Figuring out the upper register

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Myshilohmy, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2009
    What does it mean and how do I fix leaky corners in my upper register? I have consistent high D's, my E's are getting a little better and I can play them if I'm fresh, the highest I can squeak daily is a high G (an octave above the G on top of the staff) but that's when I get the most leaky corners, and the note doesn't speak well. It is sort of like talking on the phone while under a tunnel, in and out. I know if I fix the leaking I can get the note to speak better, but does anyone know how I can fix it? And what is causing it? My teacher said it could be pressure, but my face doesn't really hurt after I play. Is it possible it's just because it's new to me and I'm still getting used to that register?

    On another note, another teacher of mine told me one time if I'm playing in the upper register (he said it's different for everyone, but usually around A above the staff) to push out your jaw so any pressure you may be using don't crush your upper lip. Thoughts on this?
  2. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Just subscribed to this thread. Waiting to see some of the answers.
  3. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    I practice chromatic scales... like clarke exercises #1, #5, #9. As soft as I can. Up and down. I also play the standard clarke exercises in the upper register. #1 8va starting on middle C. #2, #3, #4. Soft, slow, easy.
    I practice Colin lip flexibilities... chromatic lip trills in the back half of the book. soft. with control... the descending portion at the end is important as is blowing through the "whee" parts to drive into the next partial.
    I practice 1 and 2 octave glissandos. Middle c to high c. then c#, d, eb, etc... fermata on 1st note then make every partial in between in good even time, short fermata on the top note, then back doen to bottom note. hold it with good centered tone. Rest... then go to next note. eventually work up to 3-octaves... low f# to high f#, g to g.. up to DHC. SOFT!

    Practicing range is not just playing a high c then ripping to an F as loud as you can and then doing a kiss-off

    CONTROL is what you are after. Playing high and loud is much easier than playing high, soft, and with control.

    REST is also the most important component of a range building program. Weight lifters can't go lift weights as hard as they can every day. You need to rest and rebuild. When you start feeling like you are pushing then stop. rest. try again later.

    Range is built like carlsbad caverns... one drip at a time over a period of time. you can't just pour a ton of water on a stalagmite and build it up all at once. It has to drip, then it needs time to evaporate (rest), then repeat.

    Some people like gadgets (pencil trick, PETE, etc...) to help build corner strength. I never got into them.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  4. Darten

    Darten Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 21, 2009
    New York City
    Just a note on the PETE, I found out the hard way, that I should have bought the plastic finish, the silver finish tarnishes like anything else, and tastes horrible after being cleaned. IF... you are going to buy a PETE, buy the plastic one. :-)
  5. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    try cleaning it with Johnny Walker Black!
  6. mgcoleman

    mgcoleman Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 22, 2010
    I've had mild success with slight forward movement of the lower jaw...has helped avoid excessive MP pressure on both lips (especially the upper lip).
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    The interesting thing about this post is that it doesn't really describe a problem. We see this often in trumpet forums. In this case he's noted a condition but not necessarily a problem.

    Air leaks form the side of his mouth when playing in the upper register but so does mine. No one can hear it because a High G is ten thousand times louder than a minor air leak.

    Again the thing to remember is that most teachers truly are clueless about physical issues. They're sometimes OK at prescribing exercises and developing musicianship. Mostly though they have no idea about the principles involved.
  8. Darten

    Darten Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 21, 2009
    New York City
    I tried peanut butter, but I kept licking the roof of my mouth.

    And in response to Locals post... that is a curious point you make, it makes me wonder, can the embrouchure be completely air tight? Can the muscles really be so strong as to let zero air out?
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The leaks have nothing to do with range.

    There are two types of players: naturally gifted - which does not keep them from having to practice, it just means that certain things are easier because of bodily predisposition, exceptionally aware, hard working or many other things.

    Everyone else has their own path that they need to find. That path is integrating the body, mind and soul. Those that understand what that means have an advantage.

    I will post again what the deal is: NO EXCERCIZE IN THE WORLD WILL MAKE ANYONE PLAY BETTER, HIGHER, FASTER, LOUDER, MORE MUSICALLY! The key to getting better is learning and that is different than practicing. Learning means that we are practicing in a way that lets us understand what is good and not so good. It means that when we have options, we choose the one better for our development than the one with quick but finite results. All of those things come together when we stop looking for the silver bullet. It can take years for some, a lifetime for others and two lifetimes for most. The important part is not the high notes that you don't have - it is the playing opportunities for what you DO HAVE.

    There is simply not a lead gig for all of us and too many brainless with high notes.

    You say "another teacher" - are you trying to follow two?

    Nope, the MIRROR is the most important tool. Look closely at your motives, your drive, your patience and above all, your real problems. THEY are holding you back, not chromatics or lipslurs. Every brainlessly played note sets us back. THAT is where we start.

    Ask yourself why so many top players use Yoga, Alexander Method or martial arts in conjunction with their playing. Really think about it. It has nothing to do with muscle mass.
  10. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    The answer is that the embouchure doesn't have to be airtight. Mine leaks and has leaked since my first high G forty years ago. I could probably develop a way to eliminate the leak but it would require the gain in an unnecessary technique. And it wouldn't improve anything. In fact it would be a negative sum equation. At best a distraction.

    Over at any construction site we can usually observe an air compressor at work. To drive nails usually. All of these tanks leak a bit. You can hear them hissing from the less than perfect connections. Never the less they still deliver excellent pressure to the tools the drive.

    And while the air pressure we use in the body to play the trumpet is far less (on average under 5 PSI) than the compressed air in construction equipment (up to 120 PSI) the leakage is of no significance. Unless perhaps in a chamber music situation but even then only at pp volume. And again only the most minor of a nuisance.

    So don't bother "fixing" a mouth corner leakage. It ain't broke!

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