Can't Hit High E

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Ufachotchin, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Ufachotchin

    Ufachotchin Pianissimo User

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    May 19, 2014
    Youngstown, Ohio, USA
    Hello,
    I am heading into my sophomore year of high school (10th grade). I decided that I would increase my range during the summer as I am moving up to first trumpet in marching band and lead in jazz. I have been doing the 19/30's exercise when I can for about a month now. I was pleased with my progress until about a week ago. I can consistently play strong, full notes up to Eb above the staff (progress for me, having struggles to hit high C earlier this year) but that all changes when I get to E. Even when I scale up chromatically I just get air on High E. I would be happy if it even just barely squeaked out. But there's no sound at all beyond that of air going through my horn. Any help is greatly obliged.
    Thanks
    Nick DiGiacomo
     
  2. Trumpeter3197

    Trumpeter3197 New Friend

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    Jun 30, 2012
    High E is not a comfortable or easily slotting note on most horns at first. I had the exact same problem when I was around your age; I found that there seemed to be a sort of barrier between the Eb and the E, where I could play D's and Eb's fairly strong but the E came out as a crack at best. This is not an unusual problem to have, and the main way to fix it is to build your high chops in that register, especially if you are only really starting to do range exercises.

    There is a boundless array of books out there that people look to for range exercises, of which I personally would suggest Colin lip flexibilities and Maggio exercises, but no matter what kind of exercises you are doing (correctly, of course), the way to build range is by using the top of your range, those D's and Eb's, in your practice routine. Play down a page of Colin studies until you hit the highest one that you can comfortably play and make a routine of it. Do ascending, quiet long tones starting on E or G above the staff and go until the highest note you can comfortably sustain at a quiet volume. The point is to make use of the upper end of your range in your practice routine, and if you are practicing correctly (which you need a good teacher to judge), that upper end will skyrocket. Make sure to be careful when doing such exercises, however, as doing something like a long tone or lip slur on your highest note is extremely strenuous, and as soon as you can't hit the note without mashing the mouthpiece in your face or scrunching up/stretching your corners, STOP and REST. Stopping and resting when necessary is the bread and butter of range exercises, and I speak from experience when I say you will injure yourself if you don't do it.

    The journey from High Eb to E can be a long one, certainly longer than that from high D to Eb or even E to F, but with proper practice you will get that half step.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    When your range stops at a particular note, you simply are using too much pressure, we use too much pressure when our breathing and body use suck, our breathing and body use suck when we do not have a daily routine designed to build better breathing and body use habits (posture in every sense of the word).

    So, there is the problem and the solution. The rest is up to you. It has nothing to do with E or F slotting worse. If you weren't using too much pressure, the notes above your strong range would simply get wimpier the higher you go.

    We use pressure in the beginning because it works. You have simply reached the point where it is choking off further progress.

    By the way, it IS possible that high E is a bit flat, but it is one of the STRONG notes in the partial series.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    It may be that the unwanted pressure is added before the very first note is played. Forming an embouchure before applying the mouthpiece can help.
     
  5. Ufachotchin

    Ufachotchin Pianissimo User

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    May 19, 2014
    Youngstown, Ohio, USA
    Thanks to all of you for responding! Your advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  6. salebow

    salebow New Friend

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    Jul 10, 2014
    Edmond, OK
    I completely understand and feel you frustration. As a comeback player who has had a 15 year layoff, I find it hard to get to A above the staff right now. Slowly but surely, I am coming along. Keep working at it, it'll come in time.
     
  7. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    In high school I barely got that E --- but now at nearly 50 --- I can pull er up to a decent double high C --- but it is now that I have a lot more patience --- and time as I'm 5 1/2 years on my comeback ---
     
  8. Ufachotchin

    Ufachotchin Pianissimo User

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    May 19, 2014
    Youngstown, Ohio, USA
    Rowuk,
    Keeping what you said in mind I scaled up chromatically from a third space C while trying to back off the pressure. I got right up to a high F# and held it for a few seconds. Thanks for the advice.
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I measure success in months, not days or weeks.
    Upper register is built with lower register.
    I never use chromatics to build. We have too much time to twist our faces into shape to "squeeze" out yet another crappy note.
    I never work on upper register as the goal. We work on breathing and body use and good habits that reduce the obstacles to high notes. That simply takes time.
    If you are using pressure and remove it, your range goes down by at least a third until the new habits are built.
    You can post your dreams or anything else that you want. Reality distortion is common among trumpeters! What is BS or chance is immediately obvious. The body works in a predictable way. Building habits requires hundreds to thousands of repetitions. Getting rid of old bad habits takes about that much too. You are no exception.
     
  10. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    5 1/2 years on a comeback -- and approximately 5,000 hours on the trumpet during that time!!!!!!
     

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