Topic: Having problem with soft palate!

Hello, i am a bassoonist at plano senior highschool, and im having a big problem with my soft palate. For some reason, whenever i play for an extended period of time or if i use a great amount of air, my soft palate loosens and opens up, causing air to flow out of my nose as i play. This continues until im unable to play any longer because all the air pushes through my nose. I have gone to an ear nose and throat doctor, but they found nothing wrong! Has anyone else had this happen to them or their student?

Last edited by corban123 (2010-10-14 23:17:05)

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Re: Having problem with soft palate!

See if anything here helps.  http://www.doublereed.org/IDRSBBS/search.php?search_id=1402084538

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Having problem with soft palate!

Says no results D:

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Re: Having problem with soft palate!

OK sorry about that.  It works for me but I think you need to be signed in.  Do a search for "air nose" without the quotes on this forum and it will bring up several threads.

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Having problem with soft palate!

"Index » Teaching - General: Solutions, Question, Tips » Odd noise made by student"  this thread on the Teaching Forum deals with this issue too.

Browse the Teaching Forum for other related offerings on technical issues of playing etc.

Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Having problem with soft palate!

The medical term for this is "velopharyngeal incompetence" -- the muscles of the soft palate relax inappropriately during playing and allow air to vent into the nasal cavity. Exercises for the palate can help this, as can modifying playing techniques and playing more regularly to strengthen the palate muscles. If you mention this diagnosis to your ENT specialist and ask for exercises, s/he may get you on the right track with a voice or ENT physical therapist.

Hope this helps

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: Having problem with soft palate!

Thanks Dawson! Ive been meaning to find a diagnosis, now i finally have something to tell my ENT specialist!

Edit: Looked into it, now depressed with the fact that getting it fixed is very complicated indeed...

Last edited by corban123 (2010-11-21 20:34:17)

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Re: Having problem with soft palate!

This was a nice thread to read. I wish I had found this earlier, in October or November.  I had double jaw surgery this summer and when I came back to playing I kept having air spurt up my nose when I played long notes, and the very low notes and very high notes.  For anybody in the future coming to this, I would suggest raising the back of the tongue when you play.  It helps strengthen the muscles and makes it more difficult for air to escape to the nasopharynx.  If you are consistently flat it will also improve your pitch :-)

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Re: Having problem with soft palate!

Corbin,
Were you able to read some of the posts that Kent mentioned?  I doubt you need to "get it fixed" - most likely some of the exercises previously discussed will help. It's a muscle, it can be strengthened.

Kendra Johnson

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