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Breathing Difficulties in Wind Instrument Players

 
 

Copyright 2017, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Gilbert, T.
Journal Title: Maryland Medical Journal
Date Published: Jan-98
Language: English
Category: Multiple Medical Disorders
Key Words: medical breathing problems wind instrument performance
Full Citation: Gilbert, T. B. Breathing Difficulties in Wind Instrument Players. Maryland Medical Journal 47, no. 1 (January 1998): 23-7.
Full Abstract: Performance of a wind instrument requires appreciable lung volume and diaphragmatic mechanical force, skilled breath control, adequate patency and humidity of air passages, and precise coordination of the oropharyngeal cavity. Depending on the instrument class, variable rates of air flow, pressure, and duration are necessary to produce optimal tone quality. Wind players may be seriously impaired by respiratory diseases that, comparatively, might appear trivial to the nonperformer. The workplace environment should be assessed for occupational hazards when managing these patients, and smoking should be particularly discouraged. Controversy exists implicating wind instrument use in the exacerbation of respiratory disease, including bronchial, laryngeal, pharyngeal, and oral anatomic changes--a result of the constant barotrauma of performance. Asthma is the most common chronic pulmonary disorder among wind players, and therapeutic programs that include breath training and physical exercise improve symptoms, endurance, and general well-being.