How to get easier, louder, and clearer high notes?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by mctrumpet98, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. mctrumpet98

    mctrumpet98 Pianissimo User

    Sep 29, 2011
    Down Under
    Hey guys,

    Made a few posts before, but I'll give you a brief history of myself. Basically I am 13 and a half, and I started the trumpet almost 7 years ago now. In the first few years I focused on increasing my range and by the end of the second year G above the staff was easy for me. But from then I endeavoured to increase my technical skill and improve my tone, which I realised takes a very long time to do (I'm only really starting to hear myself sing through notes at this stage), and my tone is good and my technical is good as well. Along the way of course my register has increased, but by nothing drastic - at the best of times I can hit a high D/Eb. More and more am I seeing music that requires me to hold high notes or to play up in those higher registers for long periods of time (like Haydn's Concerto) so I was wondering what kind of work do I need to do to really be able to hit those higher notes every time with a clear tone, and hold them?

    I realise that this kind of work belongs in the warming up part of my practice, so I'll give a brief outline of how I warm up:
    • Long tones - 2 semibreves at 60 beats a minute starting from low F# to two octaves above that, with 4 beats rest between each note. Then I come back down.
    • Ascending major triads - starting from C2, going as high as possible.
    • Descending major arpeggios - starting from C2 going down to the low F major arpeggio.
    • Lip slurs - I have only incorporated these into my practice routine recently. I use Arban's No. 22 lip slur exercise on page 44. Any other ideas?
    That's my warm up routine, then I get into my some technical work and pieces, then sight reading and transposition (for my AMEB Grade 7 Exam in two and a half weeks).

    Any and all advice is much appreciated,

  2. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    I say the key is to blow hard. If you are blowing so hard that you think your eyes will pop out, blow harder. I just have a feeling like I want to go high, so I just do a Bb scale from middle C up to where I stop, usually at E. Then I would go down 1 note(double D) and hold it and then slur down to C then to D until I have to take a break. I have noticed that my range has built up a lot since doing that.
  3. mctrumpet98

    mctrumpet98 Pianissimo User

    Sep 29, 2011
    Down Under
    How do you mean? So you go from middle C to E above the stave and then you hold it, and then you got to D, hold, then to C, hold and then do slow slurs from C to D until you can't take anymore? Let's say I couldn't get up that high, and I would stop at D. Would it still work if I went down to C then to Bb and then just lip slurred those two notes? I'm not sure whether I'm quite ready to go for the High C-D slur just yet.
  4. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    I do a Bb scale from middle C to high C. Then shoot up until it is just air going through the horn. Try it sometime, I think it helps me get use to playing with a lot of air. But to go higher, you must go low. Work on your pedal tones. Go from low C down chromatically until F#. Then pretend G is low C and just go low. It helps build up your muscle
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Practice at low volume,pp is best,p,or even mp are ok. Building range is accomplished by using the correct technique and coordination, not brute strength. Keep doing what you're doing, also incorporate plenty rests between each arpeggio and slurring exericse. Practice using very little or almost no pressure.Play melodies softly up to your top note,then try it a 1/2 step up. The notes will be small at first, but as they get easier, they will get bigger just add a little more air, while retaining the same feel in your embouchure.Always strive for a clean,controlled centered tone. The key is to relax,tension and forcing is the quickest road to failure.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
    mctrumpet98 likes this.
  6. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    CodyB, I admire your youthful enthusiasm, but your advice is not only wrong, it is dangerous and can lead to extreme use of pressure to achieve upper register.
    Upper register is earned by proper practice at soft volume levels which gives you the control one needs of the embouchure and apature. Blowing harder for the upper register accomplishes nothing. Many of us experienced professional level players hesitate to give advice over forums and there is a good reason for this: we cannot see or hear the individual in person.
    Read Al Innella's advice. It is spot on.
    As the great Mendez said, "If you want to learn to play fast, learn to play slow. If you want to learn to play loud, learn to play soft".
    I will add if you want to learn to play high, learn to first play low.
    gmonady likes this.
  7. applebrass

    applebrass New Friend

    Mar 25, 2011
    great advice from Al Innella and richtom. Al Innella's use of the term "brute strength" reminds me of something I heard on a youtube video by John Hargaugh regarding the physics of trumpet playing. Of course youtube videos cannot substitute for a good teacher, but you can learn some valuable information from them. Have a look at: - YouTube

    you may also benefit from watching Nick Drozdoff's videos about trumpet physics beginning with:

    Trumpet Physics - Segment One - YouTube

    understanding the physics of what is happening when you play can help you to play more efficiently and with less brute strength.
    mctrumpet98 likes this.
  8. Kujo20

    Kujo20 Forte User

    Sep 29, 2010
    "If you want to learn to play high, learn to first play low."

    I like this a lot! In my opinion, when most trumpet players hear the word "range", they only think of "high notes". Most don't think of the low register or pedal tones...

    +1 to Al Innella's post.

  9. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    It works good for me........
  10. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Hi MC,

    do not worry about high register, it will come, at your age your body is still developing and do not over stress it. Grade 7 at your age is a pretty good effort I think.

    There is no quick fix, diligent and structured practice will achieve the results. It has taken me 5 years to develop my range from high C to the point where the G above is starting to sound, I am 60 years senior to you and still improving, you have a lot of life ahead of you.

    Regards, Stuart.

Share This Page