How can I play the high notes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by nestbeast, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    It's a good book. Just take it easy with it, and as the exercises get higher, don't push it too much at the start. Gradually work up to them, and like I said, observe the dynamic markings - they are an important part of the method. It will build range and confidence/familiarity with the upper range, but will also help flexibility, low range, and transition from low to high. Good luck with it!
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    My sure-fire way to the upper register is to learn to REALLY play the middle and lower register first. That is where endurance, musicality and accuracy are built. The brain then receives a foundation upon which highnotes make sense. Then they are actually quite easy.

    Building a skyscraper before the first couple of stories are solid is a good way to have your house come tumbling down.

    There are methods for achieving mechanical security in the upper register. Without the musical basis, those notes just crash. The methods out their train advanced breathing, lots of lip slurs and long tones.
  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    First you need to make sure you are not using arm muscles (pressing the mouthpiece harder against the lips to go higher) to play the notes.
    Second, find simple songs you'd find in your first book (ex:Easy Steps to the Band) and work on taking the songs up an octave. You will not sound good when you start but think about it, you didn't sound good when you started playing low notes.
    Here's a little something while humorus has some pearls of wisdom. Also you might want to check out Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment:
    1. First, you have to not suck. If you suck, go practice until you don’t suck anymore. If you still suck after lots of practice, switch to trombone, where you don’t HAVE to play well.

    2. Nnnno, I think you still suck. Go practice some more.


    4. Buy a big mouthpiece. If you have a big mouthpiece, then you must be able to play higher. Pick up a baritone, for instance. See how you can absolutely wail over everyone else who plays baritone? Go buy a big mouthpiece. Not a DEEP mouthpiece, that’s just stupid. Ask for something with a huge backbore.

    5. Make sure you’re not playing on a crappy horn. The higher you go, the more magnified crap becomes. That’s why you can’t suck. If you suck, then you’ll sound REAL CRAPPY if you DO play high, and give the rest of us a bad name.

    6. Cheater mouthpieces don’t work. Instead of buying a cheater mouthpiece that’s supposed to make you play high, why don’t you use that 80 bucks to buy 2 hours of private lessons with someone who can help you play high on your own?

    7. NEVER, EVER talk to or hang out with people who think that range doesn’t matter.

    8. Hang out with cool people who can play higher than you.

    9. If someone says that they can play an unrealistic note, ignore them until you hear it.

    10. Don’t worry if you sound bad when you start playing high. You sounded bad when you started playing low, too, didn’t you?

    11. If you cram the horn into your face, you will a) Stop all vibrations in your lips and thus be unable to play high. b) Cut off the circulation to your lips and thus kill them forever. c) Bust out all your front teeth. d) Look REALLY stupid. e) SOUND LIKE ASS. If you do this, we will hunt you down.

    12. Wearing funny hats will increase your range.

    13. Practice with no pressure. If you use no pressure to play all the low and middle notes, as soon as you add a TINY BIT of pressure, you’ll skyrocket.

    14. Monette horns are for people with too much money and not enough skill to play seriously. They still look cool, however. If anyone has one, jack it and sell it somewhere.

    15. Long tones are your friends. Play notes until you have no air left, and then play for 1 beat longer. Do long tones like that for a half hour every day for a week, and you’ll see everything about your playing suddenly jump.

    16. Lip slurs are your friends. Play every lip slur you can think of until you can’t play real notes anymore, and then play pedal tones until your lips tingle.

    17. Pedal tones are your friends. If you play REALLY high, you should also play REALLY low to counteract the highness’ effects. And stuff.

    18. Note-bending exercises help to cool your chops off. Try bending notes down 1, 2, or even 3 half steps after you play high.


    20. You can buy all sorts of modifications to your horn to make it less sucky, but if YOU suck, they won’t help.

    21. If you think that it’s going to be hard, then it will be. Just relax and play, and it’ll come out.

    22. Trying to impress members of the opposite sex with range only works if they play your instrument. Any other time, they will look at you weird and run off.

    23. If something is hard, then put the horn down for 5 minutes, don’t play, and pick it up again. I PROMISE it will be easier.

