Upper Register drills

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Trooper, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Trumpet Trooper

    Trumpet Trooper New Friend

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    Dec 16, 2007
    Texas
    Hey, guys and gals.

    I've not been in an organized group in awhile and my gigs are mostly honor guard related, ie Taps and National Anthem. I'm not playing in front of people more than 5 or 6 times each month. The rest of my playing is solely practice.........scales, tonguing exercises, and technical work.

    Does anyone have some suggestions on how to help build my upper register?

    I've played most of my life on a Bach 5B or 7C mouthpiece (high school and college). These mouthpieces have not been really helpful in facilitating higher notes. I've recently added a Bach 3C and a 7D. My stamina is better with a 3C and my upper register is greatly enhanced with the 7D.

    What are your suggestions? What kind of drills do you practice and/or how much do you rely solely on the mouthpiece for upper register work?
     
  2. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    I'll let the more experienced heads say something more intelligent,
    but one thing:
    range shouldn't change too deeply from one piece to the next. It may be a little easier, but it shouldn't be the mouthpiece, its the player
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    TT,
    the first thing that you need to attend to is your signature. Louder, faster, higher..... is the definitive way NOT to do it. The second, for me VERY disappointing thing is that you make no mention of practicing MUSIC, rather only scales........ All of that technical stuff is ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS without musical context. When I adjudicate competitions, I hear the results of this type of approach: nice tone, range, technique and no groove or soul. Young players do get praised for their technical prowess, but do NOT get enough criticism for lack of musicality. That is really tough to bang into someones head after 5 - 10 years of misdirection. I often get a great deal of heat here at TM for lack of political correctness because I really dig in on amusicality. To be honest, if more attention were paid to musicality, we would be harder to replace with a keyboard or midi stream! High notes without musical context constitute NOISE POLLUTION!

    What needs to happen to play high? The lips need to vibrate faster. How do we accomplish this? Get the pressure off of the upper lip first, get our breathing together second and then develop a custom daily routine that matches our playing but does not beat our face up.

    It is helpful to define what type of high note playing that we need as there is a difference between a smooth classical tone and a white hot lead trumpet sound.

    I think most self help attempts at developing range fail because if the player hasn't been there, they do not know what to look out for. Most try and take high notes to the public WAY too early and end up mashing their chops up. We need brains not brawn to do this right!

    My upper octave training is Clarke technical studies up an octave - but still pianississimo and Irons lip flexibilities, also as stress free and relaxed as possible. My practice routine is breathing, long tones, a couple of slurs, then tunes (mostly what is coming up next in my concert schedule), THEN technical exercizes and chop builders. I NEVER practice music on chops beat up by heavy duty exercizes - EVER. I personally feel one should NEVER comprimize music.
     
  4. Trumpet Trooper

    Trumpet Trooper New Friend

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    I understand where you are coming from. The musical side needs a great amount of attention. However......I still like louer, faster, higher. I've spent a lot of time in pep bands and the like.....I like the mob. But, I enjoy the refined too.

    I appreciate the practice tips. Thanks.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Then just beat your chops into submission. Like every other trumpet player on the planet that brick wall is just waiting for you to bang your face into it. Some never do find the way back however.................

    Intelligence is the only SOLUTION. Believe me, a period of less will amount to much, much more. Controlled, constructive practice will give you the power that you are looking for. The mob gives you everything that will prevent your improvement. The choice is yours!

    In several cases I have even told my students not to perform during the building process (they were actually given no choice as I was not interested in wasting their and my time). The 3- 6 months of proper habit building turned their playing around however.
     
  6. den111s

    den111s New Friend

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    Mar 24, 2008
    UK
    Hi guys & ROWUK

    I like your sound advice and perhaps you can comment on my situation please.

    I am a newbie to Trumpetmaster.

    You will see from below my range of instruments, which I have managed to get together since re-kindling the interest again after a 12 year break, due to career demands.

    I am very interested to share your experiences and enjoy reading items on the forums. I currently play lead trumpet with an orchestra and a concert band.

    In general I use :-

    Shilke 14a4a in the full range of Trumpets Bb, Eb and Piccolo Bb/A
    Shilke 14F4 in the Flugel

    I generally I find changing from Trumpet to Flugel is easy.

    The need to change between trumpets Bb & Eb in the same evening is important in my orchestral playing and occasionally to emulate french horn using the flugel, so this is why I have tended to stick with my current set up.

    You will see my post asking about GR experiences, I am trying to fine tune my current situation without radical departure and thought this might be the way to go. I've tried Bachs but found intonation between registers poor.

    If I am sticking with the Bb trumpet all evening then the 14a4a is fine, even on the X3L large bore Schilke, but I find once I change my embouchure and back pressure by playing the Shilke Eb or the Pic Bb, then it is almost impossible to get the embouchure settled back again on the Schilke X3L Bb. This is obviously due to temporary bodily change.

    Ideally I would like the E3L Eb to blow a bit more openly like the X3L, a little more body at the bottom end of the X3L but no loss of intonation in the upper range.

    Any idea's please. ???
     
  7. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

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    Well; Robin you can lead a horse to water eh?

    Great advice; very much like what I was given by my teacher.

    I think also that having a destination in mind is not a bad idea either. When setting a goal it seems to me that if you have no destination how will you know when your goal is achieved.

    For me that was easy; I rarely see reprotire that is higher then "D" above high "C".

    So I knew that in order to be able to play what I needed to I needed to be solid up to "E" above high "C" make sense?

    I don't aspire to play much higher then that as I just have no reason to! I guess I subscribe to your school of thought!
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    den111,
    I am also just one of the guys!
    The problem switching horns is probably not your body. It does not surprise me that the 14A4A in the Eb and picc behaves MUCH differently than in the Schilke.
    The 14A4A is one of the most efficient mouthpieces ever built. That means 3 things, the horn/mouthpiece will tell your chops what to do, you will have to learn to cooperate or suffer just like you are right now and you will not have infinite flexibilty in tone.

    My suggestion? A Schilke 14B at least for the Eb, maybe the picc too, and an outside chance for all three.............

    I almost NEVER recommend mouthpieces, but in your case I can see where the technology of the 14A4a and the playing characteristics of any Eb (including the Schilkes) that I have ever played would be a serious problem. The 14B is slightly less efficient (you are very much more in control but have to work a bit harder), a bit darker in sound and it feels VERY, VERY similar to the 14A4A. This is the least invasive "fix".
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    You can also have a reliable G above high C in a month or two without twisting your face around. You will need a couple of hours a day of practice time and a bit of serious one on one coaching. This really does not work in a DIY fashion.

    If we are playing right, our high range doesn't just cut out, it just starts thinning out when we have reached a limit in lip tension, breath support or embouchure technique. By learning to play more efficiently, we can extend our range just by replacing a bad habit with a good one. That makes our overall playing more relaxed in any register, even if we have no need to laser drill window panes. The start is usually getting the pressure off of the upper lip, then improving breathing and finally a minor change to the daily routine.

    I have 2 10 year old students that have been taking lessons for only a year. They both have solid high Cs and use the same longtone/slur routine that I do. It is not hard, it just needs a cooperative attitude, some time and dedication.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  10. jazz9

    jazz9 Piano User

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    Dec 5, 2007
    Chilhowie, VA
    It took me a good 3 years of playing before I even touched high C; if only I had been more motivated and had a good teacher...
     

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