can't play hign notes loud

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SonicBlast, May 8, 2009.

  1. SonicBlast

    SonicBlast New Friend

    May 7, 2009
    Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
    I'm a sophomore in high school and this will be my 6th year playing trumpet. I have a decent range (a few notes above high C), and I'm told i have good tone. However, i can't play my "high" notes loud. I can play them, but not loud. Even when i play with my school's symphonic band and I have to hold a B just below high C i have to really work to get that to be heard well above the band. People talk about blasting high notes, but i can't even make myself do that.

    If it helps, i'm playing on a Jupiter JTR-1602 and Yamaha mouthpieces: 14B4 for symphonic and 14A4a for jazz. The higher notes are easier to play loud on the 14A4a but that might be the shallower cup.
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Have you cleaned your mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush? This can cause this problem.
  3. SonicBlast

    SonicBlast New Friend

    May 7, 2009
    Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
    I haven't done that lately but they look clean. I'll try that and get back to you guys. Thanks!

    Just out of curiosity, how would that cause the problem?
  4. rettepnoj

    rettepnoj Fortissimo User

    Feb 22, 2009
    If the mouthpiece is to dirty, it will be to narrow! But since you say they are clean, thats not the problem!

    I think you should try to work with your air! Try to use fast air!!!
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    With a name like SonicBlast, I am not sure that I want to tell you what to do!:lol:

    In any case, high notes are the result of dedicated practice, good breathing habits and a good daily routine. Most of the students that I start as beginners have a solid high C in 12-18 months. It would be possible to get high notes faster, but I demand that they can do something musically with it before we focus on it.

    By the way, the 14A4A is not louder, it is just more obnoxious.

    You want to play high notes? What do you practice now? When you pick the horn up, what do you do and how long. Do you have a teacher? If so, what do they say?
  6. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Clean your horn too, just to eliminate it as a possible source of difficulty (but it is not likely).

    High notes need to be practiced softly if you want to get them loud. In addition, extra low range work like pedal tones help to relax your embouchure. When playing the high notes are you increasing mouthpiece pressure on your lips?

    It takes a combination of RELAXED embouchure, a smaller aperture, and faster air (think of aiming your high notes further away the higher you go). Tension will do you in. Work on the pitches below where you are experiencing difficulty, doing long tones and chromatic exercises (Clarke). If they come in loud and clear when you want, raise the upper end of the chromatic exercises into the harder range, one half-step at a time. Don't pull your corners back, you'll just get more tension. Think about feeding more lip INTO the area behind the mouthpiece. Arching your tongue (do a search) will help focus the airstream and facilitate a smaller sperture. Think breath support! Strength for this comes from your mid-section, not your face, throat, or lips (or your hands).

    Be patient. Don't save this work for the end of your practice session. See if you can pick up a half-step a week. Be patient. Did I say "Be patient?" Give as much attention to the bottom of your range as the top. RELAX!
  7. SonicBlast

    SonicBlast New Friend

    May 7, 2009
    Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
    Let me start off by saying I am very impressed! You guys responded very quickly. And at odd times. It's about 10 to 5 pm here in Saudi.

    To rowuk: I've used the name for a long time as a screen name for all sorts of things. I'm an accomplished guitarist too, mainly electric, so i thought it fit everything. And it makes me feel a bit better i suppose. :)

    With the 14A4a I guess it's easier to play "louder" because it cuts through easier.

    Part of my problem is I haven't played high notes regularly for a while. Last year I would try to improv to MacArthur Park up in that range, and I could do it pretty well. But I've been more concerned with tone this year, so I guess I've lost my high notes a bit. But this was the case beforehand as well.

    Right now I'm practicing Rubank studies, band music, scales, and jazz improv. Just as an overview. In recent weeks I got out of practice so I'm building up my endurance right now more than anything.

    My teacher didn't seem to think they were very soft, but her house is seems live to me. And i'm working hard when I'm there. Ha... when i said I can't blast, she said. "That's kind of odd, but that's a good thing. don't try."

    man... every time i see your signature I laugh...

    to veery715: My trumpet was just super cleaned. so that's not a problem.

    I don't use a whole lot of pressure. I mean, i'm not jamming my horn in my face.

    I've only been exposed to pedal tones once or twice. I'm kinda on my own over here. I only go back to the USA once a year. (I'm American)

    Thanks guys, I'll try all of this.

    might braces have anything to do with this?
    Last edited: May 8, 2009
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    It is not uncommon for players to experience a “pyramid effect,” in which the upper register gets softer and softer as one approaches the top of the range. This is contrasted by some other players who can only “blast” out the high notes. Of the two problems you have the “better” of the two.

    In both cases, the cause is usually a problem with the aperture/air pressure ratio. When playing high notes, the aperture is smaller, when playing softly, the aperture is smaller. To play a loud high note may involve an aperture larger than a softer, lower note. Weird stuff.

    To compensate, our good ‘ol long tones come in handy: pick a relatively high note and practice with a crescendo to fff and a decrescendo to pp. Proceed chromatically upwards. While this may not completely counter the “pyramid effect” it should make the sides steeper, and increase our usable range.

    Good luck, and have fun!
  9. TrumpetLucian

    TrumpetLucian Pianissimo User

    May 7, 2009
    Notes that start as a squeak will grow. Proper breathing techniques, equipment choice, etc, will aide you in this. Go to Kadleck or WiseOne's forums, both guys can help with some general specifics :)
  10. 36393

    36393 New Friend

    Feb 21, 2009
    This has been a useful discussion for me. I have been playing about three months now after a forty year lapse and I have been diligently practicing to reacquire my old skills. I have not been pushing the high notes, instead working on technique and endurance rather than range. But I was feeling pretty good the other day and thought I would see if a C two lines above the staff was in reach. It was, but it lacked the volume and fullness of lower notes and I felt much back pressure in the horn. The thought crossed my mind that I might need a large bore horn and a bigger mouthpiece, but something Irv Sarin told me years ago has always stuck with me - "It's not what you've got, but what you can do with it." So I applied the advice offered in this thread - relax and open up - and the high notes too have relaxed and opened up.

Share This Page