High note troubles.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by bydetn18, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Yes. Practice.

    On one hand I'm trying to be a bit of a smart aleck. On the other hand, I'm being serious - the trumpet embouchure is not something that develops overnight, and I'm not surprised to hear that you are still having issues after a couple of months practice.

    Story time.... (yeah yeah, I know - but there may be something relevant to come out of it.)

    When I left the Army band program in 1999, I didn't touch my horn for about 18 months. This was after playing as part of my job for 10 years, which came after my initial trumpet development between 5th and 12th grade, so about 18 years altogether, and some of it doing some pretty fair playing - not trying to brag, but I was a pretty solid player. It is what it is.

    In any case, 6 months into my comeback after a 18 month hiatus, I was only then feeling like my chops were getting back to a point where I had regained some of the consistency I'd lost in the 18 months I had been away from it.

    I don't know what level you were at when you stopped playing, but I do know that 10 years off the horn is almost worse than coming to it from the beginning - worse, because you know what you used to be capable of, and let's face it, adults aren't always the best at being patient during redevelopment, where a kid is just blown away that they are making any kind of sound at all.

    Give it some time, don't force it, and keep working it. It will come, but there is no trick or sage words of wisdom that will impart to you the insight to improve your range by leaps and bounds in a few weeks. It's simply going to take a lot of time in the woodshed.

    I think one of the best quotes I have ever heard in regard to diligent practice came at a percussion clinic I attended. The clinician talked about his early days of college and asking his percussion instructor how to improve his snare roll. He was hoping to learn some trick or secret that the professor had up his sleeve. Instead, his instructor said, "if you want to improve your roll, then roll - 10 minutes a day, every day."

    There are some good tips on here though - one thing I have always used to refocus my chops is to work articulation. Lots and lots of tonguing, especially legatto and multiple tonguing. The chops have to be focused and the air has to be moving right for you to do those well, and a side benefit is better sound, better endurance, more control, and easier upper register.

    Another thing I used to work on a lot, especially back in my Army band days is what VB suggested - I used to do long tones, starting as soft as I could, crescendoing to a solid forte, and then bring it back down to a whisper, as controlled throughout as possible.

    Keep in mind, I'm as a much of a hack as any player out there - somehow I manage to continue to gig and get paid, but I'm by no means anything other than a fair weekend gigging player.
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I seem to be over-posting lately. China just called and said they want their wall back. In any case, I hope my post above isn't too long to read. I know that sometimes I get bored and disregard anything longer than a few succinct paragraphs.
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I don't think so.
  4. brian moon

    brian moon Forte User

    1) Practice
    2) Find someone that knows how to teach you to extend your range. Generally it goes along with learning how to play well overall It doesn't take long if the directions are correct and the student follows them.
    3) Megatones are heavier than needed which can contribute to distortion in your sound. A lot of people like the bigger throat. If I wind up owning a heavy mouthpiece I have it turned down on a lathe. I would not waste money on one. They are way overpriced. If you want a bigger throat have one drilled out. It takes some skill to drill the throat straight. Make sure ahead of time that the person doing the job is good at it.
  5. Avan

    Avan New Friend

    Mar 9, 2012
    A lot of good advise here, Soft Playing is Key .................. Arban Page #125 did it for me ......................

    Tongue First, repeat Slur ................. softly as other have suggested, it does work !!
  6. bydetn18

    bydetn18 New Friend

    Oct 13, 2012
    Thanks, everyone, for the great responses. Much appreciated.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I have this theory that when taking a substance abuse history, if my patient tells me they are drinking less in a week then I do, they don't have an alcohol problem. So if you are posting less in a week than I do, you don't have a posting problem. Problem Solved.
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I also had a 10 year break in my trumpet practice schedule - it took a full 6 months to approach my previous mediocrity - then it took another YEAR to be better and consistent ----now 3 1/2 more years and I can almost play well --- excuse me a moment OP ----"Hey trickg are you ready to post a vid of your High A??" ROFL ROFL ROFL what do you got my friend? - I got at least 1 note higher ROFL ROFL ROFL ----- Sorry OP high notes don't really prove who's the better player - but it is fun to PLAY the higher note than a seasoned vet like trickg ---- of course GM ole buddy ole pal ---- I might need another year for his challenge
  9. ricecakes230

    ricecakes230 Pianissimo User

    Jan 15, 2013
    I am definitley no expert on any of this. BUT. Back in middle school my director changed my 7C to a 3C. He said the 7c would almost require player to sorta "bend" their lips in to make a sound. 3c is just a bit more open in my opinion. I like it :p
  10. Sidekick

    Sidekick Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 14, 2011
    London UK
    I know that I wasn't the OP, but I started doing this exercise last night - harder than it looks doing it softly in one breath, but I get the feeling that it will produce good results in time. Thanks VB. :thumbsup:

Share This Page