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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by 1stTrumpet, Aug 26, 2010.
Do you all have any exercises or advice to give?
Learn to center your tone. Don't overblow.
I find I get more support up high when I breath from my lower diaphragm.. actually more support in general! Make sure your sholders dont move up but your gut moves out!
Play in the upper register more, trying to keep the volume at mf or quieter, to concentrate on air-flow. Find simple song books such as Alfred's Tunes for Cornet Technic, book 1, and play everything up an octave. As you play more in the upper register, it will become stronger. For many of us (me included) we don't play enough in the upper register on a regular basis, so when our music calls for that range we aren't nearly as strong as we are in the lower registers. Think of how strong your tone has become in the middle register and compare it to how weak it was when you started. But 90% of your trumpet playing is done on the staff, so those notes have become very strong, while the extremes have remained weaker.
So make up for it, and force yourself to play in the extremes more in order to give your body time to develop the musculature to do it well and to give your breathing mechanism time to coordinate what is needed so you can do it easily.
And don't ignore the pedal range -- both extremes are important for all around better playing, even if you never play a note below written low F# in public, practice so that you can play chromatically down to pedal C, and further, if possible.
Here's some stuff I located in one of my files. Hope it helps:
Wanna Play High Notes? How to Keep From Losing Your Footing
Printed in the July 1993 issue of Down Beat.
An article by Maynard Ferguson.
It seems that all beginning trumpeters, as soon as they can get a sound, have the irresistible urge to see how high they can play. When you apply the upper register to jazz improvisation, the goal is not to lose any of your articulation. The sound, attack, and release are very different if you are predominantly a lead player in a physically demanding situation. It is difficult for a great power lead player to also develop into a great jazz player-but some do.
What we excel at is closely knit to what we spend our time at. If most of your performance and practice time is in the middle and lower registers, that is predominantly the type of player you will be, because, artistically, that is where you enjoy the instrument the most. But for those of you who yearn to improve your upper register, you need to extend it in the same way that a great opera singer extends his or her upper register. Screech opera singers are not much in demand. Do not allow yourself to get tagged as being the "screech" trumpeter.
Something I did in the beginning to improve my range was to play beautiful melodies that I was familiar with and liked. I would advise that the ballad you choose should have an elongated melody. In doing so you are getting rid of some of those boring, long-tone exercises this trumpet player always hated.
Then practice playing that same melody a minor third higher - sometimes with vibrato, sometimes without. Stop playing as soon as you lose any of the beauty that you had in the lower key. The minute it sounds strained, stop and rest. Then play it again, still up the minor third, until this feels totally natural and lyrical. Eventually, take it up a fifth, always without increasing the intensity. A very important thing happens: as you begin to think of this new key as normal, you have elevated the center of your range both mentally and physically.
Miles Davis once asked me what he was doing wrong in the upper register. "Your legs," I told him.
"Shit," he said, walking away. He asked me again later, and I explained what I meant. Watch a great weightlifter or Pavarotti doing his big numbers - both are exerting great energy. Their legs are firmly planted, and they are balanced equally on each one. To keep the energy flowing, one should be standing and sitting properly.
As soon as you use the expression, "I have to warm my lip up," you've already made a mistake. It's body-and-mind coordination you get going first, and then breath control. I suggest simple Hatha yoga breathing exercises. The exercises both relax and warm you up. Coordination is no good when it is attached to nervousness. Choose only the exercises that are comfortable to you and, most importantly, that you learn from a Hatha yoga teacher.
After a certain amount of knowledge and technique has been achieved, the artist in you takes control, and at that point you become a musician. But this instrument that you play is really you. You study, practice, listen, and devote most of your waking hours to improving your performance. The important thing to ask yourself is: "What do I want to sound like?" not "Who do I want to sound like?" The sounds that are in your heart and your head are the sounds that will come out of your instrument.
Wait, Markie, Miles Davis came to YOU to ask you what he was doing wrong? WHOA! I would have told him to quit smoking! =P (If he still smoked at that time, that is.) That said, Miles Davis is amazing; I think he sounds great in the upper register; he's just not made to be an Arturo or Maynard.
There could be many answers to your question, indeed, 1stTrumpet. What I have to do is make sure I always give good breath support whenever I go into the upper range, like Outkastah said. For instance, I'm a second trumpet in my college band and sometimes I have to do a big leap up to a high C or around there; if I don't support it, I either miss the note or I sound crappy. But I'm just fine and can play them loud and clear, as long I focus on getting good, deep breaths and mentally prepare myself for high stuff. I used to wonder why I played high stuff in jazz band better than in concert band in the past... I believe it was because I habitually supported my playing in jazz band, but not in concert band due to not having to play in the upper register all the time.
Learn to support your notes regardless of what range you're playing in, and most certainly do NOT set your embouchure in a "high playing mode"; just keep it normal and make it stay the same regardless of your register.
Just relying on good breathing all the time when playing is really important.
Yeah, right! (Look again - Markie has a quote from an article - it was Maynard Ferguson talking.)
The biggest misconception about playing in the upper register is that it takes a lot of air,it doesn't. It does take more compressed air up high than it does in the middle or low register. That having been said ,most try to play too loud up high,dhbaily makes some very good points.The rule of thumb that most pros use,is to never play at more than 80% of your top volume in any register.This not only helps projection and tone,but also aids your endurance.
I hate to say this, but a Bach Megatone isn't really the best mouthpiece for projecting in the upper register.
What Al Innella said. The result of taking good breaths is not merely more air, but you have better control over your air.
This makes a lot of sense.