Trumpet Discussion Discuss Range Help! in the General forums; Hey Manny,
I have a huge problem. A week ago my high school started band camp. We have an extremely ...
I have a huge problem. A week ago my high school started band camp. We have an extremely challenging show in store, pushing the first trumpets to our range limits. Unfortumately, it seems that I have lost my range. The first day, I came in with a high E range, playing the first day with ease. My lips were tired after the first day, however, and so I decided to take the music down the next day. Now its the second week, and I can barely play a high Bb. I'm playing the exact same way that I played all summer and on the first day, but now the high Bb is coming out fuzzy. I'm trying not to put pressure on my lips, but it isn't coming out. I'm playing on a Bach 3C mouthpiece. Do you have any advice Manny?
And BTW Manny, I hope you had a great time on your trip.
Well, my friend, we've all been there, being in a situation where more is asked of us than we're able to give, at times.
There are a few keys for you to remember:
1) You are so worn out physically and mentally that taking a full breath is easy to forget to do. If you want to remember what a full breath was like do the following: as you read this, take a nice full breath. Hold it and notice where you're tense as you hold your breath. Drop the tension from those places and sip in some more air. Keep repeating that until you're so full you can't take any more then let it go. Wait a few seconds and take a breath again, trying to get to that full place again. The only point to all that is to remind you how much you should be trying to haul in when you breathe. Try to remember to fill up in a relaxed manner every time you play. It's important.
2) When you feel tired, play as musically as you can and play less loudly. Really crank up the vibrato and that sense of making each note into a pearl of light sound that rings like a little bell.
3) If you're playing in a band I'm sure you're doubling parts so make sure you're partner is doing his/her share so you can play easily.
4) My friend Patrick Hession who plays lead for Maynard Ferguson advocates flapping your lips like a horse to reduce the lactic acid build-up. Give a try when you finish playing or when you're on break. However, this is not a substitue for any kind of musical pratcice. it's totally a physical thing.
5) Take a couple of aspirin if you aren't allergic and ice your chops at the end of the day and you'll feel better.
Just know we all go through this at some point. Let your head save your lip, to quote Earnest Williams.
Thanks a lot Manny. Sorry I didn't say this earlier, I had more band camp fun to attend to. And I also discovered that it wasn't really my lips...a piece of lint or something got lodged in the lead pipe, cutting the air in half, and the other half that used to go into the horn out the sides of my lips. Once that was gone though, the first note I hit was double G . Guess that's a lesson that you should ALWAYS check your instrument for dirt . I will always keep your advice in mind whenever I'm straining to hit notes. Thank you.
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