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Trumpet Discussion Discuss "Range connection" skills in the General forums; I'm an amature self-taught adult trumpeter and starting a year ago I could hardly blow the second line G. Over ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    "Range connection" skills

    I'm an amature self-taught adult trumpeter and starting a year ago I could hardly blow the second line G. Over a year of regular practice, mostly with the MP only I now can hit and hold the staff-top G on the trumpet and the middle C is quite usable now.

    I notice that I can set my embouchure for a certain sub-range, of maybe an octave, maybe fifth and be able to control the sound within that range but it's hard to cover the whole range with one emouchure setting.

    What skills do I need to acquire and what types of exercises should I practice to feel myself comfortable from the low C up to G an octave and a fifth higher? This is what I think could be called "range connection" skills.
    I'll appreciate practical examples of the exercises and drills.

  2. #2
    Mezzo Piano User leftmid7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Franklin, TN

    Re: "Range connection" skills

    Caruso Method exercises would really help you out there. I found this transcript from a guy that studied with him. A really good read with even more suggestions.

    Carmine Caruso - the master teacher
    one that works with his hands - laborer
    one that works with hands and head - craftsman
    one that works with hands, head and heart - artist

  3. #3
    Forte User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Clarksburg, WV

    Re: "Range connection" skills

    Doing lip slurs.
    Make sure they are soft, clean (not smeary or blatty) and go as low and as high as you can.
    Pick a valve (they are 7 combinations) and slur quietly and delicately for a minute. The combinations are:
    Just a minute on each valve every day will make you a stronger player. Most people do these slur in quarter or 8th notes
    Also, read Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment. Make sure you are not applying a lot of pressure when you go up and reducing the pressure when you go down.
    As for breathing:
    Watch Urban Agnas videos on "Flow" and read rowuk's Circle of breath.

  4. #4
    Fortissimo User Brekelefuw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Re: "Range connection" skills

    To connect my range, I use the method from Don Johnson's book called low G extensions.
    Play a G major arpeggio going from 2nd line G down to low G and then play the scale back up slowly. The do it again but play the scale to a B. repeat to a D. then E. then you do it and connect the 2 octave scale. Then add one note each time you play the scale from low G. Hold the final note in each scale. Make sure each note you play speaks.
    It really helped me.
    Also, do a slight decrescendo on the way down, and a crescendo on the way up.
    After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. ~Aldous Huxley
    If at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' until you do suck-a-seed. ~ Clark Terry

    Trumpet Maker

  5. #5
    Pianissimo User
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    Sep 2009
    Suburban Boston

    Re: "Range connection" skills

    You might also want to take 1-2 lessons (or more) with a good teacher to make sure you are not self-teaching yourself bad habits.
    If you can read this, you're not practicing

  6. #6
    New Friend
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Redlands, CA

    Re: "Range connection" skills

    Caruso is really good, if you have the time, the patience, and the commitment. Personally I would recommend a healthy dose of lip flexibility exercises. The Bai Lin flexibility book worked wonders for me. My only criticism of the exercises is that they get really intense, really fast; stick to the first one or two for a long while.

    You should also try to take a lesson with a good teacher, as Asher S suggested, or at the very minimum record yourself and then listen back.

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

    Re: "Range connection" skills

    A "set" means that there is pressure/tension to keep the set. That is often the method of DIY players. Most often, the breathing is also twisted out of shape to match the "set".

    The first thing that needs to get developed is BREATHING, then long tones and lip slurs without tonguing. Basically you need to get some formal training to show you everything that you missed on your own.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  8. #8
    Pianissimo User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: "Range connection" skills

    Rowuk, you are undoubtedly a great expert on this forum but could you please expalin me what those people mean then:

    - In his free trumpet book 'Sound the Trumpet' Jonathan Harnum (he's at least a professional) writes: “The set of the embouchure means the way your chops are positioned for a particular note. For example, higher in the range the embouchure has a different set than the notes low in the range. Using the set for a low note while trying to play high will negatively affect your range and endurance.”

    - Nick Drozdoff in 'A Cyber interview with Nick Drozdoff' says that: "The biggest thing that I felt troubled many students was a tendency to lock their embouchure open - too big all the time. They had trouble concieveing of the idea of allowing things to move as they covered the range of the horn."

    To me it sounds as if both writers were against one set of embouchure and suggested that the embouchure should change when moving up or down the range thus creating a number of embouchure sets.

    I also understand it depends on how you look at this process and it also can create confusion. Assuming that per Jonathan Harnum and Nick Drozdoff the embouchure changes throughout the range, if one goes up or down the whole usable range he will make a number of continuous adjustments to fit the current notes. In this sense there is no "embouchure set" of course but there are a number of adjustments to a flexible embouchure.

    However if one breaks the whole range down into a few sub-ranges and plays each sub-range separately in any order then according to this principle there have to be a number of embouchure "sets" for each sub-range only the adjustments that were constantly made in the first case are already pre-set for a starting note of the particular sub-range.

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