High Note Frustration

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by KidOfIron, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    it is not a miracle and it is not hard. What is hard is unlearning bad playing habits. A high C is also not graduation or cum laude. It is simply the results of a simple process that requires a certain amount of dedication and playing opportunities that are not in the way of the building process.

    Summer marching band is a classic example. Kids without the proper base get parts that require them to play higher than they can so what to they do? Twist their face, apply massive amounts of pressure and squeeze every last drop of blood out of the lips. It can't work. Trumpet is not more difficult than learning a language. If you have exposure to proper speakers and are not forced into a situation where you will most likely fail, things simply work out.

    Even without having details, I know what KidOfCotton has for a problem. I also know that the internet can't fix it - not for summer vacation in any case.

     
  2. KidOfIron

    KidOfIron New Friend

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    I see how my wording would give this impression, but I'm not looking for a "quick fix." I also know that pressure is not my issue. Rowuk, I would like to hear your suggestions on breathing and body use.
    My practice routine consists of lip slurs, Clark studies, assigned etudes, and ensemble music.
     
  3. KidOfIron

    KidOfIron New Friend

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    As well as scales, and then anything that I pay for fun.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    My recommendation is called the "Circle of Breath" and has been posted here at least 50 times. It is not a range builder, it is a tension lowerer. For me and my method of teaching, everything opens up when we balance body use, blow and embouchure in a musical way.

    Fact is there is no quick fix. Assuming a bad habit (which can be hundreds of different things), you need to find out what it is. I am in Germany and don't believe in internet student/teacher relationships, so the chance for a lesson to see what is wrong is not very great. As far as your assumption that pressure is not an issue, I will disagree. Pressure works for most, for a while anyway. For those with a solid daily routine, pressure is the difference between a G on top of the staff or a high C, a high C or an F. As better habits reduce the need for pressure, range improves and does not "stop" at a specific note anymore - the sound just gets thinner above the balance between support and embouchure strength.

    If you have been practicing regularly for a year and doing everything "right" and don't have a C above the staff (not a high note) there are not many things beside tension, bad breath and pressure. Granted, there are medical conditions that cannot be evaluated across the internet. Still, 6 years of playing and little progress is indicative of the "quality" of what you do. As you believe that you are doing everything right, there is not much for us to go on.

    No High C means for sure crappy body use and breathing (again not considering a medical issue) not embouchure. The embouchure needs the air pressure support to function. We have to balance our "blow" to keep the lips from being blown into the mouthpiece. That balance of blow and embouchure tension gives us tone, range and endurance. That does not mean blow walls down, it means having flexible/pliable lips and the balance of forces at which time there are no "range" issues. Intelligent practice every day build and automate this balance. The results of our efforts become predictable.

    It really doesn't matter what you claim to practice. Obviously the "quality" of your practice is insufficient if there are not small steps forward.

    Believe me, you have an issue with pressure and tension. That is where you can start to investigate.
     
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    KidOfIron, if your range stops at a certain note, and all you get is a bunch of air, then your lips are too far apart. To bring them together, try ghost tones. These consist of playing soft long tones with a decrescendo to the point that the note is still there, but not projecting, as if the sound is trapped somewhere around the throat of the bell. After this, try starting notes this softly.

    So, if you have the Arban's edited by Goldman and Smith (annotated by Claude Gordon) have your chromatic scales memorized, and can play g above the staff, turn to page 78, Nr. 9. It consists of two octave sixteenth note chromatic scales. Start with the last line; play it very softly and repeat as many times as you can with a single breath. Then play the next to last line after a short break. Your body will tell you when it is ready to go on.

    The key is playing very softly. Soft playing requires more chop strength than loud playing and the small aperture required is also what we need for high playing.

    As for the air, the idea is to practice breathing seamlessly between inhalation and exhalation away from the horn, increasing the amount of air you move (like bouncing a ball ever higher and higher) and apply that to the trumpet. Google Rowuk's "Circle of Breath."

    We need to increase the air pressure in our bodies in order to play higher notes, and this is difficult to do without excess tension, and this is why I incorporate the "RAY OF POWER." From an older post:

     
  6. JackTheMusician

    JackTheMusician Pianissimo User

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    Wow really? Now I feel bad haha!
     
  7. Tomaso

    Tomaso Pianissimo User

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    Quote: "The Vulgano version is situated half way between the places we do our number one and number two in the restroom."

    It's called the "perineum". There's also a cheap and dirty "definition", only referred to by jive turkeys. Forget it.
     
  8. Tomaso

    Tomaso Pianissimo User

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    For an old fart like me the best approach is John Faddis's; ascending major triplets by half-steps, holding the top note as a long tone until you reach a triad where the highest note doesn't come out. Holding the top notes as long tones automatically makes one use the right approach because as you listen (and play), you will want to make the note round and beautiful, and that's where the range improvement lies. Every other day only.
    And yes, I know snobs call him "Jon", but he was christened "John".

    T/
     

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