High note problems - 2 days straight

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Adam V, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. Bachstul

    Bachstul Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Leave the trumpet alone for three days, ..... no playing at all. You could play your flugel but no high loud stress! Vacation. period.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    High register does not start at G above the staff. If you are having trouble between G and C above the staff, you don't have any real high register yet.

    You like everybody else with a trumpet need a daily routine (long tones, slurs and easy tunes in the staff). Without that, there is no consistency in building chops.

    It does not matter if you lay off for a day, a week or the rest of your life. If your daily routine is not pointed towards build, the problems will NEVER go away.

    So post what you play daily and how long.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Ditto to rowuk's post, and an additional thought--are you pressing your lips together too much (north to south) for the perceived "high notes?" Try pulling your chin down when going upstairs--if it works on the first try or two, great; if not, consider reformatting.

    Good luck!
  4. ButchA

    ButchA Pianissimo User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Richmond, Virginia
    I too have had that problem. I slow down, back off, and work on low tones for a while.

    But still, as a comeback player, I have to work my way up to the high "C" and the high "D" (C and D above the staff). Some of you guys can really hit the double-high notes - almost venturing into flute territory! :lol:
  5. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    I canĀ“t personally think of any sport or activity
    where muscles work so hard for so long at the
    time, and almost without any proper rest!

    A body builder would never exercise the same
    muscle group two days in a row.
    A marathon runner would never run the distance
    two days in a row.
    But the trumpeter, he/she is so affraid of not behaving
    well, that resting looks like a sin to him/her!

    I once heard Bud Herseth say that when his vacation
    begins, he kicks his mouthpiece under the bed.
    This should imply that resting a day or even two (which
    I sometimes do) should be alright!
    For a full recover, muscles sometimes need a 72 hour of rest.

    I think you should try taking 2 days off. On the third day, things
    wont feel as usual. Instead a more careful warmup than usual is
    needed. One thing that will make things feel different will probably
    be that your lips have swollen off more or less completely.
    On the forth day, things will be as good as ever.
  6. Adam V

    Adam V Pianissimo User

    Nov 1, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA

    When did I say high register starts at G above the staff??? When I was talking about the mouthpiece warmup, I said I go up to high G (meaning G above high C). Yesterday and the day before I was having problems on the horn with B above the staff and higher, so that's why I posted this thread. On a normal day I can play Gs above high C fine.

    I usually practice 3-4 sessions a day, each session being between 30-45 minutes (except lately I've been doing a modified version of the Bill Adam routine, and I kind of count that as 2 sessions).

    My first session is ALWAYS a ~40 minute warmup created by my teacher, David Washburn. The other sessions are long tones, lip slurs, pedal tones, Stamp, Clarke's, Charlier, you name it...
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  7. operagost

    operagost Forte User

    Jan 25, 2009
    Spring City, PA, USA
    Some might be understandably confused, because there are three Gs below what you call a high G.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    G above high C on the mouthpiece, but your sound is not good starting at B above the staff? I have to admit that I have a hard time believing that anybody with a consistent G above high C (one octave above the staff) doesn't know why their chops are falling apart. I also have a hard time believing that a G an octave above the staff on a mouthpiece is good for anything.

    Nevertheless, if you are really playing all this stuff - (or should I name it?) and it isn't working, then you must be doing something seriously wrong, or that special 40 minute warm up is no good for you.

    My first thoughts are to throw everything out the window Stamp, Charlier, and everything else and just get back to basics. Play soft long tones up to high C but not any higher, MODERATE lip slurs, easy tunes but no technical studies or advanced articulation. Why? Because you claim not to know what is wrong and the only way to find out is to get a simple reliable core program without stress for your face. Most of my students that find "only" an hour a day can play up to G above high C and still sound good in the "normal" register. I keep an eye on them so that they do not twist themselves out of shape.

    What could be your problem?
    beating up your face
    wasting yourself during the warm up (a very common mistake)
    embouchure twisted out of shape to accomodate high notes - at the cost of stability everywhere else
    Bad breathing habits that need pure face strength to compensate
    Bad posture/body use
    too many technical studies and not enough music
    unconcentrated practicing
    a too analytical approach that has you concerned about every twitch or wrinkle in your face instead of focusing on the music
    more high notes than are good for you
    Blood pressure
    sleep apnea
    lack of sleep
    lack of exercize
    lack of hydration
    lack of things non-trumpet in your life
    stress - family, job, friends
    equipment not suitable for what you are trying to play

    There are probably tons of other things that one could worry about, but my recipe is always the same: get a daily routine of about 30 minutes that ALWAYS works. When your life breaks down, it is like money in the bank, always a point of reference.

    What you post seems to me to not be realistic. The work required to play as proficiently as you proclaim usually results in the tools to deal with just about anything. This being the internet, we really never can know for sure............ One thing that I am sure of: a G above high C is useless if any of the notes below it are comprimized. I suggest that you spend less time upstairs in the tower of Babel (especially with the mouthpiece), and spend more time on the ground floor.

    If you figure this out, post the results. I am always interested.
  9. Adam V

    Adam V Pianissimo User

    Nov 1, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA

    I really appreciate your help, but I think you're not quite understanding me yet... I can assure you I have a solid G above high C. It was only for that 2-day bad high note period that anything B above the staff and higher sounded terrible. I DO NOT have problems with those notes on a regular basis, which is why I started this thread. I wanted to see if anybody had the same problem as me. I usually know exactly what is wrong when my high notes aren't right, but not this last time--again, this is why I started this thread...

    I can assure you I have made A LOT of progress with the materials I mentioned to you as part of my daily practice.

    Also, I got the impression that you were mocking the "special" 40-minute warmup that my teacher gave me. I suggest you read up on David Washburn, because it seems to me like you don't think I'm being taught right.

    Here are some links:

    Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra -

    THE USUAL SUSPECTS - David Washburn Tribute Page

  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I am not mocking your routine. I still maintain that there are few real "surprises" for any "organized" trumpet player.

    I posted a list of things that could cause what you are talking about. See if anything applies.

    My remedy for anybody that thinks that strange things are happening is to get back to a real solid BASIC routine without any extremes. It is possible to go to Boston, Mass. from Albany N.Y. by travelling west, it just takes a LOT longer and wastes a lot of time and energy. This also applies to many of the trumpet programs that I have had to deal with. The player wastes themselves by not having a complimentary collection of things to practice.

    If you came to me for help, I would trim away EVERYTHING above high C and louder than mp for a standard daily routine. Those 30 minutes or so are the most important period for building consistency, and finding our way back when things get messed up.

    It really doesn't matter what I believe or think. Realistically, an advanced player with problems needs individual help that the internet cannot provide. A long time ago, I discovered that most trumpet players can only help players whose physical playing geometry is similar to theirs. I have seen player ruined by just about every name brand method because it just didn't fit. That goes for Reinhart, Callet, TCE, Stamp upstream, downstream, pivot and many others. Just because something works for a name brand player does not mean that YOU can reach your optimum in the same way. Without working with you, I can't make ANY predictions. You obviously have run into something that a decent daily routine should have prevented. If you cannot identify an external factor like blood pressure or sickness, YOU are doing something very wrong.

    Any serious player would be VERY careful about recommending ANYTHING that could potentially mess your face up.

    So either get back to basics (never dangerous) or get a real lesson from someone that you trust - and hope that they ARE good enough.

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