WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks Muscle Tension Dysphonia Reply To: Muscle Tension Dysphonia


Wow, thank you for sharing. It certainly makes sense that if you’re too tight in your throat that it will impact your playing. I haven’t experienced the pain you’re describing when talking, but I do recall one experience in high school–I marched the same parade twice with two different bands; my high school band and a community youth band I was a member of. After the parade, my throat was incredibly painful–like the worst case of strep throat I ever had, and I had had a really bad case a couple years prior.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but later realized what happened–I used up my chops during practice and the first run through the parade, then would up straining to try to play my full range the 2nd time around. Back then, my endurance was very poor as I was clamping down my lips in the middle, etc. My range and endurance wasn’t very good.

I am satisfied with my progress, but catch myself occasionally tightening up my throat and choking off at times. When I am at my best, I am open and relaxed in my throat, chest, shoulders, body; the only place there’s tension (engagement) is in the corners, tightening the aperture, sealing the air and supporting the lips so that they don’t collapse and cutoff the air column.

Lately I have had great success with mental visualization–it’s almost as if I detach myself a little from actively controlling my embouchure to visualizing the aperture in the mouthpiece, in front of my open teeth through which the air column is travelling and I visualize my top lip–especially the fleshy middle part interacting with the air column, supported from the corners.

I’ve also put things on my music stand to help me–a listing of all the WindWorks mantras (i.e. the ones that scroll at the bottom of the screen of the main page), a picture of the Maggio Monkey, the Claude Gordon circle with arrows pointing inward towards the center of the mouthpiece (air column) and a print out of the harmonic series of the trumpet showing the harmonic series of each valve combination from pedal tones through Double C–it is helpful to see how much closer the notes are together at the top of the range and to remember that less air is required the higher we ascend.

Best of luck with your journey and thanks again for sharing your experience and knowledge. I’m glad you’ve made a significant realization; I’m sure it will be key to your successfully experimenting with playing and determining what is most efficient and effective for you.