Stretching Range

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Joe N., Apr 22, 2007.

  1. Joe N.

    Joe N. New Friend

    Mar 22, 2007
    Hi everyone,

    Over the past couple weeks I've been adressing a problem that I've had of a somewhat faulty upper range. I've been making a lot of progress and I want to know your opinion on some exercises that could help me. As we all know, when we learned the trumpet some notes that were "hard" then are easily in our range without effort now. This is because of either reduced pressure, more air, ect. Does anybody have exercises that will speed up the process in the upper range of turning a note from a "squeak out" to a note that has decent tone quality? Thanks for any help.
  2. OdieLopez3

    OdieLopez3 New Friend

    Jan 21, 2007
    First of all it depends if you're strictly on classical playing then your range can get better but its not something thats going to project just nice and smooth, but if you're well rounded and like to play it all then find what gets the job done for you. Alot has to be to how comfortable you can be with mouthpiece and stuff. Like me I use a Bach 3C and switch with the shew 1 which is what I feel comfortable with. Its not an easy task to go from one day to another playing high notes or any type of passage. It takes time and patience so dont try to hurry the process every step takes time. Now you can work on some second studies that start working their way up the range and this also goes with scales that go two octaves (most important work with a metronome). Some flexibility like lip slurs or Charles Collins Advanced lip flexibility. Now if you feel like your putting too much pressure or getting tired and nothing wants to come out then take a breath, relax, rest as much as you played, and put the horn down. You dont want to over due it and hurt yourself. Eventually range starts building up in time and dont stress on it too much pace yourself with your practice and you will see some good results.
  3. Joe N.

    Joe N. New Friend

    Mar 22, 2007
    Good point Odie when I'm practicing my highest range I always warm up for 10-15 minutes with a mute then take a 10 minute break then do lip slurs without a mute for 5 then rest for 5 and then work on high notes. Besides being better for your chops I can get a lot higher after a warm-up.
  4. Shermock

    Shermock New Friend

    Dec 12, 2006
    Maple Grove, MN
    Hello! Not knowing where you are at with your playing, whether you're beginner-intermediate-advanced-pro, please forgive me if I over-explain something you already know about.

    There are a couple things that you may want to try in order to "tune up" the high range. One would be what I call the "On-off trick."

    Start by playing a C in the staff on your mouthpiece, and while buzzing the note slide your horn (gently) onto the mouthpiece and hold the note a bit. There are a couple things you'll want to notice with this: One is that the horn may seem to want to go to a flatter (typically) or sharper pitch than you're used to. Allow this to happen--I call it "surrendering" to wherever the horn wants to place the pitch. Actually, the horn is telling you where the middle of that slot is, where you're blowing straight down the note. A result of this will be, normally, a noticeable change for the better in overall tone quality. This is the sound you want to develop or fix/enhance range with. So: buzz note of choice--slide horn on buzzing mouthpiece--hold note on horn--listen to tone--repeat.

    One variation is doing a number of on-off manouvers in a row. The idea here is to match the pitch between the mouthpiece and the horn. Very often, as the horn comes off, the mouthpiece pitch will jump up. That shows a tendency to play sharp on the pitch.

    Ultimately, what you're doing is learning how to play down the center of the note, where the horn is most resonant on that pitch. You're also getting a sense of really "blowing the horn" on these notes. Take it up as high as comfortable, never allowing a squeeze or strain to invade your work. Oh yeah--posture! Sit up, shoulders down, breathe into stomach, play as relaxed as possible. You know the drill.

    Another thing to do would be to order Keith Johnson's "Practical Studies for the High Register" published by Harold Gore in Denton, TX. Take those studies and play them 3 times through each key--horn, mouthpiece, horn. Play your mouthpiece with finger tips -thumb and forefinger- at the end of the shank, like the picture in James Stamp's "Warm Ups and Studies." (If you start sliding up, you're pressing too hard.) That last time through the horn should be blown like your mouthpiece, generating a beautiful tone on those studies. You want to listen to yourself playing a gorgeous sound up there. This process sets you up for that success.

    The common theme here is tone quality, like you mentioned in the original post. Develop range on your classical setup with your classical mouthpiece, playing a classical tone. Let your sound be beautiful and singing. Then, when you switch to your lead mouthpiece play the same way--let the gear brighten your sound so you cut through the mush. You'll retain much of the cool, meaty core tone that you play on your classical setup. In fact, I make it a point to physically approach lead playing much more "classically," just because it's a way to take one approach to range that can cover all styles. I'm a big believer in keeping trumpet uncluttered, sort of a lowest-common-denominator idea. Your simplest playing will be your best playing.

    In saying all this, I hope I haven't stepped on any toes, that's not my intention. Just hoping there's something here that's useful to you!:D


  5. tonidimitri

    tonidimitri New Friend

    Apr 23, 2007
    sydney australia
    well i've had a high range problem in the not so distant past, and i found the amount of air support and mouthpiece pressure have a great deal with high note playing. i found that even i was putting in many hours everyday my range was still weak, but when i stopped to focus on deep breathing from the diaphram and focusing on minimal pressure over time the notes became better quality and endurance also increased.
  6. TrumpetEd

    TrumpetEd New Friend

    Feb 26, 2007
    Green Bay, WI
    I guess it depends on what your range is now. I'm not an authority on this. For many years, I was unable to play above a High "G". Now, after studying with Roger Ingram, I am playing A-flats, As, and hitting up to Double C. The Double C is not usable yet for gigging, but hope for it to be someday. Roger's theory is not necessarily to learn to play high, but to learn to play more efficiently which will increase your range and endurance. If you ever get a chance to take a lesson with Roger, don't hesitate. It's well worth the time and money.

    A good book that I recently found and highly recommend is called "FLEXUS Trumpet Calisthenics For The Modern Improvisor". It is written by Laurie Frink and John McNeil. I'm not familiar enough with John McNeil, but Laurie Frink was a student of Carmine Caruso. This is an excellent book that I use and recommend for my students.
  7. John P

    John P Piano User

    Jun 16, 2006
    Camp Hill, PA
    I recently went to a clinic with the Army Blues trumpet section. The lead player, Liesl Whitaker, said that Clarke studies 8va are great for extending one's range.
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Clarke, Arban, et al are excellent! There are tons of exercises and methods for range that are nothing more than the trumpeter's version of bodybuilding.

    Smith's Top Tones contains a very effective "bodybuilding" exercise for building the strength needed, followed by a bunch of (gasp!) musical etudes that produce endurance and practical range. Good stuff!
  9. MrLT

    MrLT Pianissimo User

    Jul 12, 2005
    Manchester UK
    Just remember this - there are no short cuts, magic formulas here - the secret is intelligent practice, a good teacher and patience. I have personally found the Caruso exercises very useful for range building (but get a teacher familiar with the methos to show you) and there are numerous exercises in Arban which focus on long tones and intervals which are helpful.
  10. Frippel_C

    Frippel_C New Friend

    Apr 28, 2007
    I had that problem too, at last fall I could play 2nd G, A if I was lucky and since christmas I can play 3rd C, D if I'm lucky. Or I started out last christmas, I don't remember really.

    Anyway, I just played as high as I could for as long as I could. After a while the G wasn't hard to play anymore so I switched to A, and so on.
    People around me that plays 1 to 1 1/2 octave more treats the second octave like the first and plays Clarke and such there, and after a while thats not hard either.

    Play every day until you're exhausted in your lips and can't play another tone, when you feel that you know that you have trained :)

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