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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Range difficulties in the General forums; Ok, so I'll give a little bit of background so my dilemma can hopefully make more sense. This is not ...
  1. #1
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    Sep 2008

    Range difficulties

    Ok, so I'll give a little bit of background so my dilemma can hopefully make more sense. This is not me trying to brag about playing or being cocky, I simply want to provide as much info as I can so I can get the best advice. The information may help you all determine what has me utterly baffled.
    I am currently a junior in high school, and just turned 17. I have been playing trumpet since 7th grade.

    In high school, I started off playing second trumpet freshman year in the marching band, (mainly because we had all but 2 seniors playing first that year. I had the range, but we have a "seniority" type deal when it comes to 1st) and played a little of everything in our symphonic class.

    My sophomore year, I played first in the marching band with a solo of varying range; and also played lead in the jazz band ending on a high G below double C on our version of "In the Stone" for our last performance of the year, being graduation.

    This past year, I played first with 3 solos, one going up from a 3rd space B half valve slur up to 3rd line E. I also ended the 8 minute show on an 8 beat G below double C. Currently our jazz band is working on THE Maynard Ferguson arrangement of "Gonna Fly Now".

    Over the years, my range has increased fairly consistently. I've been getting a little better range every single year, until now. I have hit some sort of wall and I don't know or understand what's going on. My dilemma is that, for the life of me, I can't get above an Ab below double C. I'm using plenty of air because G's are somewhat easy to me, and when my lips aren't completely blown, I can play G's an any given point in a piece. However, anything above that G is super hard, and I just can't get any higher. The written music for GFN ends on a B below double C, and I'd like to be able to play the piece by June. I really need some help and advice as to what I could do to help my range. After being able to play G's that consistently, I would think that with more range work, I should be able to hit a double C. I'm been practicing for several months to keep bumping my range up, and I'm going nowhere. What are your all's suggestions?

  2. #2
    Forte User bagmangood's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Bostonish & San Francisco

    Re: Range difficulties

    There's a "wall" there
    It takes some people years to play above there
    Quite frankly, I wouldn't worry about it - it'll come with time if you have good overall habits and have a solid high G in high school
    Bb: Courtois 305 "Elite", Holton Al Hirt Special (~1966), Benge 3x with Upturned bell (1973)
    C: Bach C180-239 (Akwright conversion),
    Cornet: Conn Wonder (1900)
    Picc: Selmer Paris, ~1971

  3. #3
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    Oct 2003

    Re: Range difficulties

    Oh cry me a river - you can ONLY hit G above high C consistently? I've been playing trumpet for nearly 30 years and while I've played Gs on gigs, they were always done in low pressure situations where it didn't matter if I hit or missed. And believe me, there were times I missed. The highest note I ever went for in a performance and got was a G#/Ab. (I always liked to say Ab because it's a letter higher than G. ) These days I don't really go for it that much although occasionally I'll still fire it up in the practice room. Some days the G is there, sometimes it's not.

    Keep in mind that this range didn't really develop for me until I was about 27 years old. Up until then, my wall was high C/D, and although my current performance range isn't much above that, it's much more consistent now than it was in my late teens and early 20s.

    My advice: don't sweat it. Enjoy what you've got and let the rest of it develop without pushing it so hard. You've got more usable range than the largest percentage of people who pick up the horn so I don't see that as being anything bad.
    Patrick Gleason

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"
    "At my signal, unleash hell."
    - Maximus Decimus Meridius

  4. #4
    Pianissimo User Jfrancis's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Hannibal, MO

    Re: Range difficulties

    Started playing consistent double "c"s in my late thirties. Honestly it happened when I quit trying so hard. Don't push, wet the chops the chops and stay loose.

    And the old three tries and stop always applies.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2009
    Clarksburg, WV

    Re: Range difficulties

    just keep working and don't force it.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2010

    Re: Range difficulties

    Trickg, I think (if I'm reading correctly) the op is at G on top of the staff - below high C. Which is perfectly normal for high school students. I've struggled with range my whole career. I've been playing for about 20 years and I can only play to high C - two ledger lines above the staff - and even the B natural and C have only been consistent in the last two years.

