Question about developing upper register

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

  1. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Your quote in bold has nothing to do with range. A "dark" C# is the same note as a "bright" C#.

    You can change equipment until you're blue in the face, but if you have a hard stop at high C# then you're doing something fundamentally wrong.

    You should absolutely find a horn/mouthpiece combination that works best for you, but once you settle on that you'll still have to address what you're doing (or not doing) that's limiting what you want to do, which in this case is increasing your range.
  2. Haste2

    Haste2 Piano User

    Jun 16, 2010
    Yeah, I know. I was talking more about general progress in playing there.
  3. hixsta

    hixsta New Friend

    Aug 23, 2008
    Western Australia
    Lot's of great advice. My take (someone who played with little air and too much pressure for years) is what some have said. Learn to breathe deeply and don't overfill. "Big Breath" is the worst advice anyone can give you. Check out this Jim Manley - Approach to Air & Airmen of Note trumpets - YouTube then use Claude Gordon's dieas of playing softly. Eric Bolvin's tongue Level & Air IS very good too. You can increase your range purely from practising AWAY from the horn. Air power and control is the key. Get power first, THEN work on control by playing quitely in the low register. Colla Voce ! Malte Burba from Germany has many great ideas on this, check his video.
    Finally if you have a tendecy to play with pouted lips then you may need a teacher to monitor this. Big lip players must learn to "tuck" their lips in a little to make the 'red flesh' dissappear. This helps reduce pressure but automatically requires more air support. Clarke Terry alludes to this in his training video from the 1980s, the video is a little dated and goes from learning to blow your first note to quite advanced in a hour but man you should see that champion lip buzz! He has some of the lightest pressure I have ever seen.
    As an extra, make sure you find a teacher that had to WORK to play high, if they didn't then often they are "reverse enginnering" what they do to explain it to you. Whilst they may be exceptional players they haven't truly walked the path the hard way and discovered what works and what doesn't Great players don't always make great coaches! (Oooh I may have stirred up some thinking here, sorry if i offend anyone. It's just my take on things, purely humble opinion of course)
  4. Gandalf20000

    Gandalf20000 New Friend

    Oct 9, 2010
    Texas, United States
    I'm not an expert, but I know what has worked for me is focusing on breathing exercises, soft playing (especially Clark #1), peddle tones, lip slurs, and a slightly modified version of Jon Faddis's arpeggio exercise, which states that you play a note, play the third, and then play the fifth, all in half notes and whole notes. I like to do a full octave arpeggio to help me keep a more open embouchure when I go higher, since I tend to overtighten as I go higher. In a few weeks, I've had some pretty noticeable improvement. On an average day, my range was okay up to about a high D, but the C, the C#, and the D sounded strained. After about a month, even with all of the interrupting events (such as the band trip to Colorado that ruined my regular practice), I'm good up to a high Eb or E now, and I can squeak a G on a regular basis. My high C and D are significantly less strained. Additionally, I try to limit extreme high playing to every other day. It works out pretty well because of my school's every other day block scheduling, so the days I have regular band alternate with the days I have jazz band. I'm first chair in the top concert band, but I rarely have to play above a high C. However, even playing second in the jazz band, it isn't uncommon for my part to call for a C# or even a D, and it has to be ten times as loud as what my concert band parts require. This is quite convenient, because I can do my high note exercises on jazz band days, but I can focus more on tone and technique on other days.

    Just to sum it all up, these are the most important things I've learned about trumpet:
    • Be relaxed when you play and let the air go. Even soft notes require fast, steady air.
    • Get a good warm-up. I know a trumpet player who plays squeal tones and certain lip slurs (ones that I would argue go too high to be the first things one plays), and he's always tired and complaining by the end of band. He has no control and plays brutally loud most of the time, probably because he can't play soft.
    • My dad always says, "High notes are money in the bank." Don't spend your money all at once. Invest it wisely.
    • Use the Claude Gordon rule and rest as long as you play, especially after a particularly taxing musical passage or exercise.
    • Doing lots of lip slurs, soft playing, and long tones in the middle and lower register does a world of wonder for focus and control. Trumpet is all about finesse, and not everything can be brute forced, especially if you're a smaller person.
    • Don't psyche yourself out. My best high notes, jazz improv, and auditions always present themselves when I just relax and don't think about it.

    Like I said, I'm no expert, but I figured I could be of some help. I've only been playing for a few years now, but my dad (aka, my private teacher) has been playing for almost forty-five years, and constantly gives me tips and always tries to improve his own playing.
  5. frankmike

    frankmike Piano User

    Dec 5, 2008
    I do not know about you but I unlocked my upper register (I can play above double C -yes that is an octave above high c and more) I focused on small aperture, lip to lip compression (the way jon faddis advocate) and a strong air support (the way rafael mendez advocates) also strong corners will help.

    Oh and I lost some weight. I used to be 88kg, now I am 75kg (unreleated matter -but it helped my performance)

    EDIT: oh, and all that is done with Al Hirt D mouthpiece
  6. vern

    vern Piano User

    Mar 4, 2008
    Haste2, perhaps some advice from a rank amateur who has significantly increased his range over the past several years? I practice all keys of a scale (either major, harmonic minor, natural minor, melodic minor) from the lowest starting note in the scale to the highest every day (2 or 3 octaves). I started going up to high "F" . Each year, I extend my highest note by 1/2 step. Emphasis on relaxation and ease and I especially like to practice tongueing them. I'll never be a "high note" man but my goal has been realized; I play a consistantly good high "D", etc. or at least I've been told.
  7. ebjazz

    ebjazz Pianissimo User

    Aug 12, 2005
    SF Bay Area
  8. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 14, 2010
    I find I get maximum benefit from interleaving my practice regimes. Two or three days doing high range then a couple of days doing intervals. A couple of days on long tones. This works for me because I only have time to practice technical exercises ten to twenty minutes a day, and it leaves time for memorizing songs and practicing scales or improvisation, I find if I spend too much time on particular skills my general playing suffers. If you have more time I think it is recommended that you do all of it in a day. Eventually I want to get so that I can whip through my scales in one or two minutes, and a couple of interval studies, lip slurs, and high range etudes in a few more minutes. That way I can spend most of my time learning music.
  9. larrygk

    larrygk Pianissimo User

    Jan 7, 2012
    The Caruso book.
    Helped me a ton and is part of my daily practice. And I don't have a centered embouchure, but taught me (along with my teacher) to stay open. Consistently can sound good F#'s above staff. Good enough for me....
  10. TrumpetMonk

    TrumpetMonk Pianissimo User

    Jul 22, 2009
    West virginia
    I'm in the same boat man, just keep after it everyday. I don't think there's a secret to it, just keep working it out.

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