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vi tenor/alto, yss-62 soprano, the martin baritone, muramatsu flute, R13 clarinet
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everybody, I posted a couple of months ago about an upcoming deviated septum surgery and I asked about what I should expect, recovery time, etc. This is just a quick update to let you know that I postponed the surgery a couple of weeks to eek in a couple of gigs I was nervous about being able to play and, now that I'm 4 weeks into recovery, I'm doing well. No complications. Breathing through both sides of my nose is frickin' amazing! It's almost like hearing in stereo for the first time after being born with one ear. But wait, there's more: let me tell you about some of the 'side effects'.

About a week after they took the tampons/splints out of my nose I noticed after I woke up the next morning that I was ready to start the day and had a burst of energy. And this is without having my usual morning coffee(s)! I've never felt like this as far back as I can remember, as I always zombie-walk through my day with a "sleepy" look on my face, ready for a nap at any opportune time. And then, a couple of days later, I did something my wife told me not to: I picked up my flute when she wasn't around. I couldn't help it. Just for a couple of minutes. I was shocked when immediately I felt I had a warmer, darker tone than ever before. It was hard to put the instrument down, but I didn't want too many unnecessary vibrations screwing up my fresh healing process. I was sitting on pins and needles after that day waiting for the chance to see what other goodies the surgery fairy had left under my pillow.

A few days later I had a gig where I was playing piano and singing harmonies with my wife. My singing voice, which I've absolutely struggled to train for about ten years, suddenly and without warning gained a noticeable new resonance, a "whine" in my voice that appeared on a select few notes (and annoyed the crap out of me) disappeared and my "vocal identity crisis" has been cured. Because of my limited range I always assumed I was a baritone singer (and trained my voice as such), however I've always thought that I lacked the deep resonance that my true baritone singer friends have. My voice, for the first time, was suddenly "connecting" between the chest and head registers, and easily! I'm certain now that I'm some form of an untrained tenor. I'm absolutely stunned and this puts a new spin on lots of my gigs going forward. I mean, just knowing what stuff I "should" be singing for the first time is a total game-changer.

A week after the singing gig I had permission from Dr. Wife to play a little bit of sax. I only had my alto around (which isn't my primary) but figured it was as good as anything. Not terribly surprising, my alto sounded warmer and fatter than it had before the operation. What!? A few days later I was able to get to my tenor and, all of my mouthpieces, even the ones that I felt were "thinner" or "brighter" before, sounded warmer and fatter to my ears, absolutely playable and far more fun to blow on. I can't wait to have some more time to dig in!

Scientifically speaking, the 'improvements' with the instruments could be merely placebo based on the weeks I had to lay off playing, but I really don't think that's entirely the case. On tenor (where I have played metal mouthpieces for 20+ years), I've struggled forever trying to eliminate a buzz that I hear when I play which has forced me to lean towards only the darkest of metal mouthpieces. On alto the buzz hasn't been as big of an issue (hard rubber mpc only) but the buzz was still there in smaller quantities. I wonder how much of this "new sound" has to do with the fact that the sinus passages on one side of my nose were mostly blocked, and that in turn caused problems with my hearing and ramped up the bone conduction? I go for a hearing test next week and I'm curious to see if there's been any improvement. While the instrument gains might be, to the outside ear, not very noticeable if at all, the horns sound night-and-day different in my ears. One improvement that is certain to the outsider, however, is the connection in my singing voice. Undeniable.

Overall, the surgery was relatively painless, the first few days in the hospital were miserable with lack of sleep, constant blood/mucus draining, my nose being terribly sensitive, my eyes being terribly sensitive, and a terribly annoying roommate on top of it all, but after the stuff inside the nose came out and I was at home laying on my couch surfing YouTube videos it was all downhill.

Thanks you guys for chiming in on my last post. It was good to know others have gone through this. Your posts were terrifically informative and also pushed me to postpone the knifing until after my concert/gig.

Until next time,
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