Stereotypical 'range' question: Is this normal?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by aboomer90, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. aboomer90

    aboomer90 New Friend

    Nov 18, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Hey guys!

    So I made the switch from my Schilke 20 to a Blessing 5C that a friend was going to throw away. I tried it kind of as a joke (because I like playing with every tool in the chest before it gets thrown away ROFL), but I actually came to really love it; It's not as constricting as a Bach 3C but with the smaller cup that gives me a bit of a range and endurance boost. The 5C has become my new primary piece.

    Now on to my actual question. I've been noticing more and more that when I'm warming up and when I first start practicing in the Big Band at my college, my range is higher than it has ever been before; I've been able to scream all the way up to a High G (above the C above the staff), which is really, really new to me.
    What happens, though, is that as I play, I get tired and then I wind up going back to my 'original' range, which is a comfortable High C (High D if the horn decides I'm worthy ;-) ).
    But if I just sit and buzz my lips for about a minute or so, I can go back to screaming the high notes for a few seconds and then my 'normal' range returns.

    Is this normal? Is this a sign that my chops are starting to 'buff up,' or am I doing something wrong? (assuming that I have no embouchure problems)
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    When you are resting and buzzing your blood is flowing back into your lips. You are in "recovery" mode. I would say it's normal and it looks like you are developing your range. Congratulations! It's what most strive for. Keep striving. Word of caution, don't get too excited and try to extend the time/endurance you can play up there with excessive mpc pressure. That is when you can hurt your lips and take several steps back (been there done that).:play::thumbsup:
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If you are playing correctly, your range doesn't just disappear. When you "lose" notes, it is a sign that you are using excessive pressure and THAT squeezes the chops off, increasing the amount of work, making you tired faster thus limiting range.

    Playing with pressure is normal (even if it is not good), so there is nothing special going on here.

    When (if) you learn to gradually replace pressure with superior breath support and body use, you can move to the next level of playing. Depending how ingrained your playing habits are and your determination will define if that takes months, years or lifetimes.
  4. craigph

    craigph Piano User

    Mar 12, 2010
    I've seen people here talk about breath support, but am not really sure what that phrase refers to. Can you elaborate?
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Breath support does need to be in the context of how the player plays. For some, it means tense abs and pushing. For others it is big and relaxed, relying on the horn to do most of the work instead of brute force. Both have their merits.

    Basically we need to get a huge breath in without raising our shoulders or building up tension. Then we need to learn to exhale smoothly. The better that we have our air under control, the less face tension we need for proper playing. That gives us sound, range and a base for articulation.

    Body use is reducing tension/pressure from the tips of our toes to the top of our heads. It is a long process but I know of no single discipline that gives the player more bang for the buck than time spent on these basics.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010

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