Can't Play High Notes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dfusselman, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. lmf

    lmf Forte User

    May 16, 2007
    Indiana USA
    People playing instruments adapt and play wonderfully. We live in an imperfect world and I suspect many have imperfect embrochures, yet play in the high register and are successful. Rowuk speaks of techniques that will help those seeking to play better, including the higher register.

    Best wishes,

  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    I see your point... Wish I had a camera. Couple of my section boys got together and played with the pencil. Guess we are just different here then cause the pencil is more solid holding on the sides. Steel trap baby! HAHA. I still beg you to think about it though: If you hold the pencil using the "regular" front embouchure for say 5 or 10 minutes, which muscles start to burn first? For all my cats and myself it was the corners, hence me saying that the corners are indeed much stronger than the front of the embouchure. Thoughts?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  3. trumpetlore

    trumpetlore Pianissimo User

    Apr 14, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    sorry df, but I can't agree. This is clearly not a relaxed embouchure. I'd be when you smile, yours looks much flatter as well.
  4. Snorglorf

    Snorglorf Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    What about overbites? I've been playing for about a year and 2 months, and I can hit a semi-consistent high C. Should I be far above this?

    I don't know if I have this "widow's peak" you speak of or not.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    there is nothing to prove. Even if you find a picture, so what? The extra octave off to the side is possible because the tissue weighs less - less mass will vibrate more easily, the problem is that generally endurance goes down dramatically the further off center that you are. Even so here there are exceptions.
    Flat would be insignificant as when we blow towards our lips, the tissue is pushed forwards into the mouthpiece.

    Whether you want to believe anything, is up to you. The information is offered as is, from me after 30+ years of playing and teaching, for whatever that is worth.

    Good luck with your research.
  6. dfusselman

    dfusselman New Friend

    Dec 2, 2008

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Dr. Z. Since you admit to having a "widow's peak" AND having range problems--at least in the past--you fit right into my theory. Would you be willing to send a pic your chops to me? [email protected]

    Or just post them on this thread.

    Thanks for the attitude of being open to the truth--wherever it lands.

  7. Mason

    Mason Pianissimo User

    Oct 7, 2008
    poor trumpet i could hear it cry lol.
  8. mellowmood_in_ventura

    mellowmood_in_ventura New Friend

    Dec 4, 2008
    ahhh, the vexing question of "how the heck can I sceam like Cat Anderson"? is raised time and again, and I too, have this off-and-on problem. I can really wail like a banshee one day, and then wonder if it was a dream the other!
    I'll mention that earlier on, I never really played out of 'trumpet'(Bb) books, but rather I simply bought those songbooks that could be played on just about anything, and because I do play some guitar and piano, general songbooks were ideal for me. Such songbooks very seldom EVER go about G3, and so I simply played in a lower register. And when I got back on trumpet, and (finally) started to try playing beyond my usual range from an Arban, a funny thing happened: frequently when I'd play A3, it'd come out as G3. Well, I learned that the valve combo for both A3 and G3 can be the same: 1&2. And you can also play E2 with 1&2, and D2 as 1&3.
    *** now I've this dilemma ***
    Because I was always 'A3-shy', and getting G3 instead, I self-diagnosed myself with "A-Slip Syndrome", or A.S.S.(which is how I feel when it happens)...and what the heck can I do about it:dontknow:
    Well, a friend of mine in a Yahoo! group gave me the very same advise that my original trumpet teacher also gave me, and that's to lighten-up on the teacher suggested suspending my trumpet from a boom, and just allowing it to rest...Don(my friend) suggesting imagining kissing a gross old aunt(with a moustache)....well I'll also mention that I have an overbite, and I guess that got the notion that things would be aligned with lotsa pressure, but back when, I didn't know that I had an overbite. Heck, I didn't even know what an overbite was. I just seemed to feel that with enough pressure, I'd be able to play better. Nope, it don't do that way, because it stifles the buzz. And in the upper register, it's enough work to just get that buzz; to exert much pressure can nullify it. I don't know if my rambling with help anyone, but as Don has advised me, to practice with just a mousepieth, so that we don't broadcast our failings.
    Then, when we get a good buzzing in the upper register going, to attach it to the horn and set off the neighborhood dogs.:lol:

    JPTRPT New Friend

    Aug 14, 2008
    NY, NY

    Interesting thread!

    I think I may be able to offer some insight. Let's leave lip structure at the door for a moment.

    I noticed in both instances, the arpeggiated sequence you played had slides up to the subsequent slots (notes). This can result in an over tightening as you ascend into the upper register, ultimately cutting off the vibration of the lips. It also changes and limits the color spectrum. In this case, I believe playing off center allows for more "give". Fundamentally though, staying on the bottom side of the pitch, and keeping your embrochure constant will manifest more stability. Use air to manipulate the tones while maintaining the same embrochure for high G, C etc. as you would for G in the staff.

    It's can be a difficult adjustment at first, but I believe it will help you reach your goals; maximize your efficiency and minimize effort. Less is more.

    Just my $.02

    Stay at it!

    Joey Pero
  10. thebugleboy

    thebugleboy Pianissimo User

    Dec 10, 2008
    Deep South
    Has anyone mentioned Satchmo's lip structure and scarring? It didn't seem to bother him. I remember watching him slide all over the place and up into the clouds. You may notice that many power and high note men develop the "lip tip" over time, and the performance just seems to improve with it. I don't mean anything mean by this, but some have that special talent to build what they want from (seemingly) nothing, such as a one armed baseball player. They don't look for reasons why they are not successful, but keep reaching for the treasure they seek. There are many obstacles I have overcome in my quests, and there are some things that I have not been able to accomplish (probably because I didn't put out that Herculean effort or maybe because I just didn't have that in my talent repertoire). But I truly believe a man will do what he seriously makes up his mind to do. I played a tour with a horrifying gash on the inside of my upper lip (I won't volunteer the specifics). My teeth virtually cut through. But I found a way. It wasn't my best performances, but I was performing. My lip is nice and flat, and I had to work double hard to get my power and sky high notes.

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