This is a rather common problem, I think, and one I've had quite a bit of experience with. Here are my thoughts:
- The strengthening idea Neville offered is quite helpful - I've had this recommended by a speech therapist. Since the soft palate is a muscle, it can easily be strengthened. Her recommendation was to do that exercise (attempting to blow through the nose, while stopping the blowing with the soft palate) while waiting at stoplights - just occasionally throughout the day.
- I've personally found that dryness exacerbates the problem, perhaps why it seems worse in winter and spring. By this I mean both internal and external dryness. I'm constantly drinking water while practicing and in rehearsal, and I also find that generally keeping very well hydrated helps. I would hesitate to take any "drying" medications, and it may be possible that a current medication (for allergies, perhaps) may be encouraging the problem.
- Since you've had this problem for a few years, you may want to consider seeing an Ear-Nose-Throat doctor if it does not improve. It could be a simple matter of muscle strengthening, or it could just be "how you're built."
- I'm sure you've thought of this, but I have to mention it: Perhaps your reeds are harder than they need to be? If you feel like you are "working hard" to play the oboe, then your muscles will obviously feel that way, too.
Feel free to email me if I can answer any more questions.
Last edited by kjohnson (2007-02-12 22:48:49)