Range Plateau?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Skelingtin, May 28, 2014.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, I sang with them - it was the 70's. That is why I am so adamant about process. Prepared mind, prepared body, prepared breathing, pre-paired lips...........
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    There are so many things that go into range and endurance - everything from mouthpiece placement, embouchure type, pressure being used, the size, shape and position of the teeth, whether or not the teeth are straight or crooked, usage of the tongue, size of your oral cavity, body usage, air usage....it's a combination of everything.

    As a sophomore in HS you may not yet realize that improvement on a musical instrument is not linear, and certain aspects of your playing won't continue to improve at a steady rate, although it probably seems that way for you at the moment because you are still in your formative years where your technique and chops are concerned. Not only that, but when I was your age, I mistakenly believed that my abilities on the horn would always improve, when in fact over time you'll likely go through periods of advancement and decline, depending on what's going on in your life, how focused or fragmented you are in general mentally, and even things like your state of physical fitness all play a role. I got to a point once during my early 20s where I discovered that what I ate and drank the previous day could have a noticeable impact on my playing.

    So, regarding that range and whether or not you've hit a plateau, the answer to that question is "maybe." However, you don't have to stay there, and you most likely won't stay there. Don't push the range thing though. For now your best bet is to focus on playing fundamentals - sound production, articulation, flexibility, musicality, etc. Put good time in with those things and you may find that your range will begin to expand again all on its own. Or it won't. Or it might not improve much for a while. I was 26 years old before I started to develop any kind of real success with range above high C/D (2 ledgers - not the octave above) and even now I don't have much usable range above an E, but I can peel paint all night with Ds, and that gets me through the boilerplate material I gig with just fine.

    Good luck with it and keep us posted! :-)
     
  3. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    One thing the OP should know is that there is a lot of exaggeration on social media.

    I'm not referring to anyone in this discussion, BTW.

    But I've heard people talk about being able to play a double high C and through months or years of online
    interaction you realize that their idea of "hitting" that note and yours are quite different.

    People who are pro's or near-pro players with day jobs understand that their range is what can they play reliably
    and musically on a gig with any dynamic, soft to loud, not the note they can squeak out once in a while practicing.

    So, unless you actually hear someone play that deafening DHC in person, well, it might just be talk.
     
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Greg brings up a great point. It's not at all out of the realm of exaggeration that, "I can play a double high C!" actually translates into a thin, pinched, airy, squeaky "thing" that really can't be defined as a real note, and has only ever happened a few times in the practice room.

    I've always tried to not exaggerate when it comes to what I can and can't do with the trumpet, and especially when it comes to range. Besides, range is only one small part of trumpet playing in general, and it's one thing to be able to hit notes in the practice room, and to be able to play them with confidence and accuracy on a gig. In the practice room I can "hit" G above high C with decent consistency and sound, and even an A on occasion (and yeah, I've even hit the ever so elusive DHC once or twice) but it's not something that's usable on the gig....although I must admit that during my stint in a Latin band, my friend and I used that as a test tube to see what we could or couldn't hit - in the context of that situation, if we missed big, it wasn't a big deal, no one got mad, and we still got paid at the end of the night. :-) But getting back to the subject, Eb is my limit where I can play it reliably, decently in tune and with good sound. It seems pretty weak compared to some of the folks we meet online, but somehow my criminal lack of range doesn't seem to hurt me when it comes to finding gigs.

    As a side note, in playing the Haydn Concerto as a senior in HS, I took the line with the Eb down an octave because at the time I couldn't reliably hit it as written. Did it hurt it musically? Arguably, yes - there are many who would make the argument that if I couldn't hit the note, then I should have picked a different solo. Whatever - I still got a 1+ and won the trumpet solo award at the regional contest, and IMO the piece would have suffered more if I had gone for it and missed.
     
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    I'm in a similar boat. I can rely on my high D being extremely loud when it has to be, and that means as loud or louder
    than any note below it that I can play. The Eb sometimes isn't so strong. But playing up from there my notes simply "roll
    off" in loudness up to the DHC which is mp or so. I wouldn't claim to be a lead guy, but have no want for volume.

    So, I don't really claim I have those notes because I can't play a DHC loud enough to be heard
    over the rest of a horn section, which I think is kind of assumed for a top notch scream player in a big band or jazz-rock group.

    Then again, I don't personally know any top notch scream players. I'm just going by what I've heard from many lead performers.
    It seems every big name band has a guy that can play double high A's, B's and C's all night long (Roger Ingram, the leads from BBVD,
    Brian Setzer and Gordon Goodwin come to mind).
     
  6. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

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    I feel so much better now -- trickG is human -- ROFL ROFL ROFL
     
  7. x9ret

    x9ret Banned

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    I guess it's to do with the gap your tongue level leaves with the top of your mouth. Some can manipulate tongue level by arching to the bottom teeth when going high- it might be worth trying that if you're not already doing so.

    If you go on youtube and watch Rashawn Ross put out a triple C and listen carefully to the discussion he has with Adam Dapa. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjDz2SvBfZo
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    No, it has nothing to do with that. When range stops at a specific note is because pressure on the chops limits their ability to move. Rashawn plays with incredibly low pressure. That is why everything is so effortless - his air still moves freely in that range. Less experienced players clamp off their sound two octaves lower!

    Arching the tongue if it is not tied to the other necessities only serves to increase tension more.
     
  9. x9ret

    x9ret Banned

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    You should listen to him more carefully. Yes he plays with low pressure on the lips but he talks of manipulating his tongue to get these notes. I would argue the pressure on chops is as a result of incorrect tongue level and trying to compensate for that.
     
  10. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    Absolutely. I've heard the same exact thing from other "top tier" players as well.
     

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