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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 12-24-2015, 07:18 AM   #1
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Default Blowing issue

I've recently developed a problem. After about 10 minutes on the pipes the pressure against the back of my throat seems to be triggering my gag reflex. Has anyone else experienced this, and if so is there a way of dealing with it?
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Old 12-25-2015, 06:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Blowing issue


First thoughts... as none else have offered... is that you
might consider changing the length of your blow pipe and
mouth piece... either longer (which I would most probably
think the best... to extend your neck)... or shorter... and for
the same reason: to relieve any possible intraesophageal
"pressure" that might be building up.

Just a "first thought"... but you might give it a go.

If it persists, were I you... off to an ENT fellow... I would go...

Please let us know your results... as this is not a common
occurrence. (My first time to hear of it.)

All the Best!!


My friends all know,
With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 12-25-2015 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Blowing issue

You should not have much pressure at the back of your throat if you are blowing correctly. Most of it should be in the front. I would guess that you are blowing out your cheeks and using your whole mouth cavity.

The proper method is to have the blowpipe in the middle of your lips, with the lips making a tight seal, and the cheeks firmly refusing to balloon out as you blow. I call that chipmunk cheeks, and I do not allow my pupils to do it.

This way there is no possibility of pressure at the back of your mouth and in your throat that may cause a gagging effect.

If you are not used to doing these things you will experience much discomfort when adapting to the proper method, but persevere. It won't take long.
Noble and manly music invigorates the spirit, strengthens the wavering man, and incites him to great and worthy deeds. Homer.
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Old 12-26-2015, 03:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Blowing issue

Might the pressure be coming the " other way"? i.e. that it's not blowing pressure within the mouth and cheeks that's the issue, but the diaphragm acting on the stomach and causing 'upwards' pressure against the valve at the top of the stomach/back of the throat?

I'd imagine this might cause acid reflux and possibly a 'gag' reflex?

Has your daily schedule changed? piping after a meal? Or any other issues that might be causing stomach acid? Changed to a stronger reed that's challenging the muscles/valves?

Just a thought. I know that sometimes, if I have to pipe too soon after a meal I get discomfort similar to this.

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Old 12-27-2015, 04:05 PM   #5
Michael New
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Default Re: Blowing issue

I've experienced this occasionally after a long lay-off. It seems to be associated with excessive dryness in the throat. Play in shorter increments of time with frequent breaks, stray well-hydrated, and you'll get past it in time.
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Old 01-26-2016, 07:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Blowing issue

Thanks everyone,

The problem has gone away on its own. I suspect that Michael is correct as it started at the same time as the dry (indoor heating) season here in the NE USA.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:21 PM   #7
Kyle C.H.
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Default Re: Blowing issue

I'm glad it stopped! When I was competing solo with contrabass clarinet, I developed a weird problem where the air would rush out my nose unexpectedly while playing and I couldn't stop it. That problem also went away when the season changed. The human body is a strange thing indeed.
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