breathing exercises) you'll get past it. Sounds to me like your throat and cheek muscles are getting tired and allowing air to pass through to your nasal passage.
  3. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    I'm sure it's nothing that can't be solved with a large peg! ;) :tongue:
  4. So do you think there are any special exercises i should do to help this weakness or tiredness?
  5. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    There have been many good discussions on breathing exercises and techniques within the rehearsal room forum, just search the forum for "breathing" or "breathing exercises" and spend the next week or so reading it all. Plenty of good advice in there if you're patient enough to read though it all.
  6. Alan MacRae

    Alan MacRae Member

    A few years ago, one of the baritone players in the band had exactly this problem. In his case it was due to a recent move from euph and he found that he was taking in too much air, and had to release some besides through the instrument in order to take his next breath. He was suffering from being light headed as well. It took a while, but his breathing gradually adjusted to the smaller instrument and he was fine.

    Not saying that's your position, just an observation really :)
  7. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    Or some wine corks filed down to the size of your nostrils :D
  8. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    A sax-playing friend of mine returned from a trip to the dentist and noticed that when he played all the breath was coming out of his nose. Turned out that following an upper tooth extraction there was now a hole between his mouth and his sinuses. Ouch. Must have had a long root.
  9. The definitive answer - a *big* bulldog clip.

    It has never been known to fail. Whilst wearing it you can also hang your distance glasses off it through the conveniently placed hole, and through the other hole, hang your car keys (you know you keep loosing them!)

    The only downside is, you look a total prat.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2007
  10. I feel you guys aren't taking my serious, life threatening medical condition seriously...! Joke.

    I think it must have something to do with nerves as well. It seems to happen mostly at big concerts or competition. However i suppose this could just be linked to playing lots, louder than i would at home and for a longer time period without break than in a rehearsal...?
  11. ISBBBb2

    ISBBBb2 Member

    Shame you cant reverse the process and breathe in through your nose whilst blowing out!
  12. Ok I will be serious this time.... so, it's wind escaping from nose as you play right?

    ..... and it happens more when you are nervous?....

    Well I wouldn't worry too much - our principle cornet has wind escaping elsewhere when he gets nervous.

    Hope this helps :) :) :)
  13. robcav

    robcav Member

    On a serious note, this sounds like an issue with your control of the air column and your embouchure. Air escaping from the sides of your mouth is a sure sign that your embouchure is not sufficiently set to seal the corners of your mouth but it would be interesting to know if this happens in a particular register. I'm not expert enough to account for the phenomenon of air escaping from your nose but I'd suggest that if this happens predominently when you are in a stressful situation, such as a contest, then the issue is related to the quality and control of your breathing. Taking in the biggest breath you can at every opportunity is not always the best policy. Taking in enough air to meet the needs of the phrase is better. But so much depends on how you breath and release the air column. If you find this happening when you are really blowing ff, take some weight off. There are lots of websites out there with advice on the embouchure ( just type the word into google and you're off) but my advice would be to seek out a reputable teacher who can assess your technical concerns and suggest exercises to help you combat your problem. My own remedy for my embouchure inflexibility and breathing problems (taught to me by Mr Whitham) was long chromatic notes (16 andante crotchet beats)starting on pedal C and working up. Use a mirror too to assess your own embouchure setting. Good luck.
  14. Emb_Enh

    Emb_Enh Member


    Some players suffer AIR LEAK thru the nose.

    This can mean that the palatal and pharyngeal muscles are not sealing off the nose from the lower airway. [various reasons]

    The first port of call should be your doctor, to check for PHYSICAL problems which you may not be in control of.

    Avoiding excessive tongue arch in the upper register can help a lot.

    Many people use this ‘eeeeeee’ tongue as the MAIN means to access the upper register [bad], usually to compensate for a lack of overall muscle strength, lip/air co-ordination problems, and or aperture ineffciency. Sometimes the aperture is SOOOO wide open the tongue HAS to arch excessively to try to fill up the massive void of the too big oral cavity. It’s a subconscious act in an effoct to gain control over the airstream which is RUSHING out of control thru the too open or spread chops.

    However…this is NOT to suggest that air leaking thru the nose is JUST because of this..far from it…for more info on nose-air-leak do a google search on: "velopharyngeal insufficiency".

    from EMBOUCHURE ENHANCEMENT BOOK 4 ------- from >>>