Problem with Upper Range on Trumpet above high G

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JazzMahn, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. JazzMahn

    JazzMahn New Friend

    Jul 30, 2011
    My granddaughter is a freshmen in high school and has worked extremely hard on trumpet. She reads well and has a great tone quality. Her problem is her range. Anything above G above fourth space C she just can't play. She says her teeth even hurt when she tries. Endurance is not happening. She gets a bad red ring on her upper lip. I've asked around and the consensus is that she is putting way too much pressure on her upper lip. They tell me there is no muscle there and that she needs to learn how to place the mouthpiece so that the weight rests on the lower lip.

    If any of you guys have some suggestions on what might help, I sure would appreciate it. I suggest just shifting the weight to her lower lip but she says she can't play that way. I've encouraged chromatic scales gradually pusning her upper register. I'm kind of at a loss to try anything else.

    Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Lipslurs. I use the Earl Irons lip flexibilities book. Even my 11-13 year old students have relaxed high Cs.
  3. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    She probably never learned how to play by focusing the corners and creating an embouchure correctly and has been using pressure to play whay she has been doing so far.

    Pressure works, but only up to a point, and even then only for so long. Eventually you get fatigued and start blowing popcorn.

    If she were my student I'd have her start buzzing with a piano using the Stamp exercises... then add the mouthpiece. When she is playing trumpet have her do clarke #1 exercises, but as softly as possible. Normally these are finger technical exercises, but they also work well as range exercises when played slowly and softly.
    Play each one as many times as possible with one breath, but SLOW. With as little pressure as possible. Then rest and do the next one. If she starts mashing then just stop and try again later.

    +1 for Irons too! Practice them slow at first until you develop fluidity... focus on even tone and not "bouncing"... use the tongue ahhh-eeee to manipulate change to the next partial.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  4. law6530

    law6530 New Friend

    Jan 7, 2011
    You are right in suggesting to move the mouthpiece more onto the bottom lip, and yes, she will sound quite poor for a while. But this embouchure correction is so important in becoming a good trumpeter. This process can take up to 8 months. At first you think, oh why bother, but after the 6 months or however long it takes you, you can belt out f above the staff. And then you realize how good a decision it was.
  5. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    Endurance is an air flow issue.
    Elementary Clarke Studies, Clarke Technical Studies, and the Chicowicz Air Flow Studies are all a good place to start.
    Neither Herseth nor Chicowicz advocated lip buzzing because it spreads the embouchure unnaturally. Other great player/teachers
    do advocate it. Mendez was one of them.
    Range is not "difficult" to achieve, but it must be learned properly with the basics of everyday playing.
    If she does not have a good teacher, get her one.
    Rich T.
  6. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Yes!! Exactly!! I'm not sure why, but it seems like a lot of girls seem to have problems with air and range. What might help her is Colin Lip Flexibilities - what will definitely help her is lessons with a good, solid teacher. I've found that lead players are usually great teachers for these sorts of problems - even playing next to a strong lead player can make a huge difference!
  7. JazzMahn

    JazzMahn New Friend

    Jul 30, 2011
    Thanks for all the wonderful replies!!! There are some really great suggestions I will try with my granddaughter. I've played trumpet myself for 55 years and have worked with her since she started. She is just now beginning to take playing seriously. There were months during middle school when she did not practice regulalary. I think part of her problem today is based on the lack of work she did over the past three years. She was not "stretched" in her middle school band experience.

    I am absolutely in agreement with all that suggested as I do that she place more of the mouthpiece on her lower lip. Tilting the trumpet down some should also force more use of the lower lip.

    They don't call trumpets "wind instruments" for nothing. I have always found that more use of air control can also defuse over pressure.

    Thanks again for these suggestions. I will try to incorporate as many as I can into her practice routine.

    I'm teaching a her high school brass section next week and will also use many of these ideas in working with them.

    Steve Bell
    Retired Carmi-White Co. High School Band Director
    Trumpet -Wabash Brass Quintet
  8. scrap

    scrap Pianissimo User

    Oct 22, 2010
    York, South Carolina
    Listen to the guys that said reduce the pressure. My director had this exact problem (his range even stopped at the same note), and his tutors first comment was to get his pinky out of the pinky hook. If she's got hers there, teach her to place the pinky on top of it instead. Good breath technique helps eliminate the need for pressure as well, so teach her to breathe into her stomach, and to push enough air through when she plays. Just blowing air through (not playing) can help with this, but add some flow studies and lip slurs to her practice routine to help further. also, a good way to practice not using pressure is to have her hold the mouthpiece by gently holding it between her thumb and index finger at the line on the shank left by the horn, and practicing some buzzing exercises.
  9. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Does she have braces?
  10. JazzMahn

    JazzMahn New Friend

    Jul 30, 2011
    No. She does not wear braces. She has just had her annual check up and she has no cavaites. Perfect teeth!!

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