I've hit a wall at C above the staff...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by mercedes, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. mercedes

    mercedes New Friend

    Dec 3, 2008
    Ok...on the comeback trail here... I need some pointers on how to get past C above the staff. (It's been 20 years mind you.) In school I had a solid A...B's were less predictable and C's were a nice surprise... I can now hit B's and C's with a good warm up, but NOT D's!!! Some of my 'trumpet brothers' from school can get E's and F's already! They are on the comeback trail with me. We all started back around the same time...inspired by an upcoming reunion. In school they could hit G's. At this point I refuse to believe that guys have stronger chops than gals!
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Just keep practicing and remember to play high it just takes a little more air. It will come the more you practice. Work on your low register, as it will help the upper register.
  3. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

    Jul 7, 2008
    Sorry for beeing a wiseguy but I´d say: to play high takes NOT more air. The higher one goes the less air is needed.

    In fact I´m allergic to the "MORE AIR" mentality that is going on in the brass schools. I think that phrase hase coused many problems amongst students. In my oppinion one needs to learn to "back off" with the air when going up in to the clouds.

    If there is really a WALL (like fo example a strong high C but not even a weak C sharp) then I´d say the problem is too much mouthpiece pressure.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008

    JRFIII Pianissimo User

    Feb 20, 2008
    New Jersey
    You might want to actually start practicing long pedal tones to increase the strength and control of your chops. Then you are likely to find that with a less volume of air you can get the vibration you need from your lips with a tighter, smaller aperture and hit/sustain those high notes.
  5. RobertSlotte

    RobertSlotte Pianissimo User

    Jul 7, 2008
    It was almost like a Mantra I remember in my music school here in FInland...More air..mor air more air more aiiiiir...the highr you go the MORE AIR you need to blast in to the trumpet....ok..wery well. Good luck with that...I´m so happy I started thinking on my own and figured out the right way...more air?? BS!
  6. Snorglorf

    Snorglorf Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    I'm having a similar problem, except I've only been playing for a tad more than a year. Should I just wait and give it time? It used to be that my range would increase every week or two by a tiny bit, but now it seems like it's going to take a while to get beyond this. Maybe I need to take a day or two off to give my chops a rest and chance to heal? I've been playing pretty intensely (roughly 4 hours a day) every day for a while.

    Should my range be higher than this or do I have nothing to worry about? I've got a pretty decent overbite, so I'm not sure if that's hindering me.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    You have not hit any wall just because the note doesn't come out. The difference between playing high and not playing is very small and has more to do with playing smart than playing "different".

    If you want high chops, you have to earn them. High notes are played and not hit. The hit and run mentality is the real wall.

    Here is what you do tomorrow:

    Take 5 minutes and do a breathing check: Our breathing can be visualized as a circle, the left side is inhale and the right exhale. Notice that the circle is ROUND at the top and bottom. The transition from in to exhale should be the same. Take a BIG unhurried breath, keep that throat open and switch from in to exhale without a bump - remember the circle! 5 Minutes of easy in and exhale.

    Take your mouthpiece and play 5 minutes of middle register long tones PIANISSIMO - no tonguing. Breathe as above, but replace exhale with play - remember the circle! The next 5 minutes is the same with the mouthpiece and horn - middle register, NO TONGUE and PIANISSIMO.

    Now you need to do 5 minutes of easy slurs, no tongue to get the tone started and PIANISSIMO.

    Now we will test your smarts: play a slurred C major scale PIANISSIMO from low C to G on top of the staff. Do not apply pressure to your face as you go up. Just let the sound get thinner. If you have done everything that I said, you will be able to play a thin c, d or even an e. Don't worry, you haven't earned a bigger high note yet and we are in the process of learning to play smart.

    Do this for a week and you will notice a BIG difference. A physical approach before you have developed reasonable chops is just plain stupid. One squeezes off any chance to play relaxed. Pressure is used because it works up to a point. Range that plain stops at one note is a good sign that you are not playing smart. Be content with the knowledge that you are not alone.

    We do not need to practice loudly, we just need to breathe deeply in circles. Proper breath support and muscle/tongue/embouchure training can work wonders. One stupid animal practice session and it is OVER.

    I am not really getting on your case, but your post told me the whole story: hitting notes, competition with your "friends", trying to prove something and a wall that only exists in your playing style. The killer was bringing ladies into the argument. You need to flush all of that stuff down the toilet, or be content with what you have!

    As a rule, the ladies advance more quickly because testosterone does not screw their playing up!

    We do not need to be Arnie Schwarzenegger to hit double c.
  8. lovevixen555

    lovevixen555 Banned

    Nov 5, 2008
    No!! Guy's do not have stronger chop's then girls or women!!!LOL My only competition in school was a girl named Joy Bousard. Now if we where talking about biceps or triceps etc... I would have a different opinion. I think ROWUK gave you some great advice. I also think that playing relaxed and low volume levels helps control. A lot of people will try to force it out with high pressure levels, sound levels and mouthpiece pressure etc... and while that can work it it does not produce the best results.

    I would also say that their is a lot more to playing then how far above the the staff you can go. So try and enjoy yourself and have fun if you have not played in 20 year's then it is not life or death now is it? I would work on my overall performance and blow their doors off with my technical skill. You probably already know this but women have better fine motor skills then men that is scientificly proven it is not my opinion. Men tend to have over all stronger and better gross motor skill's. So how does this effect you???? Well if you pick a piece that regires fast valve changes and lot's of double tongueing and slur's you have a far better chance of maeking them all look like sap's because unless they have been playing longer then you as come back artist's then they are not going to likely pull them off as well as you do! In fact I would consider something like Flight of the Bumble Bee or Pagniis's(sp) Caprice you will easily Wow them!
  9. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Find teacher who not only can play high but can teach and understands embouchers. Sometimes its not what we practice but the way we use our lips when we do, if it only took long tones , slurs , peddle tones etc. everyone would sound like Maynard.
    RobertSlotte likes this.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Actually Al, if most players played smarter, they would be well on there way to developing their own character in the upper register. Once the animal in the approach is tamed, the octave above high C becomes reachable for many players that are willing and patient. Range really does not involve much more than that!

    Having high range does not mean that we are closer to Maynard. He really knew what to do with those notes. He wasn't there to squeal the last note in a piece up an octave.

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