How to build range while avoiding injury?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpeter3197, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Trumpeter3197

    Trumpeter3197 New Friend

    Jun 30, 2012
    If you've seen my other post (, you know about my frequent range drops usually due to too much playing in the upper register (usually during practice, not because of a long performance). I've calmed down since my last post, and for the past several days I've been doing very low impact practicing, focusing a LOT on clarke studies at a very quiet volume, lip bends, pedals and playing melodies of slow songs at pianissimo, which really makes my chops burn (in a good way), without overdoing it. I haven't touched the upper register since my last range drop.

    So now, my question is not just about rebuilding my upper register, but getting it to STAY there without losing it again. I've been good about rebuilding my range after I lose it with high impact exercises like lip trills in the upper register and ascending arpeggios. But I always manage to play too much too high and lose a good chunk of my range. One idea that I had, that I've heard a lot from teachers, is to alternate days of high and low intensity. In other words, every other day I would go all out and do all my intense range exercises, and on the off days do what I've been doing the past week (strong pedals, low register, and very soft mid-register). In theory this seems like a very good idea because not only would I be resting from all the upper register the previous day, but also building strength in a different way, by playing softly.

    Any opinions/additional recommendations on this? Also, will there be a point eventually, if I manage to go a long way without injuring myself, that I won't have to worry about this as much anymore? I really want to build range as fast as possible WITHOUT causing injury.
  2. trumpeterjake

    trumpeterjake Pianissimo User

    Aug 5, 2012
    Connersville, Indiana
    You seem to have answered parts of your own question. Even though I havn't been playing long i've found that you don't really practice for high notes, you practice for everything and you later thought practice will get the notes. Build a amazing foundation. Do everything, clarkes is great but not all the time, as it gets boring and when something gets boring you don't get as much out of it....

    People that focus on only range in a practice session and not musicality or techical stuff tend to turn into hot heads that put high note stingers on the end of all the songs they play.... as that is the only thing they can do to show off.
  3. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I work on high notes --- I think it is pure fantasy to those who say --- "you don't need to work on them, they will come in time." ---- High notes (those above high C) take a little bit more "breath support, aperture support, air stream" --however one wants to define them ---- basically it takes more uuuuumph to play there.

    T3197 -- I think you are doing well, in the days after --- now you need to "feel your body, to know how much is too much" -- don't get wrapped up in ---"I am having the most AWESOME DAY on high notes - and then go gozongas and play them for 2 hours, that is where you get screwed over. IF you can play 20 minutes a day, then if you have an AWESOME day -- don't go over 30 minutes. Also, taking an actual day off helps the rest a bit, depending on your age.
    hope that helps
    and please -- don't go gozongas, all out, on a good day!!!
  4. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    You can't play what you don't practice. If you are hurting yourself, you are doing something wrong. If your teacher can't guide you through it, find one that can. One word you mention that makes me cringe and you need to lose it from your vocabulary is INTENSE. You need to RELAX and support what you are doing by using your breathing muscles (find out what they are for extra credit :D). I've only lost range for two reasons. 1- Not practicing 2- Doing INTENSE range workouts. I've learned to breath and support my note so I don't fry my chops or any other parts that don't need to fried. Learn to play softly and forget the INTENSE macho BS. Blasting/playing a high C while snot goes flying may seem manly, it's really just poor technique and will just keep hurting you. Fastest way to develop range is patiently.;-)
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  5. RustoleusMaximus

    RustoleusMaximus Pianissimo User

    Feb 1, 2008
    In my experience, the high range is something that is practiced just like any thing else. I practice range daily (when I actually practice - LOL). You have to learn to BUILD versus DESTROY your embouchure. Range CAN be built through practicing studies such as Clarke Technical Studies (#1) just as Herbert L. Clarke prescribes ... very SOFTLY and sixteen times in one breath. This particular study teaches you to support with your air and to compress your air. I recall Jon Faddis recommending Clarke Technical Studies to build range. Charles Colins Advanced Lip Flexibilities is also great for building range as prescribed by Tony Kadleck. You have to know when you have worked enough for one day and then REST the high chops! Over doing it is like over training as a power lifter which causes one to get weaker in their strongest lifts (high range) ... NOT stronger. The muscles you are working in your embouchure must have rest to recuperate and get stronger. Arturo recommends Clarke Technical Studies as well as The Maggio System For Brass. Practice in a systematic way to build your chops. Hope this helps.
    kingtrumpet likes this.
  6. Branson

    Branson Piano User

    Jan 16, 2011
  7. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

    Jul 23, 2012
    Long tones and practise.

    What you suggest of doing will work great, it does the trick, even for me. When you feel tired or your lips stiffen up, just stop the playing, otherwise you will get the same problem. Don't play as much high as you play low or middle while practising, I try to keep it down to 20%
  8. trumpeterjake

    trumpeterjake Pianissimo User

    Aug 5, 2012
    Connersville, Indiana
    Watch some master classes on youtube. Sometimes hearing "how to play high notes better" put a different way helps. I like Allen Vizzutti's classes a lot because he keeps things simple, but I normaly learn something watching vids of him.
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    hey - whatever helps you play and be happy --- go for it --- but always remember the Allen Vizzutti's, the Arturo Sandovals, the Doc Severinsens and Maynard Fergusons --- they didn't happen overnight ---------------Every single one of these greats (past and present) will always tell you the truth, in that a lot of the trumpet, just takes good old fashioned practice (hard work) --- due the time (with discipline and some restraint on high stuff), due the hours (1000's of them) ---- and you will see the results
  10. Pete

    Pete Piano User

    Nov 17, 2007
    I've read some of your posts,and I get the impression that you continue to work on tired chops. The notes may be coming out, but as your chops get tired, you may be resorting to some bad habits to continue playing in the upper register. If you spend 20 minutes on range building, then play other things, you should start to get the feel for playing the horn all over your range from high to low. Balanced practice is important.

    Separating your practice sessions might help also. One session for warm up and range. One session for technical playing. One session for improv. Maybe 20 minutes apart, maybe 2 hours apart. You always want to play on fresh chops in order to avoid getting into bad habits.


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