Sop Headaches



I certainly haven't played the sop, and top C's usually give me vertigo so can't really help very much but sometimes some Sop players tend to play too much which is covered by the solo cornets, often in a mid to high range. Perhaps cutting these notes and bars that are covered would mean only playing the parts that are a stretch to Bb players.

As for the oxygen situation, perhaps practicing breathing deeply, and there's a gizmo that Steve Miles in band uses that improves breathing, an inhaling device and I don't mean a Bong either :wink:

Mr Steve S, how the devil are you? Hope London and the Trumpet playing are keeping you busy..

Drop in at B+R whenever you're up here, will be glad to hear ya again. Might even bring out Pagentry! :wink:



New Member
Not a sop player myself thank goodness!
(but i am hard - do i win a fiver?)

Playing Bb cornet I've noted a direct correlation between physical conditioning for sport and the ability to play cornet better.

I reckon it's something to do with all round physiological efficiency.
Are YOU hard enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers Rich,
I'm fine mate.
In response to Nadia & Dave Payn
I realise that Peter is drug free as i am NADIA.
Mr Payne you are a sage
who seems to have the handle on the sharp
end of Banding Knowledge.
You must have been there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As for Nadia!
I've yet to meet a banger who has a scoobie about what any sop player
has to put up with.
Steve XXXXX.
I think to be honest it goes down to practice. I used to get them all the time but when u understand your part n stuff more and realize what to play and not to play (hopefully play as little as possible)
It happens to everyone, including Wych (he teaches me) but its part of playing the god damb instrument!
I remember seeing a sop player nearly pass out on last years 1st section area piece, Passagalia (or variations on a top B for sop) Must admit its one of the god damb hardest pieces ive ever played! (horrible 5th note top b doule piano)
ah well.... :D

Dave Payn

Active Member
Re: Are YOU hard enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr Payn(e) you are a sage
who seems to have the handle on the sharp
end of Banding Knowledge.
Steve XXXXX.

So long as you realise I don't make that claim. Just as much as I realise you haven't claimed to be a master of all things sop...
A year or so ago Pete Roberts came and did a concert here in North Queensland with our neighbouring band Cairns Brass and a friend of mine who sat next to him I think for the event was saying that not only did he munch gum but he also had two different coloured eyes from the many years of sustained high blood pressure caused by the famous screamers? True False :shock: :?:


Australian Euphonium said:
...but he also had two different coloured eyes from the many years of sustained high blood pressure caused by the famous screamers? True False :shock: :?:

He does have two different coloured eyes, but he was born that way (guess who's read his book! :wink: )
It has been mentioned before but here's my tuppence worth. As long as you're playing correctly (i.e good breathing technique and support) you can reduce the chances of brain freeze. But in my experience if you have sustained high, loud and attacking playing then there is going to be pressure and I have on several occasions blacked out. I remember at Belgium two years ago at the Europeans on Chain having real 'ice cream headaches' (there's lots of ff top A semiquavers repetitive motifs). Like midwalesman said there are lots of passages that are in a preferential range for the solo cornets so sop players shouldn't have to be doubling, so getting extra breaks where possible should help.


New Member
If its any help the following tips on posture helped me when I started on Sop.
Practice keeping the head over the spine while bringing the instrument and mouthpiece up to your lips to play. Use a mirror or have a friend video you in profile as you start to play. When you bring the equipment to you, you control it! When you bring your head forward to meet it, it controls you (and you block your throat in the process!).

Try lowering the bell of the cornet a few inches as you play, while maintaining the same embouchure and angle between the instrument and face. This will extend the back of the neck and help open the throat. Notice the difference in pitch and how much one needs to adjust the position of the tuning slide when playing with the neck extended and the throat open in this way. Notice that the upper register will improve immediately.

Keep the elbows out away from the ribs to help keep the chest open, and keep the shoulders down and broad while playing, resisting the memory of raising them when playing onto the upper register. Many players raise the shoulders automatically as they bring the instrument up to play.

Keeping the feet parallel when playing will help keep the hips open and help one to use the entire body while playing. This will help keep one “on centre” and will improve every aspect of performance.

Dave Euph

On high notes everything for me has always been fine when I push from the stomach rather than than the throat or head. I may be a euph player, but I know that playing high notes can be a real strain unless conducted properly.


what happens if u hold your nose and blow through your nose hard? You get dizzy and a lot of pressure builds up and you go red....

What happens if you do the same through your mouth and keep it closed (to the point where you are squeezing your lips and a minute amount of air can get out)? the same! :wink:

On a sop this is simulated when you tighten your lips for a high note and you go dizzy because of the build up of pressure (god im smart :idea: - ive cracked it!) so open your mouth a bit and use more stomach to get the high notes... if you cant, then dont! You are not always guaranteed to come around after a black out :shock:

Has that answered enough questions?


i think this topic applys to all of the brass players. I've had the dizzyness and seeing stars effect many times. (especially on high, sustained, loud last notes. I find it helps to make sure you have taken a extra breath to prepare yourself.


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