Beginners' starting range.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Mambo King, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Mambo King

    Mambo King Pianissimo User

    Aug 20, 2009
    This is probably a dumb idea but I've been to classes with Wayne Bergeron and James Morrison recently and based on things they said have been wondering about how we start, where our base set up is. I'm an amateur, a comeback player playing for a hobby so I'm more than happy to be put in my place by those in the know so here is my idea...I and most everybody that I've spoken to about this was taught from an initial base range of bottom C-G which if we take as a desired target range bottom F# to G above high C requires the upward development of some 2 to 2 1/2 octaves. What is the received wisdom on starting at C on the stave and developing in both directions by 1 1/2 octaves ? Wouldn't it make the extremes of range seem more attainable, especially as there would (hopefully) be equal emphasis on both high and low range? OK, maybe that last bit is a bit naive but what are your thoughts? I often use a mixture of Vizzutti exercises and Hanon Virtuoso Pianist exercises taking them through the keys without resetting my chops (breathing through my nose) and after an octave or so (if I start on a bottom G) I can really feel it but this last week I've played a C on the stave first and then played the exercises without resetting and have felt much fresher and have been able to go around a fourth higher.

    OK, the blindfold is on, do your worst...ready...take aim...b...!!!!

  2. Churchman

    Churchman Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 26, 2012
    The esteemed Arban says that the usable trumpet range is 'middle' C up one and a half octaves to G above the stave. He must say that for some reason - and he couldn't possibly be wrong, could he?

    Come on then - diss Arban - anyone got the courage to do it?! ROFL
  3. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    The way up is to start wherever you are. I think Martin Luther said that once.
  4. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    I think Rich Willey produced a book that gave either of your two options i. G and ii. C as valid starting focus points, and his document (I'll see if it's still in my library and perhaps PM you) provides exercises using both starting notes as the initial focus. It would seem logical to use C as it is the normal tuning note, but for many of us G is simply physically easier - perhaps because it's not as easy to "slip" off the note - perhaps simply from "tradition". The Rich Willey book is looking at starting note focus to assist in development of the upper ranges specifically.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  5. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    I think the answer is, you start where you comfortably can.
  6. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I think --- START --- is a given, you have to start someplace ---- I also think that doing intervals up the scale (ie. G to A, G to B, G to C, etc) ---- and then later on octave leaps (C to C, D to D, etc) ---wherever your range is (do this at first where it is comfortable) -
    anyways --- I think that helps to develop range, without significantly changing your embouchure between octaves, by using air, and very small movements of your aperture ------ so you end up with flexibility, and "ease" of different octaves -------------and THEN it doesn't seem to be such an "impossible dream" -- to reach from the low F# (below the staff) -- to the G , 4 ledgers above the staff -------------((well that is my opinion)) and of course -- 1,000's of hours of practice over almost 4 years, and still, it isn't a perfect day every day in my little trumpet world -- but it is getting better)
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  7. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    If you can play a third space C relaxed with minimal pressure and strain then I have found the 19/30s exercise very good for range, tone and endurance.
    Start with C, played softly and held for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, repeat descending a semitone at a time playing 30 resting 30 until the F# below the stave. This will take 19 minutes, breath when necessary until you can hold the note for the full 30 seconds. On completion rest for 20 minutes before playing again.

    You may be more comfortable starting on second line G. This exercise can also be used ascending by semitones in the same manner, it is more difficult to keep relaxed as excessive tension and pressure can creep in. This is a real workout.

    Regards, Stuart.
  8. corona

    corona Pianissimo User

    May 6, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    I recently just started as well I was told was to develop the low range first and progress in intervals. Middle C to G. Then C-C. And staying there for a good while.

    My initial mistake was trying to play higher notes too fast. I "can" play high C-G, but not without significant strain that was leading to bad habits. Bad habits are harder to get rid of in the long run and my teacher told me off for taking shortcuts.

    So I stay within notes I'm comfortable with (C-C) to ensure my embouchure is developed properly with "good" habits. Once the fundamentals are good, you slowly progress.

    Set yourself a target - if you strain too much to hit your target, then stop. Try again tomorrow.

    Once you hit your target comfortably, play it another few times and stop. Rinse and repeat the next day. Don't persist to the point that you are straining as you naturally find "bad" ways to compensate.

    That's what I was taught. Hope this helps.

    edit: and by bad habits I mean things like excessive mouthpiece pressure. Squeezing the sides of your mouth. Moving your mouthpiece to the side of your mouth.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  9. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    Wayne Bergeron and James Morrison are especially gifted players in the area of range. Each could have started somewhere around G above High C to Double C and done fine. These notes of course are unplayable for the great majority of serious trumpet players. Let alone beginners...

    That said there are trumpet methods which actually start trumpet players out in the extreme register. The most noted one is "Stevens-Costello" which sorry to say has far more failures than successes. If you were to pull this off it would first require the latent ability to blow forward jaw. This characteristic occurs only in a minority of brass players.

    Then find some old timer who knows the Stevens system and is willing to teach it. But you still might be wasting your time unless you are a truly good fit for these chops. Only if the shoe fits!

    Roy Roman teaches it. Or at least has tapes out about the program.

    Now as per Churchman's request I shall diss Arban:

    It is a wholly BORING book. Written long before the big band era. As such is nearly completely unsuitable for most trumpet players trying to eek out a living (or just a hobby) as a solid lead trumpet player in commercial, big band, rock or R & B music.

    Nothing in Arbans about mouthpieces either. I don't own the book anymore and would consider it only a keepsake if I did have one. Plus the bindings were notoriously weak. Split apart within a few months.

    Yes you saw it here first. In todays' trumpet playing climate?

    I'll happily declare that the Arbans book sucks for most of us. In fact the greater Damage done by the book is the fact that it is boring. Younger players need inspiration not junk meant to please Queen Victoria... Might be decent book if you wanted to be a purely classical trumpet player. But for that my first choice would be

    "Clarke Technical Studies For Cornet" that and tons of orchestral literature. Along with the training of some kind of pro trumpet player from a big city professional symphony. Like Boston or New York.

    And yes he would most definitely prescribe the Arbans book lol...
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  10. gchun

    gchun Piano User

    Dec 10, 2003
    Rich's book is called "Focal Point."


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