Help!!! Range probelm :(

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by DatBoiEd09, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. DatBoiEd09

    DatBoiEd09 New Friend

    Aug 17, 2008
    I play Trumpet and I have a little problem. 2 weeks ago I got home and just took out my trumpet and just started to play some high notes just for the heck of it. I didn't warm up when i started or warmed down after i was done. After that day I went to Marching band, which i go everyday of the week playing at least 8 hours a day, and I warm up and then i started to play some high notes. As i tried i couldn't reach an F on the top of the staff. So i tried some other notes but I couldn't get them out . I was so confused and didn't know what to do. So i thought maybe they were sore from playing, but now i still can't reach them and i could before really good. Its been 2 weeks and I am real frustrated cause i play first part for marching band and i want to play. Just to let you know i only use my bottom lip to play and some of my top lips but mostly im on top of the mouth piece. I've been playing like that every since i started and i wish someone would have noticed that and changed it. Could my Lips be the probably? Also they are chapped so i dont know if that effects them. I do ice my lips, but nothing helps. Could you help me please? i really do want to play normally again. Please write back.:dontknow:
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, DatBoiEd09!

    Yeah, no top lip isn't ideal, but it sounds like you were doing ok until you played the high notes and Marching Band started. It could well be that you are suffering from plain old fatigue, and eight hours a day is a bunch of playing, especially after some vacation time. I like playing notes below the staff softly while singing almost the same note for a warmdown--it will get a slow vibration going that really helps to relax the lips, and can really freak out the woodwind players!

    The best cure for chapped lips is to hydrate from the inside out, so drink plenty of water.

    One thing that sometimes works, although counter-intuitive, is to drop the jaw a bit for the high notes--strength can be our enemy sometimes.

    If you want to change your chops, it can be done, but best done in the off-season--you'll need about 12 weeks of hard work with a good brass teacher for the change to have a chance to become effective.

    Hope some of this helps!
  3. MLanghardt

    MLanghardt New Friend

    Apr 7, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    Take a day off the horn if possible and try and relax. Drink plenty of water and hydrate completely. When you go back to the horn try a nice easy warm up with lots of long tones and some lip slurs. Look into developing a daily warm up routine and researching a trumpet teacher named Bill Adams. I can't tell you how much my playing has improved just with a daily routine. If your high notes were fine before, they should come back. Just use plenty of air and don't force anything. Rely on your air to hit the high notes not pressure. Warm down with more long tones and etc. It's important to take care of your chops each and every time you play. Like always, let sound be your judge.

    An embouchure change is a completely different topic. Your mouthpiece placement will become an issue if you choose to pursue trumpet outside of highschool. I'd look into getting a good personal trumpet teacher and getting some professionals opinions. I used to play very similar to how you described your own embouchure. I could play great high notes, but overall my tone and playing was not where it needed to be. Your trumpet teacher will be able to tell you whether or not you should change your embouchure. Just be ready for a few of the hardest months of your life. Look into some therapy or an embouchure change support group. :-P Best wishes with everything you do and welcome to the site. There are many amazing professionals here who are always willing to help out. Remember to just enjoy playing and take care of your chops each and every time you play.
  4. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria
    How about a group of the anonymous mouthpiece and other gear freaks? ROFL
  5. et_mike

    et_mike Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 16, 2007
    Chesapeake, VA
    More than likely, like the other guys have already said, you are suffering from a combonation of fatigue and frustration. Trying really hard to squeeze the notes out is going to hurt you in the long run. Take a day off, relax and come back to the horn refreshed. When you do start playing, don't force anything... remember to play smarter, not harder.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I've seen a post like this before.
    You claim to play 8 hours a day, and don't have an F on the top of the staff. That tells me that you better quit marching band before you don't have any teeth left in your mouth.

    Maybe I am to old and too critical, but if any band director watches his flock waste themselves, he should be set to jail, not state competitions. The only advice that I can give you is get smart. The finest players in the world do not need half of the time that you claim to play to maintain their chops. If your band teacher is that stupid, you are not doing yourself a favor by staying there.
    I will even go so far as to say the skills that a marching band needs to win can be built in half that time. 2 hours of playing and 2 hours of marching drill - combining the two just before the competition. 8 hours, if it is the truth, borders on child abuse! Not with my kids or students!
  7. DatBoiEd09

    DatBoiEd09 New Friend

    Aug 17, 2008
    eh, u wouldnt understand, anyways this was during the summer.

  8. Trumpet guy

    Trumpet guy Forte User

    Feb 9, 2008
    IMO the "just for the heck of it" part was the key (not to sound nonchalant). Perhaps you're using too much pressure and tension to get up the staff. Just relax the throat and shoulders and let the notes come out. It might take some time to figure out the exact lip tension needed to get easy high notes out but be patient and you can figure it out. It sounds like you already have the chops for the high notes, you just need to use them more efficiently.

    That there is, for many people, a very endurance sucking embrouchure. I certainly did. If you are like most people that could also be contributing to the loss of range. It's OK for popping out high notes, but once that's done you lose a lot for a while.

    Overall, a good private teacher will be able to help sort out the problem, if you have one.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    you are mistaken, I understand what the problem is. Many of my students have run into similar situations.

    Let's just back up a bit.

    If you spend a whole summer, 8 hours a day on math and can't count to 10 in September, you wasted a lot of time.

    Trumpet is no different. Building quality chops is an investment that does not dissappear over night. If you through intelligent practice at one time EARNED your range, there would be no issue here.

    The only way to get and keep chops is steady, intelligent practice and not beating yourself up on a regular basis. If you can't stick to that very simple rule, there is no way to help you. You reap what you sow.

    Squeeking out a couple of high notes did not ruin your chops. The cause for that lies most likely in your routine or lack of one.

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