    24. Listen to everything you can get your hands on.

    25. Don’t try to be Chet Baker. Everyone hates him.

    26. Playing trumpet during sex is usually a bad idea.

    27. Keep your stomach muscles tense while playing, and compress your abdomen like a huge air tank.

    28. There are 3 things needed to play high: Compression, Airspeed, and Endurance. Practice all 3.

    29. You can practice airspeed by taking your mouthpiece out and blowing as much air through it as fast as you can. If you’re using the appropriate amount, you’ll hear a whistle from the mouthpiece.

    30. Playing builds endurance. Play as often as you can.

    31. However, don’t play so long that you’re injuring yourself. This is bad.

    32. If your parents tell you to stop practicing because they want to go to bed, you’re practicing enough.

    33. Half-valving up to a note makes it easier to play.

    34. If anyone who’s not a trumpet player tells you that you sound bad, tell them to bite you.

    35. Whatever note you hit, remember: there’s always a note above it.

    36. Use more air than you think you need.

    37. If you see a dark tunnel with a light at the end and dead relatives beckoning to you, you’re using too much air, and should back off a tad.

    38. You won’t get range immediately. Be content with a half step greater every month.

    39. There’s always a jazz chart that has a final note 1 step above the highest note you can play.

    40. The speed of sound is 332 meters per second, which, relatively speaking, is REEEL slow. If you play a high note with a group, and it doesn’t come out right away, leave it alone. If you hit it after the fact, everyone will know that you missed it the first time.

    41. If you hang out with people that sound a certain way, you’ll start to sound like them. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.

    42. If you blow a high note during a solo, do a fall off of it and moonwalk. People will think it’s intentional and REALLY COOL.

    43. If you practice a lot, you’ll get better. If you practice a lot and practice INTELLIGENTLY, you’ll get WAY better. Practice smart.

    44. Don’t do anything that will permanently injure, disfigure, or damage your lips.

    45. Method books by famous people are stupid. Sure, they didn’t get where they are by not knowing ANYTHING, but face it: You know that they ALL played out of SOME other method book while they were growing up. Go find out what THEY used, and then use THAT book.

    46. Just to save you some time: Arturo Sandoval used a Stamp method book.

    47. Most people don’t have any clue how high a trumpet can play. If you play a note that sounds somewhat higher than what’s going on around you, and make it INTENSE, everyone will jump up and down and shout “OH MY GOD! HE’S PLAYING HIGH!”

    48. If you practice a lot, and still can’t play high, try a) Pushing your tuning slide in all the way. b) Standing on a chair. See??? It’s easier than you thought!

    49. Everyone moves their eyebrows when they’re playing high. Noone knows why.

    50. Play music like you mean it.

    You’ve spent too much time reading this. You should be practicing!
  4. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010

    Your post brightened my morning. Thanks.

    #25 is my favorite!

  5. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Uhhh .................... Ok :shock: #25 ........................ right :dontknow:
  6. connmaster

    connmaster New Friend

    Mar 14, 2010

    My vote is for #34. Thanks for the laugh! ROFL
  7. willbarber

    willbarber Piano User

    Nov 22, 2008
    Medina, NY
    I've thought about handing people my trumpet when they say I suck, see if they can play even half as well as I
  8. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    There is a VERY funny Pete Barbutti routine about exactly doing that. If I can find it, I will post it.

  9. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    But unlike lifting weights where there are some specific, proven methods that work for virtually everyone, gaining range can be a bit of an enigma and sometimes what one person swears by won't work at all for someone else.

    Patience and time are a major part of the equation, alongside of solid fundamentals and practice. For me, I can't say what happened - I was in 7th grade and my range went from top space E to High C, seemingly overnight, and that's right where it stayed until I was about 27. It's weird but over the last 5 years or so, I've been gaining about a half step of usable range every other year, as well as better endurance, and I'm not sure why because I don't practice nearly as much as I did when I was younger - I just don't have the time.

    I mean, I'm no Maynard - my usable range is about an E above high C now, and some days it's an F. Several years back I was hit or miss even on Ds.

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