Advice needed

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by techboy10, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. techboy10

    techboy10 New Friend

    Sep 4, 2006
    Western Massachusetts
    So in my highschool band we are playing the music to the Polar Express for our holiday concert (among other things) and in the final part there are a couple high Ds (above high C) and Im having trouble hitting them. My range is really only up to a high C, and thats on good days (Im 16). There are only 3 other trumpets (35 kids in the band, 600 in the entire school 7-12) and they cant get the Ds either. I would really like to hit them for the concert (it would sound much better than just playing an octave lower) so if anyone has some advice on what I could practice to extend my range by even just 1-2 notes I would be very greatful.


  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The secret to high notes is that they are part of the total package of trumpet playing. You are in the position of a football punter wanting to learn to tackle better -- it is important, yeah, kind of, but not as important as the punter's real job to kick the football. That being said, you'll want to practice more of everything to start with, and then add some range studies to that. Long tones with dynamics are real good, and the book Top Tones has a great set of exercises at the beginning. If anyone has any quick remedies, I would love to find out what they are, 'cuz I've been looking for 40 some odd years now. Have fun, and remember that playing musically is way more important than playing high.
  3. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Jan 12, 2005
    Northern New York
    I think every hs player should read Vulgano's last post. Especially the end. Range comes in time. Sure, the high D's will generate alot more excitement. But, I think it's far more impressive to play a solid, musical performance with good sound and in tune.

    The best way to develop high register is by practicing softly in the middle register. Work on the Clarke studies. Softly. Develop good breathing practices. Build flexibility and endurance via lip slurs, again, softly. That will go a long way to develop your range over time.

    You mentioned you have C's "on good days". What are you doing to create "good days"?
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2006
  4. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    I had a lousy upper register until I changed the color of my font.

  5. Energy411

    Energy411 New Friend

    Nov 8, 2006
    HAHA ML, hilarious! I Agree with the above posts....perhaps ask your band director to re-score the last bar or two. Tell him to change some chord inversions. You can still play a note on the top of the staff (likely a G or an A) that will sound impressive in itself. Don't hurt yourself or form any terrible squeezing/forcing habits just to hit a couple of D's. After a few years of going after things the right way, and you're screaming F's above'll thank me. There's no quick fix to make you play with a great sound in the upper register. Sure sometimes those things come quicker and easier to some folks, but the great ones (ML) have developed their weaknesses to the point where they actually become a strengths. Key word: develop, over time and consistant great practicing, doing things the right way. Sure you can probably purchase a pee-shooter mouthpiece, sound like junk on the rest of the concert and squeak out those D's...but what's the point? :) I hope this helps! Good luck on your concert and have some fun!!
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2006
  6. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    My vote is to have the band director rescore the last few measures. Those 'D's that you are talking about are played very loud and you just aren't going to do that in two or three weeks---even with a cheater mouthpiece. Besides, the audience doesn't care how high the notes are, what they want is good sound. So, get the part scored down to where you can play it and play it well.

  7. techboy10

    techboy10 New Friend

    Sep 4, 2006
    Western Massachusetts
    Thanks for all the input everyone. I think Ill just play it an octave down, continue to practice and eventually (not anytime soon) my upper register will develope naturally.

    and to tpter1, I dont really know what I do to create my "good days". I usually sound much better when my band period is late morning to early afternoon. My sound gets clearer and less airy, maybe because Im more awake and ready to play.
  8. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I've found that you must first have very solid corners; then range will come. You just need to extend your range by one note right?

    Start playing scales. Take a C major and go. Then when you get to the Middle staff C walk it right up to the High C. Once there chromatically walk upward being sure to have pleanty of Air. Make sure to have your corners firm!

    My range stops at "D" over High "C" every now and then I can get the "E" but I'm fairly solid to high "D" and that's how I did it.

    Best of luck no matter what you do.

    And for what's it's worth I"m in total agreement with Glenn and Vulgano Brother; musically correct performance is where your focus should be. Once the fundementals are in place; range will follow.
  9. Liad Bar-EL

    Liad Bar-EL Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel
    About those fonts, Peter, maybe I'm color blind or something but I think that black and white is better for the eyes, don't you think?:D

    Now, back to the issue.

    1. You could buy Walt Johnson's book, Double High C in Ten Minutes, but he doesn't say when those ten minutes are going to start/end; so, you need to do more practical playing like get that horn off from pushing into your face, playing ppp with a full tone, rest, etc.

    2. George Grahman's, Range Builder is a good start for walking (pacing) one up the ladder to those high notes but again it requires time, effort, patience, and the need to do more practical playing like get that horn off from pushing into your face, playing ppp with a full tone, rest, etc.

    3. The other method besides asking us to help you via remote control from our high back leather chairs equipped with stereo speakers tapped into the overhead TV/Video player would be to get a pro teacher who will help you to do more practical playing like get that horn off from pushing into your face, playing ppp with a full tone, rest, etc.

    You have been given some good advice about using the Clarke's Technical Studies and I'll give you another book which will help....Claude Gordon's book, Brass Playing is no Harder then Deep Breathing.

    Good luck and don't expect too much too soon.

    Liad Bar-EL
  10. tromj

    tromj Piano User

    Jun 4, 2005
    Teaneck, NJ
    All the advice listed above is excellent. One other point to remember is that there is a big difference between being able to hit hig notes, and being able to PLAY high notes. Our goal is to play, lyrically, powerfully, even stridently, when called for.
    That means allowing the upper register to develop through thoughtful playing. One set of exercises I find useful are the Gekker Articulation Studies. They are not specifically designed for high note development, but if you can play them up to their highest notes, without blasting, you will develop your upper register in a sane manner. And they don't overdo it.
    Play melodies you know in a variety of keys and just try to play the melody. Don't worry about wowing a crowd with Maynard-like fire. That will come through good melody playing.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2006

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