High C

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Lucas65653, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    The physics is fairly simple. It takes a fair bit of lung pressure to play even a quiet high C - typically 30" water gauge (WG) though this value seems to vary a bit with individual and experience. And your embouchure has to be strong enough to withstand that pressure without your aperture blowing open. To play either a louder high C, or a quiet high D, you need significantly higher lung pressure, and therefore significantly more strength in your embouchure. And so on.

    Add to this the complex microadjustments of aperture size and lip tension required to ensure you get a clear high C rather than a quiet D (or loud Bb!), all of which have to operate in synchrony without you having to think about them, and you get some idea of why relatively small improvements in range take many months of properly structured, regular practice to achieve.

    This is where lip slurs really come into their own. As a regular part of your practice routine, they both build the embouchure strength, and over many thousands of repetitions, lock in the muscle memory so that you can replicate the exact physical set up required for that note no matter what distance and direction you approach it from. Oh yes, and you have to get your abdominals working in synchrony too. And I'm not even going to mention the tongue. Oops.
  2. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    It's easier for the same reason getting stronger from a 1RM of 405 lb to 495 lb makes skwotting 315 lb.for reps- you have more neuromuscular engagement and increased work capacity from the pragarmming to get an extra 95 lb. Skwotting 315 for more and more reps every week only gets you better at skwotting 315, your max isnt going anywhere anytime soon. It's not rocket surgery, but you'll have to work and work smart - here's the key part - with a plan and keep track of it.
    Psychology plays a big part of it, too. It's hard to do something you're not prepared mentally to do. You have to visualise it, see it and hear it and smell it and feel it is your mind.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    There's already some great advice here in this thread, but I'll jump in with a couple of thoughts from my own experience and perspective.

    You say you've only been playing for 3 years, and didn't practice regularly. That sounds similar to where I was in middle school after I'd been playing for 3 years. I started in 5th grade and at the end of 6th grade I had a top space E - that was it. During my 7th grade year, I started practicing a lot. I got a taste of success with a chair placement tryout, and not wanting to lose the spot that I'd attained, I started working. By the end of the year I could hit the C. Not all the time, but it was there.

    As time went on, my range got stronger and more consistent - as a 9th grader, I could bore holes in the far wall with a high C, but I didn't always have a lot of control over it.

    What you need to remember here is that your embouchure is still in a state of development, and it's going to be in that state of development for years to come. Don't make the mistake of so many young players and make it all about how high you can play. Focus instead on your fundamentals. Focus on your SOUND! Focus on your control, both loud and soft. Focus on making your articulations and attacks clean and controlled.

    If you do those things, I'd be willing to bet that the range will take care of itself.
  4. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    I'll jump in with another factor - embouchure configuration. I couldn't think of a better phrase, but what I mean is the psychical attributes and construction of the embouchure, itself. That's one thing I read much less about on forums than breath, long tones, etc. And I think it's vital, not "in principal" but from personal experience.

    My parallel experience to the OP's is that I did practice regularly. But even into my college days, never had range beyond a high C; more like a G above the staff. No matter what I did, I could not do better than that. Ironically, I was always 1st trumpet in my school bands and made the high school All-State Bands (also 1st trumpet) beginning in my 9th grade.

    Since coming back to trumpet, I have found that all the great exercises and etude/development books in the world are not necessarily going to help an embouchure that has already gone wrong. Working on a great exercise with a faulty embouchure only misconfigures that embouchure. That's the mistake my teachers in the past made. Teaching all the right stuff ref: breath support, tongue position and use, you name it, but expecting a great Schlossberg exercise in and of itself to correct a wrong embouchure. I have no doubt that if the right basic configuration of embouchure is fundamentally there, there are exercises which will be beneficial, maybe even correcting a problem, altogether. But not always.

    I hate to bring this up because there will be opinions from other schools, but what's been working for me is Jeff Smiley's "The Balanced Embouchure". Some other things that have given me food for thought have been some comments by Caruso (and Laurie Fink), and Maggio. I now have a solid high C and somewhat workable but inaccurate F or G, and upwards to double C. It's because of a properly positioned embouchure and an attitude that "it's just not that hard".

    Just personal experience, maybe something to think about.
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    You kind of answered you own question her Lucas, and I isolated those comments identifying the problem. You need more time... practice and more importantly the ability to develop a more fine tuned set of embouchure muscle. Even with devoted practice, this takes time. What kind of time? At least 6 weeks to achieve 20% more from your current point of achievement. This is just the basic physiology of muscle. There is no magic, no quick fix remedy, just a tincture of time.

    [Although I do have some snake oil and mummy dust I can sell you which will make you a pro in 2 days.]

    Welcome to TM where much of what you read you can take with a grain of salt (and a pinch of mummy dust)
  6. Lucas65653

    Lucas65653 New Friend

    Aug 2, 2015
    Thanks to everyone for the help! I'm gaining more control on the high c and can play it at about a mezzo piano volume without losing control and can play a pianissimo level high D! :D:D
  7. lipnutz

    lipnutz Pianissimo User

    Dec 17, 2013
    In a recent interview of Chris Botti, he said that he practiced EVERY DAY. He said he missed one day back when he was in Sting's band, and the next day during a performance he flubbed his first few notes. He vowed never to let than happen again, and blamed it on failure to practice the day before. You'll get your range back, but this time keep it - with daily practice. Best of luck to you.
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Chris is right. We perfectionists are like that you know!
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Back in my early Army band days, I'd go months at a time without taking a day off of the horn. Even after days where I really blew things out, I'd still do a comprehensive warm up and basic articulation and flexibilities stuff. If I took a day off, things never felt very secure the first day back.

    That was also at a time when I was so in tune to what my chops were doing, that I could feel the effect certain foods had on my chops the next day.

    That was then, this is now - the sad truth is that these days I rarely play more than 5 or 6 days in a row, I almost always take a day off after a gig, and I sadly don't play with that same kind of consistency. Such is life when you are no longer a full-time musician and it takes extra effort to carve out the time for daily horn work.
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Family is in in there somewhere, right?? :roll:

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