Secrets to Hitting High Notes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Flugellover, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Flugellover

    Flugellover New Friend

    Dec 20, 2011
    I have heard of tricks for building your embouchure such as holding a pencil between your lips for a couple minutes, and was wondering if anyone out there had any other secrets to share. Is there any tricks that significantly improve your range in a short time, or is the only way to have a better range simply to practice?
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Practice playing high notes!!! First!!! Rofl
  3. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    I would say practice. That is the number 1 thing. When I was in 6th grade trying to get the G on top of the staff so I could play star wars, all I did was scales and simple songs up an octave. Like twinkle twinkle, mary had a little lamb, and other simple songs. I also worked on my pedal tones to build up lip muscle. You must go down before you go up.

    Welcome to TM!
  4. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011

    If there was an easy shortcut or some mouthpiece you could buy then EVERYONE would be able to do it. Squeaking is easy.... playing a musical phrase up AND DOWN is hard.

    My recommended strength building routine has this:
    1. Clarke Chromatic Scales... up and down, played slowly and softly. I aim for control and for the upper notes to have the same timbre and sound as the lower ones.... not sounding strained or pressed.
    2. Octave Glissandos. up and down 3-4 times. Whole note, then gliss up 8va and hold, then gliss back down and hold the lower note. Then down another octave (or two when possible). (ex... Middle C, gliss to high C, back down to middle C, then Low C and Pedal C.). Then go up by half steps with appropriate rest in between.
    3. Arpeggios... Up an down octaves + a 3rd. Any gorilla can tear off a High C to an F and then kiss it off. A great player can go up AND down... with control and no scooping the notes. Go up by half steps. the extra 3rd is where the building happens.
    (ex. F on top staff, A, High C, High F <--- hold it then High A, back down to the F, High C, A, F) Later when the A's are easy add the DHC, but always back down to the A, F, etc... not just a rip to the top.
    4. Colin Advanded Lip Flexibilities. the back half has great lip slurs for building range by half steps. Do them soft and slow with a metronome. CONTROL is the key.
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Welcome to TM, Flugellover!

    If there is a "secret" to high notes no one is telling, although plenty are selling snake oil.

    Conventional wisdom has it that a small aperture in the lips and lots of air behind it produce high notes. A firm chin helps for accuracy, and a mirror helps for that. To develop these muscles soft, soft, soft playing and true pedal tones are a low impact way to build the muscles required. Then, with a small aperture and lots of air you can approach the high notes chromatically or through arpeggios. Try to be musical through out it all.

    Have fun!
    tptCarl likes this.
  6. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US

    I did #3 too, I still do that every time I practice. I dont know about # 1 and 4 because I dont have the books, but I would do it. Along with everything jiarby said.
  7. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    The pencil is helpful. Mostly for endurance and power for existing high notes. With the pencil you might take your squeaky unmusical High C to a solid volume and good endurance but the pencil exercise won't necessarily help you blow a High F above.

    The BEST PIECE OF ADVICE there is concerning high notes is this.

    The upper lip must be

    A. Available to vibrate.

    B. Loose enough to vibrate.

    A. or "available to vibrate" means that the upper lip hangs just low enough over the upper teeth to channel the vibration of air through the mouthpiece when blowing a High C or above.

    Ever see those trumpet players who play really well but only up to a High C??? Their problem is ALWAYS that they don't leave enough upper lip BELOW the upper teeth.

    A deficient amount of upper lip hanging below the upper teeth also results in weak tone/endurance problems.

    Letter "B" is probably self explanatory but ask me and I will expand upon it.
  8. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    long soft tones in the staff,(some scales, and slurs and music in there also) repeat, rest a bit, repeat, rest a bit ---- get to another day, repeat, -------get to another year, repeat ---- and sooner or later, you will see improvement --- and that is the SECRET to high notes ------------dedicated, intelligent, consistent practice, with building the embouchure slowly and methodically, and using your air effective enough to vibrate the mass of lip that is in touch with the mpc, through the small aperture that you formed by said 1000's of repetitions, and 1000's of hours of practice, and can NOW hold together because you built an embouchure over TIME. so YES -- I gave you the SECRET forumula that everybody has been hiding from you ---- YOU can thank me later -- in a year or two, or three ROFL ROFL ROFL
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  9. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Switch to the guitar.

    With guitar, high note mania is completely satisfied, and you can move on to the next obssession.:-)

  10. trumpetplanet

    trumpetplanet New Friend

    Dec 8, 2011
    Bristol, UK
    I also think it's worth saying that a good way to add notes to your range is to get good at the ones you can already play. If you're trying to get to the A above the stave then play lots of Gs. That way you'll just build up a natural strength and (just as importantly) confidence about how those higher tones feel and sound.

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