Breathing is key when tooting your horn

2010-07-01 14:57

Recent news reports reveal that vuvuzela mania should come with a


A rush of injuries suggest that a successful vuvuzela hoot requires

more than just placing the horn on your lips and blowing.

In Cape Town an untutored soccer fan, Yvonne Meyer, tore her throat

and couldn’t talk or eat for about two days after a zealous encounter with her

favourite horn.

City Press sought the counsel of Brent Baumann, a classical

hornsman who plays trumpet for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Baumann says when playing the vuvuzela, as is the case with the

trumpet, breathing properly is everything. “You must breathe in and out as

though (you are) singing.”

However, because vuvuzela mania hits South Africans during moments

of jubilation, people generally break the “breathe in and out” rule.

They take

in less air and end up hyperventilating, which leads to dizziness.

Baumann reckons Meyer’s injury was likely the result of bad

breathing. “She probably compressed a lot of air in her throat instead of

storing it in her lower abdomen.

The air pressure might have ruptured her pharynx (the cavity

at the back of the mouth. It opens into the oesophagus at the lower end)


The most common vuvuzela-related injury is cut or chipped lips. To

avoid this, blowers are advised not to press the vuvuzela too hard against their


Baumann added: “This is because the mouthpiece rim of the plastic

horn is thin and sharper than the trumpet’s.”

This also explains why people get swollen lips after an encounter

with the horn.

» To some, the vuvuzela is more than a

musical instrument.

When the Vodacom Blue Bulls’ fans descended on Orlando Stadium in

Soweto for both the Super 14 rugby semifinal and the final a week later, a group

of supporters morphed their vuvuzelas into beer-guzzling funnels.

Send your

vuvuzela pictures and stories to

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