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 Post subject: flute player with asthma
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:23 pm
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What to do? I have only had asthma for about three of my thirty years of flute playing. On a good day I have about 75% of my former lung capacity for playing. On a bad day, even with extra doses of the rescue inhaler, I often run out of air within two bars of playing.

I am working hard with my doctor to come up with the best possible dose of medication, but are there any other flute players out there who struggle with this? Are there any exercises that help?

With asthma the trouble usually arises with exhaling rather than inhaling so while it feels like I take in plenty of air, it just disappears as if there was a slow leak letting it out somewhere other than my embouchure! With allergy season approaching I want to improve as much as I can.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:35 pm 
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Location: Brentwood Bay, B.C., CANADA
Flute playing should actually help your asthma, unless you want to try bagpipes:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsi ... 703147.stm

"Anything that makes someone with asthma take big, deep breaths to fill their lungs to capacity and teaches them to breath out slowly helps," an Asthma UK spokesman told the newspaper.
Richard was diagnosed with asthma when he was four.
His mum said: "Over time, his lungs have got better and better and he has far fewer attacks than before.
"We'd recommend the bagpipes to anyone with the same problem."


shanti wrote:
What to do? I have only had asthma for about three of my thirty years of flute playing. On a good day I have about 75% of my former lung capacity for playing. On a bad day, even with extra doses of the rescue inhaler, I often run out of air within two bars of playing.

I am working hard with my doctor to come up with the best possible dose of medication, but are there any other flute players out there who struggle with this? Are there any exercises that help?

With asthma the trouble usually arises with exhaling rather than inhaling so while it feels like I take in plenty of air, it just disappears as if there was a slow leak letting it out somewhere other than my embouchure! With allergy season approaching I want to improve as much as I can.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:35 pm 
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It looks like nobody had answered for a long time (I hadn't noticed this post either).
I have asthma too - it is not a problem. Well, maybe if I am nearly suffocating during an asthma attack it would be a problem, but the (daily) reduced lung capacity per se is not... I usually play an hour a day.
I hope you are feeling better by the way!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:37 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:18 pm
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I also have asthma and I can tell you flute playing has helped that a bit. Aside from that I would follow recommendations from your doctor and use an inhaler as you need. Also if you have allergies make sure you try to practice in a room free of your particular allergens as possible and take some kind of medicine to help with allergies. Also the biggest thing for me was to make sure i don't wait too long to take a breath or that will start a chain reaction that goes nowhere good fast.

Last thing is do not be afraid to get creative with taking breaths in places not necessarily marked for a breath. Try different things and see what works/sounds the best for you :)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:02 pm 
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It is indeed important to be in a room that doesn't exacerbate your asthma. My music room is actually my art studio at the same time, and oil colours are not exactly good for asthma (I don't live in a mansion... :() It is a miracle I don't notice when I play!
Maybe you can also open the window before playing, so the air is really fresh.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:32 am 
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Heehee... learn circular breathing. Of course, that doesn't quite solve the problem.

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The flute family: probing the lower limit of human hearing and the upper limit of human tolerance.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:19 pm 
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You need a prescription where I am... (I am not sure if there are countries where you don't though.)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:56 am 
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shanti wrote:
What to do? I have only had asthma for about three of my thirty years of flute playing. On a good day I have about 75% of my former lung capacity for playing. On a bad day, even with extra doses of the rescue inhaler, I often run out of air within two bars of playing.

I am working hard with my doctor to come up with the best possible dose of medication, but are there any other flute players out there who struggle with this? Are there any exercises that help?

With asthma the trouble usually arises with exhaling rather than inhaling so while it feels like I take in plenty of air, it just disappears as if there was a slow leak letting it out somewhere other than my embouchure! With allergy season approaching I want to improve as much as I can.

Do you practice in a regular basis? Or just when your asthma isn't attacking? When you play the flute, you have to learn to use a lot of air and control your air. so that might help you with your asthma, it gives you more breathing capacity. Your lungs will get use to the exercise so it will help you with more flute playing.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:30 am 
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I still stay active, including with flute playing, because I definitely notice that I have more asthma problems when I exercise and play flute less, so keep at it, because not only will you be getting the musical enjoyment from playing, but in at least some small way, you’ll be helping your asthma as well.


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