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Trumpet Discussion Discuss New Trumpeter Question in the General forums; I have searched the internet for a straight forward answer on how long it takes to be able to hit ...
  1. #1
    New Friend BigBandBandy's Avatar
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    Mar 2009

    New Trumpeter Question

    I have searched the internet for a straight forward answer on how long it takes to be able to hit higher notes on trumpet and no one seems to be able to answer that. I have only been playing for about 3 months and I can hit the A above middle C. Sometimes I can hit the B and C above middle C but not very often or with any consistency. I know to play long notes and practice alot and do lip slurs and play on just the mouthpiece etc... I just want a ballpark figure on approximately how long it will take (with lots of practice of course) before I will be able to at least play the whole staff (up to the E or F at the top of the staff). Just to have some sort of frame of reference, a year, 6 months, 2 years, whatever! Can someone give me a best or worst case scenario? I'm not impatient, just curious. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Nov 2007

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    Progress is sped up greatly with a GOOD private teacher. That being said, you have to do certain things to maintain, improve, and extend range, as well as all other aspects of playing the trumpet. Range is not the only consideration in playing the trumpet. Playing the trumpet is not one dimensional.A ballpark figure would be 3-5 years if you want numbers, building on skills that you acquire as you progess and mature as a player.

    Pete Grimaldi

  3. #3
    Mezzo Piano User
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    Jan 2009

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    Well currently my band director is giving me private lessons to get my playing to professional level. I have been playing for 6 years plus, but within forty minutes he got my range extended very quickly by explaining the theory behind high notes. i could scream up to a G above a C, but it wasnt clean. My muscles and embouchere were previously built but within forty minutes he got me slurring all the way up to high c, no pressure, not much effort either. I agree with s.coomer find a good teacher and you will learn very quickly
    Also play a lot of songs that stick up in the high range it helped me a lot

  4. #4
    New Friend minus1's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Albany, Ga

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    It was really funny to hear Bobby Shew at the Western Carolina University Trumpet Festival start his master class by answering the most popular question he gets. "Mr. Shew, how do you hit the double C?" I am not going to sit and even try and repeat everything that he said, but it lead to an amazing insight on his perception about how the right equipment for the job is extremely important, and what works for one person definitely will not work everyone. I think that most of us who teach masterclasses or do clinics will say that range is a very popular topic with young players, if not all age groups! For a player who has only been playing for 3 months I must say that there are quite a number of things that are much more important than trying to know exactly when the day is going to come that you are going to be able to play high notes in a particular range on the trumpet. All of the range in the world is useless if you do not have another myriad of skills to go with the range in order to produce a quality product. All too often, I find that players whose main concern or curiosity surrounds range catch themselves struggling once the realization hits them that there is so much more to the trumpet. The "if I could go back and do things differently" sets in and it can be very disheartening.

