Developing Accuracy In The Upper Register

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by talcito, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Hi Manny:

    Lately I have been having difficulty with my accuracy in the range of high C to G.

    Specifically I have been very innacurate when articulating. Last night I had a gig and I found myself slurring some of the lines to avoid missing.

    How can I practice to develop more consistancy and accuracy articulating in the upper register?

    Thank you!
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2007
  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    Let Manny have the first post...


    Okay, ARBANS!!!! I use a lot of those studies 8va to work on articulation and even to enhance range.

    Being more detailed than that though. It really helped me to do some study on how our bodies operate (such as from our posture affecting inhale, what muscles are actually used in the inhale and then exhale, etc) and then apply that to what we know/believe about how we play individually. There are a hundred different methods on "How to 'spin' the air" or "Hear it before you play it" (which I believe to be most peoples problems) or "If you hold the horn like this.." etc. Scales seem the easiest (in my opinion) to address articulation, consistency, sound, etc. They are easy to hear and you can think about addressing other issues and not have to worry too much about f = 1st valve.

    Another issue I find a lot is that people start thinking differently above high C. Such as, "Oh no, this is a high note. I hope I don't miss it." And just like that they frack, split, etc, because they are expecting it to be hard. Relax in all endeavors... of course, relax doesn't mean to be lazy either. Realize a C is a C is a C. Doesn't matter if it is a pedal or a dubba. My two cents. Keep the change. Eh, time to hit the axe. Peace.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2007
  3. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    I'm going to make a wild guess that recently you've been experimenting or been asked to do conscious tongue arching. I'd be surprised if I'm wrong but somewhere along the way you changed something. I'm going to assume that you were able to do it easily and now it's challenging. If that's the case, then, yeah, you changed something.

    Time to get back to pronoucing TOOH for all the notes you play in the upper register. It's not that it'll actually happen, it's just that going for TOOH will minimize the over-arching you're likely presently doing.

  4. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN

    I've read / heard the Manny-tra: "think TOOH" many times.

    So, about a month ago I started trying it more and more, especially for notes above the staff. I have found that if I try to force my embouchure to become "taller" as I play higher, that I must use the sides (corners) of the mouth to come in and reduce the 'aperture' for the higher notes.

    Wow - what a difference! I can play better, clearer, louder and longer above the staff without getting tired.

    Listen to Manny - you won't be able to keep your tongue from completely arching, or keep your lips from having increased pressure, but if you tell yourself "I'm going to say 'tooh', I'm going to make the embouchure taller and make it 'solid' with side support" you'll see what I mean.

    It won't happen overnight, you must be patient. After a week or two of watching what I was doing up there, and also doing some isometric excercises holding the mouth corners tight I have seen dramatic improvement.

    Notes above high C that once were iffy are now right there any time.

  5. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    To all:

    Thanks for the responses.

    Actually, I went thru a very strong "cold" about month ago that lasted like three weeks. I was able to stay in shape during that time and its been a month since I recovered.

    My troubles started during/after that "flu". The mouthpiece I have used for the last 6 years all of sudden started feeling the mouthpiece is too wide across. This inability to get the grip I am used to is what I feel is causing my current state.

    I changed my practicing a bit during the last few weeks. I was practicing things like jazz patterns and scales and got away from traditional "classical" type of practicing. I did this because it was a bit less stressfull on the ear infection I also had during that time. Perhaps this relaxed my embochure too much?

    These are the only changes I am aware about.......I have avoided going on a mouthpiece "safari" hoping the old feel will come back.......In the meantime playing correctly in the upper register is a real "circus."
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2007
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    It is very possible that your practice sessions with the flu altered your short term muscle memory (your breathing is not what it should be when you are sick, so the face muscles respond differently!). Were you on any medication? - that can also change your frame of reference!
    Get back to your old program. A new mouthpiece will confuse even more. It may take another couple of weeks to get comfortable!
  7. TrentAustin

    TrentAustin Fortissimo User

    Oct 28, 2003
    Boston, MA

    did we talk about the "marksmanship" drills in our lesson a few years ago?


  8. talcito

    talcito Piano User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Hi Trent:

    We worked on three routines.....I do not recall any being referred to as "markmanship drills" though.

    Please let me know if these drills could help.

    Thanks so much,


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