How to play higher notes with no pressure.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Patric_Bernard, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

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    Ok... I decided its time to nip this in the but. I just got frustrated playing Clarke Studies #1, and when I got to the 21st exercise (starting on D and going chromatically up to Ab, and back down to to D again). I tried using little pressure for the Ab, and it does not happen, however, when i used a little bit more, it popped right out. As an expiriment, I played chromatically from G to High C, and i noticed that I use a little more pressure as I play higher. What are some ways to remedy this?

    How does arching the back of the tounge help to increase range? (sorry, visualizing things really help me)
     
  2. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

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    years ago I took a sat in a class given by a really decent trumpet teacher who insisted on the no-pressure playing. he demonstrated how he could play high by laying his trumpet on the top of a piano and by just only touching the horn with his lips [no hands touched the horn] he could play above high C. he accomplished this trick but he sounded absolutely terrible and had very little control. he was/is a much better player than I but I do believe what Dylan says is true - you must use pressure, I guess you just need to learn how to use less. Dave
     
  3. Firestas'1

    Firestas'1 Piano User

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    The pressure should be the minimum required to seal your chops to the mouthpiece. What you want to avoid is smashing the mouthpiece into your face using brute force thereby thinning the lips to achieve the higher note.

    The tounge position helps act as a venturi speeding the air up as it passes over it. Higher notes require higher frequency vibrations, higher frequency vibrations are aided by air traveling at a higher rate of speed.

    Think of a Jet Engine.
     
  4. Nordic Trumpet

    Nordic Trumpet Pianissimo User

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    I find that as you're developing the less pressure you need for the high notes. You can not start off with a "pressure less" high C for instance if that's your top range. You need to develop over time, the note becomes easier and you don't have to use as much pressure.

    I personally focus on sound. I use the amount of pressure needed to get good sound, but not much more. For me it's not a goal in itself to use "no pressure". I think of it more in terms of ease of playing. And yes, you do need to apply enough pressure to seal the lips so the term "no pressure" is simply not accurate and can be misleading.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  5. Miyot

    Miyot Pianissimo User

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    Patric, remember to play as quiet as you can. As I go up I add breath support and also roll my lips inward slightly. Especially the bottom lip. I also split these exercises into two seperate days. I do the first 17 one day and move on to something else. The next day I do the rest and the Etude.

    I feel these exercises really work you. It takes time to build up. On my range building day I do exercises 18 thru 25 5 or six times thru and then do the etude twice. I then go to page 47 and do exercises 178 thru 183 twice thru. I started with once thru and added each one as I could. I start using more pressure up around E and F and the G is difficult for me. Just don't use excessive pressure all the time. As you become stronger, the pressure you use now on the A flat won't be necessary until you reach your next level and so on.

    I work my range about every 4 or 5 days. Don't over do. Hope this helps some.
     
  6. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

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    Oh my range is about a solid double G with alot of pressure. I know i need enough to keep the seal, but What i was talking about was excesive pressure, and I think that Nordic and Miyot picked up on it, as did firestas. The jet engine picture really helps. and so does splitting the exercises into two seperate days.
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    After years of the wrong way, it is unreasonable to expect immediate satisfaction with a "new" way regardless of its merit.

    Patience and preserverance Patric, are your best friends! Relax and enjoy the trip.

    High notes are played correctly with an interdependence of proper breathing, muscle tone, tongue position and an absolute minimum of mouthpiece lip pressure (which by the way is somewhat more than is necessary to get the seal - depending on the sharpness of the mouthpiece rim - the sharper the rim the less pressure that you need. Why? Because the pressure creates the points on the left and right side of the lips where the vibration stops. Between those points your lips vibrate. The "seal" is actually secondary. We do exercizes to strengthen the corners to minimize the pressure we need to define those 2 points! A rounded rim "feels" comfortable, but needs more pressure to get that point of fixation. When we have enough strength and can minimize the pressure, the lips are not "nailed" to the mouthpiece but allow for a certain amount of flexibility).

    Getting all of those factors to synchronize after years of other habits is at least a 6 month project. Twisting any single factor to get "immediate" results will create a need to correct once again very soon.

    Patience and preserverance Patric, are your best friends! Relax and enjoy the trip.

    Messing around with "tongue arch" is not the best way to train the upper register. Patience, long tones, scales and lip slurs are. As Miyot posted always SOFTLY! You are most in touch with your body when not beating it up. Playing softly gives you much more feedback when practicing, and is more in line with what we are allowed to do when in an ensemble. The danger of a Silent Brass is that everything sounds soft. You need to focus on playing as softly as you can!!!!!

    My experience is that pressure on the upper lip is range and endurance killer #1. Developing our playing apparatus to compensate for less pressure is not something for a couple of weeks. I have been playing for more than 40 years and still work on this today!

    Patience and preserverance Patric, are your best friends! Relax and enjoy the trip.

    There are plenty of things that we can do below high Ab that build musicality and do not get in the way of our chop development. Having had the opportunity to post back and forth with you, I can say that if I were your teacher, I would load you up with tons of low volume, lower octave stuff for a couple of weeks anyway to prevent unnecessary force that you might otherwise not even notice!

    Patience and preserverance Patric, are your best friends! Relax and enjoy the trip.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
  8. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

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    I find that what hindered my range was not so much the pressure, but how crisped my muscles were. Playing relaxed with a somewhat higher pressure than lower range is my suggestion.
     
  9. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

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    Ok so Rowuk, what I got from you was basically, playing in my comfterable range for awhile, soft, and controlled will eventually give me range. I'm guessing Long Tones and Lip slurs will help the most with that.
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Patric,
    my advice is to be patient. If one aspect of your playing is moving a bit slowly, use it as an asset, not a burdon. If your range is only to G on top of the staff, practice EVERYTHING that needs that range, like jazz scales and patterns in the lower octaves. Get your fingers moving faster, study chord progressions. Don't let any single aspect get you down. Just do not mess up your development by applying band aids.
     

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