Range in the first year

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Weevie, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. Weevie

    Weevie New Friend

    May 31, 2010
    Gloucestershire, UK
    I've been playing the guitar for years and the trumpet for just 4 months. I'm amazed at how physically demanding the trumpet is. When I started I couldn't play for longer than 30 seconds (yeah I do mean seconds!) and as for range......? On a guitar you just move down the fingerboard - how easy is that?

    What I'm wondering is how long does it take to develop a useful playing range. At the moment I can hit a third space C, as long as I'm fresh and have warmed-up properly. How long does it take for beginners to get up to a G above the stave for instance? I realise that different people will progress at different rates; I'm just looking for a ball park figure here.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. ExtraTeeth

    ExtraTeeth Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    Top line F or G is achievable within the first year. However, the quality of the note is more important. You will find that your sound will thin out towards the top of your range. I found it helpful to concentrate on improving the sound quality at that point where it tends to go off.
  3. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010
    You mean C5 I assume - the C above middle C?
    see here if you don't know what C5 means:
    C (musical note) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I can't answer your question directly since I'm not a teacher and I was a very young child when I first started playing. But I think you should be able to play from middle C up to G (on of the staff) comfortably within 6 months of playing. I was 6 or 7 years old when I started taking lessons. I recently asked my mother how much practice I did then, but she can't remember. We think perhaps only 15 or 20 minutes at the very beginning and then a 1/2 hour a day after a couple months, moving up to an hour or more when I was a teen. For the first few months I seem to remember just doing dead simple stuff within a very small range, which was only very gradually expanded by my teacher. Play a bit everyday and your range should develop as your musculature and technique improve.

    I'm a comeback player myself. I played just on a few occassions over the last couple years, but became serious again just a half year ago or so. When I first picked up the trumpet again my range wasn't great but it has come back quickly. That makes me think that a lot is involved in technique.

    I also play guitar. (36 years) I was thinking the same thing that range isn't an issue on guitar. However, there are physical aspects. I play chord-melody jazz on a 7 string archtop with heavy strings and the fingers of both hands can get tired and warm to the touch after playing for a while. Then there are the odd calluses I get (and file off) on the side of my little finger from stretching to play an extended voicing. etc. etc. Its different, but there is some physicality involved in all instruments I suspect.
  4. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    With all due respect to Wikipedia, in the trumpet vernacular the generally accepted namings are (from Rowuk's sticky):

    Low C is below the staff.
    Third space C is just that.
    High C is two ledger lines above the staff.
    Double C is one octave above that.
  5. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010

    Yeah, I get that. I would normally refer to the C's in that way, but it sounds like the poster is (1) very new to trumpet (2) coming from another instrument and (3) not familiar with normal naming. There are a number of different systems for referring to notes (C5, c', etc). Perhaps one is more common that others, but I have come across the naming I referred to in different contexts, in discussions between different instrumentalists and in audio programming. I was just trying to clarify what the OP was referring to. Lord knows once people start referring to notes around or above high C some people have different (erroreous) ideas about what note is being referred to.

  6. RichJ

    RichJ Piano User

    Jan 16, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    If you have a decent teacher, I would expect to have a usable range up to the G on top of the staff within 9 months to a year, figuring 20-30 minutes of practice a day. With poor use of breathing and incorrect approach, things can take much much longer. I've started two kids and had them start in the 2nd line G to 3rd space C range within the first week. Beginning below that middle G can be a recipe for range problems as it allows for a very weak embouchure. Good luck!
  7. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    My experience is that G on top of the staff is comfortable in the 2nd to 3rd year. It is important to work on the half octave at the bottom in the first couple of years (and onward as well) and playing low will help you play high too.

    Just a note (ow) about names - for guitar players the is no middle C or C5, there is only A and E :-P
  8. Weevie

    Weevie New Friend

    May 31, 2010
    Gloucestershire, UK
    Hi all,

    Thanks a lot for your replies, that gives me some context. :thumbsup:
  9. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

    Dec 23, 2009
    To give you a reference point I picked the trumpet back up after 20 years ++ not playing. I played 5th - 8th grade and then never again until about 8 months ago. When I started a C was fine to hit, but trying to hit a D or E was hard or impossible to hit and not too longer after practicing and playing I was able to eventually get up to the G above the staff. 8 months later I am able to top out at a high C above the staff, but I consider G above the staff the highest I can hit musically although I almost have the A above the staff able to hit musically. i.e. a good exercise (You can google it) is the Caruso exercise and you can practice playing notes almost like a scale, but you play half and whole notes. If you can hold a note for a half or whole count then you can hit it. so for instance I have a Canon that I had been playing and with 1/8 notes it hits the A above the staff and until recently I haven't been able to hit that A although if I am just trying to hit a single note as I said before I can get up to a C above the staff.

    The other key that I have seen is this (rest as much as you play) and play pedal notes / notes below the staff.

    Other than that I am sure like most people would say is that you just have to practice. My current goal is to be able to hit the higher notes in a musical piece with good sound quality and right now the best quality high note I can play is G above the staff. Everything else takes too much effort.

    Oh yes and here are 2 other major key differences in my practice regimen. I have a private music lesson every week with a trumpet player / music teacher. I also started playing with a small brass ensemble. Both of those components have helped me immensely in improving.
  10. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    Wouldn't the books highschoolers use be a good guide? The first year trumpet books would cover what an average highschooler can do in the first year, and so on.

    the highest note I see in my Standard Of Excellence book 1 is the F on the top line, the "Fine" in "Every Good Boy Does Fine" lol.

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