    I recently heard the local college big band here in Albany, GA last Saturday and the "lead" trumpet player would only project the notes above high C and everything else was lacking any sort of quality substance (tone, style, phrasing, ect...). When he took a solo it was loud and obnoxiously high for a few beats then back into the basement with no sort of musical phrase being presented. Any experienced player could tell he was using a very shallow mouthpiece that allowed him to play high, but at what risk? No finesse, blastissimo was his main dynamic of choice, and it really kept the ensemble from achieving a great balanced sound and distracted anyone who enjoys "quality" music. After the concert, one of my private students and I were walking back the car and the young man couldn't wait to tell my student (a kid he had taught one lesson to over a year ago) how much of a "beast" he was, and that he "owns this thang"! It was embarrassing to see this kid honestly believe that he has arrived and that what he just played was sheer genius. Humble players let the horn do the talking and let the audience do the praising.
    The right equipment for your body make-up will help to attain high notes, but in the early stages of a players development your equipment should not be anything extremely specific to do just that one thing. A pea-shooter to scream or a soup bowl to give you the darkest sound. It was already touched on earlier that "AIR" is the most important factor in all of this talk about range. It is great to hear you using words like "consistency" and "lots of practice". Just remember that the quality of practice always wins out over quantity of practice. A teacher will be able to ensure that you are on a path where you will first learn how to produce a great tone that is properly supported by a correct air stream. You will find that once you start to master the air stream that it will effect all areas of your playing. Your tone will be better, your phrasing will become more mature, your endurance will greatly improve, and even your range will improve! All of these things will improve in a correct and proper manner which will keep you from going back and having to undo habits that are wrong! It takes more time than I'd like to recall to undo bad habits if you just take the time and learn to do it the right way the first time around. That is my main concern with younger players concentrating on playing high first and foremost, they create so any bad habits searching for shortcuts or play high quick methods that they really set themselves up for many frustrating hours in the years ahead. Been there, done that, and have a closet full of those t-shirts, and it wasn't until my sophomore year of high school that I finally learned that there is so much more to the trumpet than just playing high! Yeah I could play high, but I couldn't improvise, I used so much tension and stress that any semblance of finesse or tone quality didn't last long once I had all that blood flooding into my embouchure! Once I bought into the concept of using air and not muscle to be my foundation it was amazing what a difference it made to all facets of my playing. But getting my body to except this new concept was borderline madness because I had been doing things wrong for so long that it was the opposite of the way I always did things. I wish I would have had access to a site like this at your age, that way I "may" have been able to save myself some years of frustration. I constantly have to practice with a mirror to ensure I am not physically manipulating anything in order to play higher. How much do you have to Change to get more Range? The range will come along with everything else depending on how much you put in to your development. I hope that what I've said helps you learn from some of my mistakes and those of some others who apparently on the same path I was on. The good news is Saturday morning the director of that big band is going to let me work with them and hopefully find a way to get through to some of those who have that "range is everything mentality". He's tried, but to no avail! Good luck in your search for a good teacher, the sooner you find one, the sooner you stop creating those bad habits we all naturally make without the watchful eye of an experienced and knowledgeable teacher! Keep up posted on your development!

  5. #5
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Jan 2009

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    The Clarke Studies book will have you playing the G above staff by lesson 13.

  6. #6
    Mezzo Forte User
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    Nov 2003
    Dubai, UAE

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    The amount of time it takes is totally dependent on your natural talent, committment to playing the trumpet and the quality of the guidance you receive.


    Last edited by camelbrass; 03-27-2009 at 01:05 AM.

  7. #7
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    In this situation, trumpet is very much like sports. No one would dream of asking how long does it take to learn to negotiate a 2 meter high jump, 4 minute mile or anything else. Young people interested in sports just start playing and the group dynamics of the team determine whether they are accepted - or soon look for something else.

    I am pretty tough as a teacher and demand quite a bit. My beginner students can normally slur up to C above the staff within a year UNLESS they get braces during that time. After the braces, we work on other things. I have not found a recipe for clean range with braces yet. It seems to be more dependent on how well the player can deal with the discomfort.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  8. #8
    New Friend
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    Jan 2009
    Budapest, Hungary

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    it took me 2,5 years to slur up to C above the staff

  9. #9
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    Jan 2009
    Clarksburg, WV

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    That is a very hard question to answer. Why?
    I have no idea of:
    a)your work ethic,
    b)If you have a routine of practice,
    c)how you mechanically play
    d)how old you are
    A good teacher would be of great assistance however,
    Here's some stuff that might help:
    Clark Terry's How to play the Trumpet (VHS)
    Trumpet Secrets by John Thomas (DVD)
    Rafeal Mendez Collection (DVD)

    As for reading:
    Pops' site on how to play high
    DiMartinos' site on air use
    Doc' site on warm ups
    Wynton Marsalis site on Daily Practice Routines
    Rafeal Mendez's text on trumpet playing (great book!!)

    For playing:
    Chas Colin's lip flexibilities
    and (believe it or not) playing along with the radio or your favorite CDs

    As for your original question, it has no answer that can be given to you. It is a question only you can answer with hard work. Why? everyone is different and develop at different rates.
    Set a goal (ex. high C) and work daily toward it and write it down by using a scale.
    Ex: 2/1/09 write the highest note you can play
    2/2/09 write the highest note you can play
    2/3/09 write the highest note you can play
    See how much you've expanded your range at the end of 3 months

  10. #10
    Piano User BergeronWannabe's Avatar
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    Feb 2007

    Re: New Trumpeter Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Markie View Post
    Chas Colin's lip flexibilities
    This really helped me...I noticed progress in a month. Everyone is different, but with help from
    a teacher and dedicated practice you can achieve any goal you want.
    Just for reference, when I started this two years ago in high school (freshman)
    I could barely play a Bb below high C- now I can play a comfortable F above high C (F# on good days)
    Have fun,

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