    Yet, I've managed to find steady work and have lots of great playing opportunities. After a few years in college I accepted that I was never going to be a great high range player. So instead I focused on my tone and sight reading and I decided to try to treat every gig as if it was the most important one I ever had. I got really good at those three things and they have served me much better than justing having a great range would have.

    So like the others said - don't worry about it. Focus on the other (more important) aspects of your playing and the range will work itself out. Have fun and good luck!

  7. #7
    Piano User
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    Jul 2009
    Wiltshire, UK

    Re: Range difficulties

    why dont you give 'how to play a double top C in 10 minutes' ago? it teaches you to use a 'hi gear' and a 'low gear' Nick D has some good videos on his page and describes how it works and how he does it

    Nick Drozdoff :: Home

    I bought the book, tried it and gave up.... I could just about get a F, cant get the E to save my life tho :S just one of those things, just need to practice more

    another thing you could try is the Charles Collins lip flexibilitys book which yeah only goes upto a top A but I dont see why that wont help and you can always make up your own things

    also have a look here under the exercises section theres some good range work

    Welcome to the website of Erik Veldkamp

  8. #8
    Fortissimo User veery715's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Ithaca NY

    Re: Range difficulties

    I think the OP is naming pitches correctly - he refers to 3rd (ledger) line E, though has B incorrectly on the third space (it is 2nd).

    Bu the rest of advice is good - don't sweat it if you have such good range already. Play what you can and the rest will come in due time.
    Nothing is more contagious or tenacious than music. Once you are exposed it gets inside you and you can never get rid of it. It is also non-discriminating. It can be Ride of the Valkyries, In a Gadda da Vida, the Jeopardy 15 second thinking tune, your most disliked commercial jingle - it doesn't matter. Once triggered, off you go, like it or not.

  9. #9
    Moderator Utimate User rowuk's Avatar
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    Jun 2006

    Re: Range difficulties

    Name me one tune with a written Ab below double C.

    When our range stops at one note, the reason is almost always the same: that is the point where we finally squeeze the life out of our chops with (too much) pressure. The solution: evolution! Increase breath support and decrease pressure - incrementally. There is no quick fix for pressure and embouchure changes can wipe out your playing.

    Until your face is ready for more, develop other skills - better choruses, rhythm and the like. I have found the more you play with the flow of the music, the less you have to conquer it.

    Unless the arrangement calls for a high note at the end, playing it up an octave often just destroys the balance and sound of the final chord.

    If you are banking on a miracle, you probably will have something to apologize for. If you perform in your musically developped range, there will be a lot to be proud of. The choice is yours.
    Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

  10. #10
    Forte User
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    Nov 2009
    Near Portland, OR.

    Re: Range difficulties

    Frankly, I'd agree with Patrick when he says "cry me a river." So you have a solid G above high C, that's what, 4 ledger lines above the staff? As an amateur player who never touched an instrument in high school, I'm envious of that kind of range but also thinking that if you can't make interesting music with that, then you'll never have enough.

    Not everybody can be MF (in fact, so far, hardly anyone can imitate him) and why would you try anyway? Even if you can get those last few notes, you'll sound like yet another guy trying to do MF stuff and barely cutting it. If you can get them real good, you'll be a guy doing MF stuff. Why not try to do something more like your own stuff? It's not like you don't have the means.

    I know the tune is a proven crowd pleaser. Sure, you can try to please the crowd with a proven recipe that has been served many times before. Nothing wrong with that. But a real chef has to come up with new recipes, especially when cooking jazz/commercial type of dishes. Hollywood movies are boring because they are nothing but old recipes recooked over and over again. With the opportunity you have, perhaps it's worth getting together with your director and changing the approach. Try something less known but high quality, good music that is entirely within your range, so you can focus on playing it really well. You have plenty of high notes, why not use them for music making rather than to display them for their own sake?

    Just my 2 cents, as an Arban laboring adult learner.

    Selmer Radial, Bb.
    Yamaha YTR4420E, C.
    1930 Couesnon cornet

    A mind that masters the breath
    Creates strength (Lao-Tzu).

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