How do I play higher?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by harveyhassanator, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    I'm no high range guy, but am working on a technique with tongue arch where I control the flow/velocity at the top of my mouth which so far is allowing me fairly well controlled sound up to about G above C over the staff. I'm still developing this - it takes a little mental preparation to adjust to it but when I do it seems easy and I'm keeping the pressure off. Some days though it doesn't "lock in" - but it's early days yet.

    Now I'm pursuing just one method which seems to work for me -- without resetting chops I can play back in the staff, then get back up high again. I relate this only to indicate that you need never stop learning or developing. I played up to "high C" tops on my regular mouthpiece for 30 years before I started trying to play above that.

    I used to use a Jet-Tone T3D mouthpiece with a lot of pressure to play higher, and I could for very short amounts of time before my lips were shot, but that mouthpiece gave me a very harsh tone on the whole which didn't suit me so much.


    P.S. wasn't there some warmly entertaining guy pushing his high range method/training posting to TM in the last few months?
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Start at the bottom, and ascend.
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Come on Veery. I expected you to say start super high and work your way down to high. :)
  4. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    I finally found out how, I am working on my range, and the best way to go higher without screaming is to blow super hard. Dont worry about loudness or bad tone at first, just hold the note as long as you can. Start at a high C and go chromatically up. hope it helps.
  5. Conntribution

    Conntribution Fortissimo User

    Dec 25, 2010
    Lloyd Harbor NY.
    I used to be afeared of high ranges until Xanax let me climb to the roof with no anxiety.
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Cut & Paste from a previous post.:
    A great exercise for learning control is to practice what my professor, Gerald Webster called "Ghost Tones." Take a note (say, for example, g in the staff) and without tonguing, play it so softly that the sound really doesn't leave the bell--it will get trapped inside and not project.

    This is really hard to do!

    To learn the feeling, practice decrescendos with the sound going down to nothing. If the note stops, keep trying until you get it down to next to nothing. When you get this down, try the original exercise.

    Not to worry--soft playing requires more embouchure strength than playing loudly. Then, when you apply power the notes should pop out.

    Have fun!
  8. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I use something very similar to TobyLou8 ... I have added to it with ideas and suggestions I have gotten here... slurs, pedals and patience.
    now this is just my gut and opinion so take it leave it... what ever you want
    I do think that their is a "knack" to playing above the high D or E ... I feel like the tone changes it gets a little thinner ... that being said I think that as we build up our chops the C or D fuller tone range also increases ... I don't know if it's getting the lips to vibrate faster or getting the airflow to match the vibration or just getting use to the horns resonance.. or if it's mental just seems like one day you wind up on the otherside of the C and D.
    The more you practice (properly) and the stronger your chops become the easier it will be to get the knack of playing higher with less risk of injury.
  9. harveyhassanator

    harveyhassanator Pianissimo User

    Sep 5, 2010
    To the comments regarding how i should learn how to play within my range, you have no clue to how i play. And isnt the whole point in playing to improve at everything when you practice? including your range? Its not the most important thing but, it can be usefull.

    to the helpfull comments, thanks very much. Ill try them and see what works :)

    Ill update this if i have a break though :)

    Thanks again, Harvey
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Your point is well taken. Relaxation is a key to working toward a higher range. My concern is when people feel they need controlled substances to do this. Propranolol is a non-addicting medication used in treating performance anxiety. As a physician, I would recommend this over Xanax.

    Xanax comes with the warning that people taking this medication should not be using or working with heavy machinery (this includes cars - so I hope some one is driving you to the gig while on Xanax). This is because it effects coordination and causes sedation. This could also effect the quality of horn playing.

    I would also recommend stress reduction techniques just prior to a gig over taking any kind of medication any time. This involves a technique that uses isometrics to work muscle groups while concentrating on relaxed breathing techniques.

    So bottom line, I agree relaxation helps to build range but natural stress reduction methods are so better for our overall health.

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