My range seems to be decreasing... :(

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by lawrencelaptop, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. lawrencelaptop

    lawrencelaptop New Friend

    Jun 30, 2009
    Hi guys,
    New to this site I was just posting cause I think I need some help with a few things. I'm 15 and am taking my grade 8 next year, passed my grade 7 on the cornet with 143 on the ABRSM board.

    Trying to play some of the pieces now, I really have committed to learning them and am practicing hour min each night which is all my schedule allows for atm. Problem is before this, a few months ago I could reach C's and D's (above the stave) with relative ease and yet now they just slip away! Can't reach them which is honestly frustrating when trying to play fanfare for the common man lol

    Hope you can offer any tips to increase or just to regain my previous range. May just be lip overuse and I am resting it every now and then but idk :S

  2. skankin'dan

    skankin'dan Pianissimo User

    Mar 14, 2007
    From my experience and the experience I hear from others, the key to victory is laying off the high stuff. So what I recomend is:

    Take a day or two off, or as much time as possible if you have playing in between.

    Start off with some mouthpeice buzzing, try to get the cleanest sound possible while buzzing in pp or quieter even.

    Then, do some ppp - pp long tones all the way up to the highest note you can make without ANY pressure or excess tension in your face. Take your practise from there.
  3. lawrencelaptop

    lawrencelaptop New Friend

    Jun 30, 2009
    Thanks- will do!
  4. rbdeli

    rbdeli Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2009
    Based on my own experience with this 'decreasing range' phenomenon, a couple of days off and you'll be back to where you were.

    But, that doesn't address the underlying problem? Why did you regress?

    My theory is that if you're high notes are a struggle, there is something else in your playing that is also suffering. How is your lower range? Can you say with absolute certainty your low C sounds as good as you want it to? Are there any other aspects of your playing that you are struggling with?

    The key to developing range is to master the low notes, and the notes along the way to the high ones.

  5. EdMann

    EdMann Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 20, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Yep. Day or two off. My experience with younger players (and with some old fogies like me) is the pressure cooker and that creates swelling, which brings range to a feeble halt. One day off me does the trick.

    Good luck!

  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    If you want to be able to play a certain thing on the trumpet you have to practice it, high range is no exception, start with soft long-tones , remember to rest as long as you play say 5 min. on 5 min. off ,next play arpeggios starting on 2nd line G and continue going up chromatically as high as you can using no more than 3 tries for a note, alternate the tongue and slur on these , one day tongue one day slur's, rest before practicing any thing else.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    the key to stability is a daily routine of between 30-45 minutes with all of the basics like long tones, slurs and easy tunes. After that you can take the rest of the time available to stretch the envelope.

    Never beat your face up, the muscles were not designed for that and react in ways that spoil your fun.

    The fanfare for the common man is not daily bread and just banging it out probably does more damage than good. I only practice the high notes that I need for the next gig.

    Range is not the measure of success. Becoming more musical with what you have is.

    I suspect that you do not have a routine and that you "attack" each practice session by chance instead of in an orderly fashion.

    Try a month of the following:
    5 minutes buzzing various notes (not high ones) simply by inhaling and exhaling - no tonguing
    5 minutes of the same on the horn at pianissimo
    10 minutes of slurs with no tonguing and at pianissimo
    10 minutes of easy tunes (like stuff that you find in a church hymnbook)
    Take a 10 minute break and then play the repertory that you have coming up, very quietly and wih a metronome.

    After that you should have considerably more power and agility.
    Phil Kersh likes this.
  8. Phil Kersh

    Phil Kersh Pianissimo User

    Feb 28, 2008
    Provo, Utah
    I'd like to get some suggestions with regards to playing on a new horn AND a new mouthpiece.

    I'm finding that going from a non-Monette horn is helping me focus on relaxing. However, even though I've been using a similar mouthpiece, the addition of the Slap and larger backbore is really much more of a challenge than I expected.

    Vulgano Brother suggests that I start from scratch. What are your thoughts on the matter?
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Oops, I don't do well with the language of texting, but do know a bit about trumpet. If you are getting weaker, it is probably overwork in the upper register.

    Playing softly requires more strength than playing loudly, endurance is built from many low-impact repetitions.

    I would suggest spending a couple of days playing Clarke studies pp or ppp, not going much above the staff; good for both strength, endurance and brain.

    Spend some time starting long tones softly with a "P" articulation--it forces the lips to work, rather than rely on the tongue.

    Range, once learned, is something we only lose in the extreme register from unuse. Once we have solid C's and D's they should, like riding a bicycle, be ready to recall--however, if your solid D turned into a nonexistent Eb, then your lips may have been too far apart and you "muscling" alone. Again, quiet practice (sometimes without the tongue) should help.

    Good luck!
  10. DanZ_FL

    DanZ_FL Pianissimo User

    Jun 16, 2009
    Clearwater, Florida
    Absolutely. This cannot be stressed enough. Thanks for stating this so succinct.

    I am about a month into a dedicated decision to get my lip back and play again after twenty years off after my college senior recital in '89. (Walking away from thirteen years of hard work, study and performance is something of a whole other thread which I likely may just leave alone). It's humbling starting over again and finding yourself in Arban's first studies as your task, whereas you were tackling the Tomasi in your day's practice decades before.

    Needless to say, range is one of the tasks ahead of me (along with flexibility, soft attack, finger technique, sight-reading, etc. etc...) and in the past month, I've experienced fluctuations in my range. The wonderful thing about approaching playing now as opposed to in the 80's when I was in school, is that there's no mental pressure -- except for me personally -- to get to a certain point by a certain deadline. The only thing in front of me is air and opportunity, so to speak.

    At the risk of going off on a tangent, I think what plagues most young players is the pressure to be at a certain level of proficiency by a certain time/schedule no matter what. This leads to hasty decisions, poor habits, oversight of certain fundamentals, looking for "magic" fixes (new horn, mouthpiece, add-ons...). It's a drag that there's this pressure put on us that likely compromises the playing careers of many aspiring brass players.

    So, getting back to the point...slow down, play soft and long tones. Careful and elegant lip slurs. Delicate soft attacks and a good forward projection of air no matter what volume. I've only been a member of this site for a few weeks and have already seen these important points mentioned repeatedly.

    BTW, somewhere along the way I heard that the great natural trumpet players of the baroque period would spend much time playing long soft low notes which built their chops to be able to perform in the upper partials.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2009

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