Unconscious humming while playing


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I just listened to a tape of myself practicing and I heard myself humming! It was completely unconscious. My teacher had mentioned it to me once ("stop humming"), but I thought it was a one shot deal. Apparently, I do it all the time. I tried to not hum, and involuntary little noises continued to come out of my throat. Anyone else ever have this problem? I've been playing for 3 years. Several months ago, I taped myself quite a bit, and I wasn't humming then. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Naomi

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Musicians do that sometimes: you can hear Glenn Gould on his recordings singing. I worked in an orchestra once where a conductor did that (Franco Autori). I think the cure is self-awareness, but it's not a problem of intelligence. No one would accuse Glenn Gould of lack of intelligence, at least not lack of musical intelligence.

I wouldn't do it during orchestra or an audition.

Connie

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Keep up the humming. Be you. The finest talents have done the same. I congratulate you and admire you.Related: I go berserk with joy when I listen to recordings of Errol Garner playing the piano. What gleeful sounds he makes while singing along with his own playing. Unmistakable, Remarkable.

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I hum, too. It's actually more like letting out an occasional grunt than humming along with what I'm playing. I wish I could stop doing it, but since it's entirely involuntary and unconscious, I can't figure how to stop. Sometimes I drool on my fiddle, too, but that's another story.

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Humming doesn't sound like such an awful vice. I knew a pretty good violist who, in his breathing while playing, would exhale so strongly in each breath cycle that it sounded like he was blowing his nose. Luckily this strong exhale wasn't audible beyond about 8 feet.

If you're humming while you're playing, that must mean you have the sound of what you're playing in your head before (or at least at the instance) you play. That can only be to the good, since it shows you have a mental preconception of what the tones and rhythms should sound like. Without that preconception, it's pretty hard to play in tune and on time.

One author of a book on how to practice recommends dealing with difficult passages by trying to sing them. Once you can sing them (or come close enough in your singing to indicate that you have a clear mental conception of the music), you'll be able to play them. It looks like you have that mechanism working for you naturally.

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In a live recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Heifetz and the NBC Orchestra, you can hear Toscanini humming above the orchestra in the slow, lyrical passages. You're in good company!

I also grunt occasionally while I'm playing, and I used to drool on my violin when I was younger because I kept my mouth WIDE open while playing.

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Count yourself lucky. I have noticed that I have, during the past 8 months, started to purse my lips a bit while playing, which is not so becoming. Now I have to think carefully to keep from doing it. In time....

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No chance of you ever hearing me on a CD, Andrewuy! Thanks everyone for your responses. Daniel, I also had to work out the open-mouth syndrome for quite a while. Maybe that's why I'm humming now. The humming sounds better than the noises when I'm trying not to hum. It's nice to hear there are others with this problem.

Naomi

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My lips have a tendency to twitch when I play fast passages (the harder they are, the worse it gets ) Sometimes I hum as well, not a good combination

The conductor of our youth orchestra exhales loudly (but in time!) when he gets 'into' the music, making a 'ffffff' sound, and spraying whoever is front desk 2nd vln

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  • 8 years later...

dude, the exact same thing just happened to me. i played violin for about 4-5 years when i was a kid, and as a young adult recently picked it up back up. using my laptop one day i decided to record myself playing, and i heard these weird grunts and exhales and stuff! i also kind of tend to move around back and forth a lot when i play on a sofa. wow. the weirdest thing is that

1. i had NO idea that i wa making those noises, it was totally involuntary

2. it usually came during the hard parts of the song

if you haven't tried recording yourself playing sometime, try it out you can learn a lot

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I just listened to a tape of myself practicing and I heard myself humming! It was completely unconscious. My teacher had mentioned it to me once ("stop humming"), but I thought it was a one shot deal. Apparently, I do it all the time. I tried to not hum, and involuntary little noises continued to come out of my throat. Anyone else ever have this problem? I've been playing for 3 years. Several months ago, I taped myself quite a bit, and I wasn't humming then. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Naomi

Stop humming at least until you reach Casals or Toscanini notoriety. After that is OK. What am I saying ? Once there you could actually hum and ...

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I usually curse when I play <_< . Someone already mentioned, but Toscanini hummed and it got louder and louder as he got older. However, in general as an instrumentalist, it may be a habit the you should be able to control, it could be pretty annoying in chamber music, but probably incosequential in orchestra.

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One author of a book on how to practice recommends dealing with difficult passages by trying to sing them. Once you can sing them (or come close enough in your singing to indicate that you have a clear mental conception of the music), you'll be able to play them.

This is actually an ancient teaching technique. It’s great in group workshops too.

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Ive been trying to dig around and find the scientific article about how parts of the brain light up regarding music that is directly related to language centers of the brain. When playing and listening to music it lights up all areas of the brain but the language centers are more rapid firing if I remember correctly. I'll keep digging around and see if I can find it.

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I went to see a very famous L.A. session musician/multi-instrumentalist play a small venue solo show and he apologized that: "Yes, he drools sometimes while playing"

Not recommended as a teaching technique, especially in group lessons. [drooling emoticon] eusa_drool.gif

I haven’t dribbled on anything yet, but I often find myself playing with my mouth open. I suppose it’s better than clenched teeth, but only a little better. boohoo.gif

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