trouble with higher notes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by daveblue222, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. daveblue222

    daveblue222 New Friend

    Aug 19, 2009
    I have been playing for about 5 months now and am finding it hard to reach anything above the high e within the stave. even when i do reach the desired note it sounds to forced and loud. whats the best way to improve range. im not aiming to play anything super high, just to about the g above f on the stave. also is there a better way to refer to notes when describing octaves, instead of saying i.e two Cs above middle C?

    all help greatly appreciated

  2. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    I wouldn't worry about not having an upper register after 5 months. I couldn't even hit the c in the middle of the staff consistently after 3.

    Range comes with time, patience and (most importantly) intelligent practice. Don't force anything before it wants to - it'll only frustrate you. Testing and strengthening the upper register is good, but don't force anything.
  3. bobd0

    bobd0 Piano User

    Jan 10, 2009
    Hi Dave,

    I started playing again about five months ago too -- after forty years away from the horn. Then I read a thread here on developing range wherein Rowuk recommended "Twenty-Seven Groups of Exercises for Cornet and Trumpet" by Earl D. Irons. I got lucky and found a used copy for a few dollars on eBay.

    I read and followed the instructions very carefully. I played the initial lip slur Irons recommends to learn "Tongue Control" for WEEKS until I got the hang of it. THEN I TOOK MY TIME WITH THE FIRST SET OF EXERCISES until I was ready to advance to the next set.

    I've had the book for about four months and I'm only up to the third set of exercises, groups 8, 9, and 10, but group 10 slurs up to high Bb (two spaces above the staff). I just about own that note now and I reach the occasional high B and C. It took me YEARS to achieve that range when I first began playing all those years ago.

    You can also look for "Advanced Lip Flexibilities" by Charles Colin but that book takes things a bit faster. I like the Irons book. JUST TAKE IT SLOWLY, READ AND UNDERSTAND THE INSTRUCTIONS and play that initial lip slur over and over again, many times until you get the feel of what Irons refers to as "Tongue Control". Then play that first set of exercises until you own it before moving on, and don't move on from any set of exercises until you're in total control of them and completely ready to do so.

    Range will come with time but DON'T RUSH IT. It takes a lot of practice and face time but it has to be intelligent practice. Rest as much as you play and practice for half an hour or so a couple of times a day if possible instead of one long practice session. Play some tunes in your range to keep it fun too. Around the time I bought the Irons book I bought a copy of the Bb Real Book and started thumbing through it, playing tunes that were in my range. Now that my range and endurance are increasing the wife says she can't believe what she's hearing coming out of my studio. :)
  4. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    bobd0 hits the nail right on the head when he says that range will come with time but don't rush it. I would add also, don't force it. Trying to play too high when you're not ready to can actually cause damage which can set your playing back quite a bit or possibly even ruin it. There's a famous case where Freddie Hubbard got into a high-notes battle with Jon Faddis (who's always had super high notes with loud volume) and Hubbard caused serious muscle damage to his embouchure which took him a long time to overcome.

    So if seasoned pros with superb chops can hurt themselves, think of what brand new players can do, and be patient. Find books like those bobd0 suggested and work steadily and carefully from them. I've used the Stamp Warm-ups, playing along with the included CD (Stamp himself insisted that his students play the exercises along with the piano for proper timing and intonation), and my upper range has steadily increased, as has the ease and comfort with which I can hit the higher notes.

    And congratulations, bobd0, on the compliments from your wife -- it's so important that we have supportive and encouraging people in our lives. I have an adult sax student whose been working with me for a few months now (not a beginner but he might as well be for his lack of good tone and control) and his wife won't let him practice more than an hour a day and she allows that only begrudgingly, the poor man. It's so wonderful when we play something that we think is nice and walk out of our practice area to comments of awe and wonder and compliments.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  5. willbarber

    willbarber Piano User

    Nov 22, 2008
    Medina, NY
    You're doing just fine for 5 months.

    After about I year of playing, I got to the lesson with a 4th line D on it, and just the one song ripped me up. You're probably a little older than I was, so you're doing great. Just stick to your normal practice regimen and you will be just fine.
  6. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    There is a sticky post at the top of this section that deals with high notes and octave names. If you read it, you will see that it only provides names for the 'C' notes plus one other example - 'High G' - so it still leaves some questions about the names of the rest of the notes and the notes in the staff (stave) are not given real names. It also does not use the term "middle" for any of the notes. But, at least it is a start at some sort of standardized reference scheme. There are other threads here, also, that deal with that question so it does not appear that there is one universally accepted method.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  7. bobd0

    bobd0 Piano User

    Jan 10, 2009
    Thank you, DHBailey. You are so right. The wife's compliments really mean so much to me. It's not easy to start over again after forty years. And I know pretty well when I sound good and when I don't, and so does the wife. ;)

    My wife and I met way back when we attended a high school for the arts, one of the very few in existence at the time, so we've known musicians and artists all our lives. Then, with our full support, our daughter followed her very early interest in musical theater and her talent has taken her to Broadway, so we've enjoyed many opportunities to meet some of the most incredible musicians and performers through her as well. (Almost makes all that conservatory tuition worth it!) :)

    Something I've noticed, from high school amateurs to Broadway professionals they all share a common thread, the basic human desire, the insatiable need for recognition, appreciation, and acceptance of their work. No matter how great their previous achievements they still remain fragile and unfulfilled until their peers or, far better, their audience accepts and thereby validates their current work.

    Few fields of human endeavor offer peaks as lofty or valleys as low as the arts, where a simple compliment becomes a priceless gift and a single thoughtless criticism can utterly destroy the will to carry on. I believe we all possess some level of talent that we can develop to its peak through dedication and practice. Please tell your student to keep at it. He is not alone. And those that criticize sometimes do so because they are scared to death to even make the attempt.
  8. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    check out arch tongue and hiss
  9. Kang-Ling

    Kang-Ling Mezzo Piano User

    Oct 8, 2009
    just play some music with two low notes

    that´s GREAT !
  10. daveblue222

    daveblue222 New Friend

    Aug 19, 2009
    thanks you all for the helpful advice :) has given me the encouragement to play even more. i will check out them books mentioned as well as i havent come across these yet. :play:

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