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snorting thru my nostrils help!


Formerly saxgirl22
England, UK
hi All, I need help with this one. I love my saxes but this year I've had terrible trouble after about 45 mins of practice I get an awful, uncontrollable snort, outwards, through my nose and it's noisy and my throat goes into a 'spasm' and I then end up failing to play properly! It really p's me off as it's now becoming an issue. I have recently had veneers and a bridge fitted on my front teeth but refuse to believe these are the cause of it and rather that as it is now an issue whether it is lodged in my mind! Has anyone had a similar problem and if so is there anything I can do to stub it out?!
Help and advice is much appreciated. Please, no 'it happens to beginners' comments. This upsets me as I've been playing for over 10 years and this shouldn't be happening now! I'm angry at myself :(
Thank you in advance
We all evolve in our playing. Try the mouthpieces that are sleeping in your drawer.
"One time at band camp". . . .

No, seriously. At a 6 week summer music camp I attended when I was a sophomore in high school I was playing and/or practicing about 6 hours per day. Sometime into the 2nd week, I started to get an experience like the one you described where when I tried to blow the saxophone, my soft palate failed to close the nasal cavity and part of the air went out my nose. It is hard to get any breath support when that happens.

I panicked and went to the medical center. The doctor examined my throat and said nothing was wrong. I asked him what I could do to fix the problem and he said don't play the saxophone so much. I cut back a bit and the problem went away never to return. I hope yours goes away soon too. I think those muscles that control the soft palate just got overly tired in my case, although I will never know for sure.
happened to my son and his clarinet.

To add to what Jbtsax said, if it continues, think about a less restrictive/lower resistance mouthpiece.
I had it when I started playing in my teens and was doing two or three three hour gigs on the trot.

It really is just overdoing it - so back off as you would with any other muscle that you tired out temporality.
If it happens as a single 'snort' at the end of a breath it could be like the diaphram is doing a spasm as you try get the last push from it.
That is like a cough so your throat is trying to cough without coughing and that goes into a spasm.
Sometimes I have to stop and cough suddenly and think 'breathe you idiot' which is probably the same but different.
That made sense before I tried to explain it.
So maybe it is simply don't try to get as much out of one breath.
Thanks for the advice. I think a new/different m/piece is the way forward. Less resistance, so what would I be looking for? I was thinking a Lawton metal 6 as I use one of these on my tenor but this is going the other way and making life hard is it not? Help! Thank you again :)
Since the "resistance" felt when producing a tone is a factor of the reed's strength as it relates to the mouthpiece tip opening and length of the lay (facing) I would suggest trying a reed 1/2 strength softer before searching for a new mouthpiece.

Given the fact that you have been playing for 10 years and have not experienced this before makes the information that you have currently had some changes inside the mouth more interesting. Have any other variables changed, such as the amount of playing time, going to a harder reed, or weakening of other muscles in the body due to illness, medications, etc?

My similar experience was probably caused from stress and suddenly playing a lot more hours. It would be great if you were to discover what caused your experience, and could share it with the rest of us.
I had this on alto when I had to play with 5 trumpets and 2 trombones I really needed to make volume and after a while I had a simmilar experience...


John Talcott

We won't forget all your truly wonderful contributions. Your insight, skill, knowledge, support and humour made the Café a better place. Thank you jbtsax.

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