Question about developing upper register

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Haste2, May 2, 2012.

  1. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    294
    36
    Jun 16, 2010
    So, after years of playing without thinking about various bad habits, I've been trying to overcome them over the past year or so.... (apparently something huge is still crippling me as far as range and endurance) But I'm still working on that! Even though I'm asking about range here, my practice has been much more concerned about other aspects such as a phrasing, tonguing, and tone.

    Let's say that I -have- made significant progress in my body mechanics.... I still need to practice some range exercises each day to get ANY improvement, right? Nothing just "magically" improves through improved body mechanics, except perhaps general ease of playing, correct? Of course, it is said that good practicing also improves body mechanics....but then again, not all good practicing has range exercises.

    I'm getting tired of consistently hitting high C#s, but usually missing the Ds. You know of any reasonable range exercises that could likely expand my effective range to a high D, one measly half-step? (Regardless of whether I have overcome any major "bottlenecks" in my playing mechanics!)

    Keep in mind my chops are frail and can't handle consistent beatings (only occasionally) so working on this aspect can be tricky. I feel that my teacher gives me practice routines via Colin's lip slurs and such that beat me up a bit too much, even though these supposedly should help with my range. It seems like practicing quietly in the upper register (e.g. high Clarke #1 exercises, adding those reaching beyond high C) is actually more effective for me. One thing is for sure: Clarke #1s warm me up to playing the upper register MUCH more effectively that day. However, I've never really made those part of my daily exercises....
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,965
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    Haste,

    barring a medical issue, EVERYTHING gets better with improved body mechanics. We can't analyse what is going on with your face over the internet. There is nothing wrong with Clarke up an octave.

    Everything that we do not solve through body use has to be compensated for in the face. This is THE NUMBER ONE FACT that I have learned in 35+ years of teaching.

    I have run into students that wipe themselves out by using a mouthpiece/horn with a sound that does not correspond to what is really in their heads. Some have a bright mouthpiece/horn and wipe themselves out trying to get a dark sound. Others have a big deep, dark sounding mouthpiece/horn and waste a lot of energy getting some brilliance. Both situations are relatively easily solved. I bring various horns( mouthpieces to lessons and we search for synergy.

    There are only hollow claims about "embouchure" systems that unlock the upper register. Many times we have to work on the self esteem/attitude of the player at the same time. Some need to develop a system of rewards to maintain drive/ambition. For others it is sufficient to move the range building exercizes to the end of the practice session.
     
  3. bach37

    bach37 Pianissimo User

    67
    20
    Dec 1, 2011
    Sounds like you are on the right track. Just takes a lot of time and a lot of practice. If you want to hit those notes you have to play up there. Best of luck.
    P.S.
    Keep the air flowing
     
  4. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    2,513
    1,291
    May 7, 2011
    Arizona
    If you can play a C# but not a D then I'd suspect you are pushing too hard to get there.

    Take Clarke's advice, practice SOFTLY. Play the Clark#1 chromatic starting on F# to the High-C up and down. Don't mash and don't let it get LOUD. If that is too high then go to a lower one until you can comfortable repeat it several times as soft as possible. DO just that one for as long as it takes to be super easy and you ar chomping at the bit to start doing one half step higher.

    Then gradually add another half step. Building strength with the low ones repeated... over time, is what builds range.
     
  5. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    16,418
    7,544
    Dec 22, 2008
    Virginia
    Softly is the key, and lots of it. I agree with jiarby about pushing too hard (also agree with the others). It sounds contrary, but you need to learn to relax up there and playing softly did that for me. Chromatics is a good way to pursue this and I would add long tones played softly.
     
  6. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    Age:
    69
    1,465
    128
    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    All good advice, but one thing concerns me. When you sat that the exercises that your teacher gives you beats up your chops. Constantly beating up your embouchure is not a good thing and can cause long term harm.

    Have you discussed this with your teacher? Plus you show good common sense when you find exercises that work for you without abusing your chops.
     
  7. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    2,513
    1,291
    May 7, 2011
    Arizona
    yeah... if the C# exercises are killing him then he needs to back down a bunch and start building a foundation with the top space G then work back up.
     
  8. AndrewL

    AndrewL New Friend

    39
    3
    Jan 14, 2011
    England
    Eric Bolvin's Tounge Level & air takes you through range building over a year - may be worth a look. I think high range playing should only form a small part of your daily practice and only when the basics are in place. Alan Vizutti's trumpet method (vol 1) gives good coverage of the essentials that should be in place before undertaking serious high range studies. He also includes some upper register studies; I haven't played them yet as I'm still working on the basics!
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,616
    7,965
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    C# is not a high note and only requires moderate support and chop strength. If there are problems there, other basics are not sorted yet!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  10. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    294
    36
    Jun 16, 2010
    Some have a bright mouthpiece/horn and wipe themselves out trying to get a dark sound. Others have a big deep, dark sounding mouthpiece/horn and waste a lot of energy getting some brilliance. Both situations are relatively easily solved. I bring various horns( mouthpieces to lessons and we search for synergy.

    So maybe my worries about progressing with my bright B-flat Yamaha WAS valid, then.... glad to see that evidence that switching exclusively to C trumpet (not permanently!) for the past while was a pretty good idea, as I've always desired/envisioned a slightly darker sound. Then again, there are other big reasons, too, which I won't get into....

    Thanks for the basic advice, everyone. Sometimes I dislike the manner of my posts.... I need to be more brief.
     

Share This Page