Topic: oboist - embarassing burping!

I've recently started playing oboe after several years of only intermittent activity.  I slowly worked up over several weeks to playing nearly every day for between 30 minutes and 3 hours. 

During the same period of time, I have experienced an embarrassingly increased amount of burping.  Most embarrassing during ensemble pauses, although it happens throughout the day, not only while playing.

My physician thinks it's dietary, and is testing me for all manner of medical conditions, but I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this or has any ideas about how the development of muscles needed to play the oboe could have anything to do with this problem.

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Re: oboist - embarassing burping!

It happens to me quite a bit.  I think what's going on is that when you play your chest and abdominal muscles are working more than usual, causing any latent bubbles to come to the surface.  I don't think it's anything to be really worried about.

Dietary things of course can cause gas.  Do you drink a lot of carbonated soda or mineral water?  Take any antacids?  Milk in a stomach with acidic things such as tomatoes can cause gas for me and might make me burp - but that might be my body chemistry.

I guess my biggest suggestion to you is to learn how to burp discretely!  big_smile

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: oboist - embarassing burping!

The air has to get into your stomach somehow, in order to be burped out. This means that you're air-swallowing -- in and around your breathing while playing (and perhaps for other reasons as well), you swallow some air that has been misdirected away fom your longs. this air builds up in the stomach and reaches levels that demand release. So -- you burp it out (there's no other way).

I suggest that you try to evaluate your breathing while playing, to see that it's most efficient to get only the needed air into your lungs and not so excessive that some is swallowed. Don't try to inhale enough air for 12-16 measures of playing; try to cut the amount into smaller chunks for fewer measures, and with phrasing. Minimizing loud dynamics also can help in this regard.

That said -- do you have any dietary changes that might involve ingesting more gas-forming foods, as your physician suggests?

Bill

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: oboist - embarassing burping!

Thanks for the suggestions.  I'll definitely pay attention to my swallowing around my breathing; I hadn't thought to keep tabs on that.  I'll also take a shot at breathing smaller volumes more often.

My diet hasn't changed; I've been keeping a food diary and keeping tabs on my symptoms for a few weeks now.  My physician has me on a regulated diet to test for lactose intolerance currently.  I just think it would be odd that I became lactose intolerant during the same month I began playing intensely again.  It's too much of a coincidence after 27 years of intense dairy ingestion (I do love my cheese).

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Re: oboist - embarassing burping!

That really only happens to me if I play within 2 or 3 hours of eating. I never burp loudly though so I can usually continue playing mostly uninterrupted if it happens.

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Re: oboist - embarassing burping!

You're not alone. The University I attend has blind auditions for seating placement in the bands, but up until last year, I would always have an energy drink "to have that caffeine buzz" almost daily. I gave it up for 3 reasons:
1. My boyfriend told me it was unhealthy, and it would make my teeth rot. (I had a root canal last October. Go figure.)
2. I wanted to lose weight.
3. I had assumed that the adjudicators for my audition knew it was me because I was the only female bassoonist that burped while playing the required excerpts!

I have been Monster-free since September 2008. As much as I miss it, I don't miss burping during auditions!

Anne Christensen
CSUF Music Performance student, graduation date possibly Spring 2012
IDRS Student member since July 2007
Sigma Alpha Iota (International Music Fraternity For Women)- Kappa Psi chapter