Pounding Pain In The Back Of The Brain

Recently I was asked if I had ever experienced a momentary shot of pain to the back of my head after releasing a loud, high note. Fortunately I have not had that pleasure for some time now but I distinctly remember the experience. After releasing a loud, high note (usually in about two to five seconds), it feels as if something climbs up the back of your neck and hits you in the back of the brain with a couple of pulsating shots, then goes away. If this sounds familiar to you, I may be able to help.

Years ago I was having these hits occurring every time I held a long, loud high note. This usually happened when the leader of the band wanted to get the last bit of applause out of his audience, never considering that the trumpets were about to have brain seizures. After many bouts with the uncomfortable suffering, I realized that the hits (usually two or three in lessening severity) coincided with my pulse. When one came on, I would check my pulse and sure enough, the multiple shots of pain were in sync with my pulse.

  • Important information #1- the pain had something to do with the blood flow to the brain.
  • Important information #2- my neck bulged when playing high and loud notes for an extended time.
  • Important information #3- the swelling in my throat could be restricting the blood flow in the arteries running through my neck.

Conclusion- The expansion in the throat due to the sustained pressure in the throat restricts the blood flow to the brain and in turn starves the brain of blood until the note is released and the blood, which has been previously restricted, is released and the sudden surge of blood to the brain causes the pulsating pain which decreases in intensity.

Now that we know how this happens, what can we do to alleviate the pain?

I wish I could tell you that I struggled for days trying to come up with the solution to this uncomfortable experience but to be 100% truthful; I discovered the solution completely by accident. During one of these painful moments, by accident, I lowered my chin tight to my chest. I was probably getting set for the rush of blood to my brain. For some reason, the discomfort did not occur. Luckily I noted this change and every time I anticipated the creepy, crawly thing running up the back of my neck, I quickly tilted my head down as far as possible, stretching the back of my neck and would hold that pose for at least five to ten seconds. After returning my head to a more normal position, I was relieved to find that I did not experience the normal shots to the back of my head.

If you have experienced this discomfort, try these steps to get rid of the pain-

  • Upon the release of your high, loud note, tuck you head as deep into your chest as you can.
  • Hold that position for about five seconds. You should feel the stretching of the back of your neck as you hold the position.
  • Slowly bring you head up.

My hypothesis as to why this is effective is this- As the blood is restricted in the throat area, the brain is temporarily starved for blood. This is why many times players pass out after the note ends. As the blood is released, the shock of this rush of blood affects the brain by sending sharp pain to your senses. By tucking your head deep into your chest, you are slowing down the surge of blood to a slower speed which the brain can manage more easily. In other words, by tucking your chin, you are equalizing the pressure to a more acceptable level.

My hypothesis may be completely wrong, but I do know that the exercise did work for me and it is my hope that it may give you some relief from the painful experience.

How To Become A Midi File Arranger

What is a Midi File?

MIDI refers to “musical instrument digital interface”. This is the industries standard which enables electronic musical instruments to communicate with each other. Midi protocol was defined throughout the music industry in 1982.

How can I begin to arrange without knowing how to write music?

Working with midi information is as easy as copying letters from a page. All that will be required is the knowledge of the names of the notes and you will be able to copy and place these notes on your own score to make your first midi arrangement. You are basically copying someone else’s arrangement and re-arranging it to suit your own personal needs.

What equipment will I need to begin?

The purchase of software is required but before you start shaking in your budgetary boots, let me assure you that your first purchase and possibly your only purchase will be easy on your pocket book. If you own a computer, your only expense could be a program called Finale Songwriter which costs $49.95.

Where can I find good Midi Files?

The Internet is full of easy as well as very complex midi arrangements which will fill all of your needs. Every style is represented and I have little doubt that any song you would like to arrange will be available to you free of charge. Some of these arrangements are wonderful and some are not worth downloading, but as you gain experience in midi arranging, you will be able to sort the good from the bad very quickly.

Can I legally use someone else’s Midi files?

Midi files are available to the public free of charge and there are no restrictions on their use. There are restrictions on the original composition which you should be aware of. A composer has the right to a portion of the profits made from the sale of his/her composition under the United States and International copyright laws. This is to protect the composer from any loss or infringement on the use of his/her composition. As an example- If I wrote a composition and have registered it with the copyright office, I own the rights and control of that composition for an agreed amount of time. Anyone wishing to make a profit from my composition must have in writing my approval for this action. If on the other hand a person would like to perform my composition on a program where no profit has been or will be made, approval would not be necessary. Copyright laws are also affected by material which is used for educational purposes as well as a limited amount of the original material for study purposes. Copyright laws are enforced for the protection of the creator’s rights to his/her own material. There are no controls placed on a person’s arrangement of such material and for that reason, you may use material from someone else’s arrangement at your will but if you intend to make a profit on a copyrighted material, you are expected and required to have the composer’s and/or publishers written approval to do so.

What we are doing in this exercise is using someone’s arrangement to be used for our own purposes and this is absolutely within the law. If, on the other hand, you intend to make money from the sale of your arrangement, you are required to have the written permission from the original composer of the number. If you have no intention in selling your arrangement, you have no obligation to the original composer of the piece.

How difficult is it to learn Midi arranging?

If you can recognize the names of notes in both treble and bass clef, you will have no trouble rearranging midi files to suit your needs. I will walk you through your first few arrangements step by step. Within a short time you will be able to rearrange any midi number you like. In my next posting you will be required to have a program which will support midi files and also be able to edit and play back these files. I have listed three programs which would serve you in all of our subsequent exercises. Any of these would work well for your sequencing needs.

$600/academic $350

Finale Make Music Allegro

Finale Song Writer

The Branson Trumpet Ensemble Library of Free Arrangements (7/9/14)

In our continuing project to list the Branson Trumpet Ensemble library, we will now post all of our FREE arrangements at this time (7-9-14)

Free Trumpet arrangements from trumpetensemblemusic.com

Trumpet Voluntary /w Organ

Nola (Trumpet solo with piano)

Vivaldi Fanfare (Four Trumpets)

Minuet in G (Trumpet Duet)

We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Brass Quartet)

Snow Day In Branson (Trumpet Duet)

Caroling, Caroling (Brass Quartet)

Arban Characteristic Study #9 (Trumpet Duet)

Interval Study (Trumpet Duet)

Rhythmic Study (Trumpet Duet)

Baroque Game Pieces (Trumpet Duet)

Descending Fanfare (Trumpet Trio)

11 Giant Steps For Mankind (Trumpet Duet)

Amazing Grace (Study in Alternate Fingerings)

Simple Four Voice Canon (Trumpet Quartet)

Amazing Grace (Trumpet Solo)

Take Me Out To The Ball Game (Trumpet Duet)

National Anthem Of Haiti (Trumpet Quartet)

Happy Birthday (Trumpet Quartet)

Taps Variations (Two Trumpets)

Theme From Jeopardy (Trumpet Quartet)

How Are The Mighty Fall’n? (Trumpet Quart w/Piano)

If (Solo w/ Tracks)

Theme From The Tonight Show

Happy Birthday Branson Style (Trumpet Quartet)

Study In Intonation

Dixie Duet #6