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Stress VPI

I first started experiencing this (stress velopharyngeal insufficiency) about a year and a half ago, but not very much. I had to practice quite a lot for an audition about eight months ago (5 hours straight, at one point), followed by two intensive honor band weekends. During all of this, the VPI that was "in the background," per se, got much worse. I still can't play without experiencing it, and I don't want to do any permanent damage. Would anyone happen to have a way to help to treat this (other than surgery), or who possibly has advice from prior experience? Thanks!


Staff member
Well I'm not a doctor, but a quick search seems to indicate that this is a physical condition that can only be corrected by surgery. If it only flares up during nervous stress, perhaps some sort of relaxation meds or therapy may help, but that may also affect your playing ability.

If it was me, I might try something benign like CBD, which is supposed to reduce stress and anxiety. I have a dog that is scared of thunder, fireworks, gunshots. etc. We have been treating him with CBD, and he is much more relaxed.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
I have *never* practiced five hours straight, or played a gig that long either.
I did practice that long, once: when I first lived at college a loooooooong time ago. Dorms were too distracting. I could practice in the music building during the day and do homework in the library at night. Also had a part-time job doing transcriptions 'n' such, but that was one of those never-ending projects. I occasionally changed the schedule for when there was going to be a good show/recital in the music building at night and/or if I had finals to study for. This lasted for all of a year, so ...

I'm pretty sure that I've played 5+ hour sessions on Christmases and New Years. Not necessarily continuously. Maybe over a 24 hour period?

Anyhow, going back on track, while we do have some folks here that have medical training, going to a real doctor is going to be the best call. I did my 2.5 minutes of Googling and it looks like surgery could be in your future, as it's a "structural" problem.
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