What does high playing feel like for you?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by mkmtrumpeter, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. mkmtrumpeter

    mkmtrumpeter New Friend

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    Jun 17, 2009
    Colorado
    I've heard a LOT of different theories on how to play high with a good sound. I'm not necessarily struggling, my high range is coming along, slowly but surely. I just want to hear what you as a player visualize or think about when you play high. I've heard things as serious or as funny as...

    ~Opening up your throat and letting the air flow as fast as possible.
    ~Feeling like your taking a massive dump
    ~Tightening your stomach to create more pressure.
    ~Loosening your stomach to allow more air to enter your lungs.

    All really different... that massive dump one totally isn't a joke haha one guy at my school says that's how he plays high. How do you play good quality high notes?
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Mary Kate,
    the key to playing lead is getting your rhythm together first. Fighting the groove will wear you down faster than anything else.

    The second part is getting a decent high register with a suitable sound. the high part is easy for the serious. Add plenty of pianissimo slurs up to the stratosphere to your daily bread. I say pianissimo to keep from using pressure, the number one enemy. That soft practicing keeps our lips supple and that makes playing much more efficient.

    Breathing is also a big part of lead. The notes that don't float on your air, need raw muscle strength to come out. We only have limited face strength so air is a MUCH better option! Go swimming twice a week!

    The last part is getting the right "commercial" sound. Lead Mouthpieces and lighter horns don't increase range, but they do help us to get that "right" sound with less effort, leaving more energy to play. I generally will recommend going one size shallower (from a 7C to a 7D for instance) to brighten the sound up.

    It is possible to keep the electric instruments in the band turned down a bit so that you do not have to fight for your position. Many pro bands amplify the trumpets, allowing them to take a much more relaxed approach.
     
  3. mkmtrumpeter

    mkmtrumpeter New Friend

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    Jun 17, 2009
    Colorado
    All great advice, rowuk... believe me, I had a glorious revelation this last year that *gasp* using air works much better than using what my professor refers to as the "trumpet register key" (i.e. your biceps, which is no good at all...). I also never thought about swimming as a good way to increase air flow and lung capacity. Good plan.

    More than advice on how to play high, I was wondering what you, personally, visualize when you play high notes. Do you just think about that big, thick airstream or do you have some off-kilter way of thinking about it?
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think, I play. In the practice room I build habits. On stage, I just recall them. It has to be a no brainer on stage - you are making music, not thinking about playing high notes. I breath in time. I only gasp if I have NO time. My chops are a habit - way above high C.

    Hundreds of repetitions build habits, thousands build consistency and hundreds of thousands build proficiency. This is the math to success.

    Actually, I get goosebumps when everything is flowing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  5. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Like wow, dudes and dutettes, I haven't played high since the 70's (or was that like in the 80's?) and it felt pretty wierd, but sounded out of this world....

    Oh, you mean high as in upper-register playing!

    Like rowuk, I go after the sound. When I get it (while practicing) I'll observe what different body parts feel like (hence the VULGANO RAY OF POWER, which I've posted on before--a search should turn it up, and uhh, I have better luck using google and including "trumpetmaster.com" in the search. Aha, here it is: http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f131/breathing-40529-2.html#post379527)

    The other trick feeling is to take a falsetto approach to playing (easier for us guys, but there is a female falsetto). Go for the sound first, then observe the dynamics.

    Have fun!
     
  6. Bear

    Bear Forte User

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    "What does playing high feel like?"

    Wonderful! A strong open sound, but flexible and able to color sound and dynamics. Yes, you must be able to play high WITH DYNAMICS! Yes, you CAN play a high G pp-FFF. To me, the feeling of the compressed airstream flowing thrugh my chops really feels like it's relaxing. Not stressing out my embouchure... Does that make sense?

    "What is lead playing?"

    Lead playing is not high notes. Yes, in most of todays charts, you must possess a high G. Lead playing is having accurate time, rhythmn, articulation and sensitivity to the music. It's about not being a jerk and being able to lead a band with only what you play. It's about being consistent in your styles. It's about... get the idea?
     
  7. mkmtrumpeter

    mkmtrumpeter New Friend

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    Jun 17, 2009
    Colorado
    Yay playing high with dynamics! One of my favorite things to do to keep my range fresh is just play as high as I can as soft as I can... my C out of staff sounds really pretty at pianissimo, and it feels SO good when I get it just right. I love playing high and soft :)
     
  8. Trumptacular

    Trumptacular New Friend

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    1. I think of air going into my horn like a freight train: huge, unstoppable, inevitable, and instantaneously fast. No acceleration from 0 to 60, but rather BANG right from the get go!

    2. A very clear crisp attack is essential. Whatever your thoughts about tonguing, a "pinging" quality to the front end of the sound is a must in the high register, no matter the volume.

    3. Wilmer Wise's comments about timing and articulation have helped me a great deal. For me that means subdivision during the rests right before the entrance, than tonguing precisely in time for the entrance.
     
  9. ltg_trumpet

    ltg_trumpet Mezzo Piano User

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    Jan 21, 2009
    i would have to agree with rowuk once again, when i play, iplay, the notes come as music, the difference however is that i begin feeling the wear of the high notes faster than rowuk who has been playing alot longer and has built his beastly face, i try to stay as relaxed as possible, but when the wear starts, i just try harder which ends bad... lol...
     
  10. skankin'dan

    skankin'dan Pianissimo User

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    Mar 14, 2007
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    Actually I heard that too. I'm not quite sure how to explain it correctly, but if you incorporate all your muscles around your stomach and lungs (including though near your bowels) you will get better support.

    But pretty much what rowuk said is the way to go, lets not kid ourselves with this crapping thing.
     

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