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Comeback players and high notes



 
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Bstradivarius
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:05 am    Post subject: Comeback players and high notes Reply with quote

Okay, I get it! The trumpeter has put the horn down for a while. He starts working on Schlossberg or something else to develop the upper register. He throws in some scales and Technical studies. Maybe some Charlier or Arban.

My pet peeve is his measure of progress: that he can now play high notes, higher than he ever has before. What he does not realize is he is targeting the most unhealthy aspect of trumpet playing. He should be focusing on flexibility, musicality, and intonation. He should be working on developing his endurance through thoughtful exercises with plenty of rest. He should be seeing Improvement in the way he is able to play through his diligence. To me, high notes are the most worthless measure of success. It means the player has become the stereotypical trumpet player. He assumes that the audience is going to scream louder if he can play higher, like Mendez. But in using that as a measure of success, you have lost the entire purpose of playing music.

Listen to what Maurice Andre and others can do between low C and high C. Then you will see what the true measure of skill is. Target this. Don't give yourself a blackout by working too hard on high notes. it causes brain damage...
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USCGRick
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said! Amen.
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Tenor Horn Fellow
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:12 am    Post subject: Re: Comeback players and high notes Reply with quote

Bstradivarius wrote:
Okay, I get it! The trumpeter has put the horn down for a while. He starts working on Schlossberg or something else to develop the upper register. He throws in some scales and Technical studies. Maybe some Charlier or Arban.

My pet peeve is his measure of progress: that he can now play high notes, higher than he ever has before. What he does not realize is he is targeting the most unhealthy aspect of trumpet playing. He should be focusing on flexibility, musicality, and intonation. He should be working on developing his endurance through thoughtful exercises with plenty of rest. He should be seeing Improvement in the way he is able to play through his diligence. To me, high notes are the most worthless measure of success. It means the player has become the stereotypical trumpet player. He assumes that the audience is going to scream louder if he can play higher, like Mendez. But in using that as a measure of success, you have lost the entire purpose of playing music.

Listen to what Maurice Andre and others can do between low C and high C. Then you will see what the true measure of skill is. Target this. Don't give yourself a blackout by working too hard on high notes. it causes brain damage...


High notes are not everything.

But they ARE something.

If a player does not have good range,
that is an indication that there is something wrong with his embouchure.

A player should not just learn to live with that embouchure problem.
The player should strive to fix it.

When I was in junior high school,
I mashed the mouthpiece into my face and just barely played top-line "F".

When I was 50, I hit my first Double C because I finally fixed my main embouchure problems.

Playing high notes is not a useful skill for most payers.
But playing high notes is a useful daily thermometer that indicates that everything is OK.
If a player suddenly loses that top octave, can only pay to High C,
then he knows that something is wrong somewhere,
something that needs to be addressed.

Again,
Playing high notes is not everything.
But playing high notes IS something.

Saying that high notes is not important at all
is just as wrong as saying that high notes are everything.

PS
I am not saying that everyone should be able to play Double C's.
But every player should be able to play High C's in a concert setting.
If the player can't, there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Mark
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TKSop
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess it's a case of perspective...

Those recent comebackers who focus on range are no different from teenagers who fixate on range - they're both trying to run before they can walk, and with the same results:
- Overexertion both short and longer term
- Incorrect technique leading to hard "range caps"
- Abandonment of more useful everyday skills.

Lack of good range is often an indicator of poor underlying technique - at worst, practicing flexibility (etc) on a malfunctioning embouchure is throwing good effort after bad...
That's not to say you should fixate on range because the odds are if you're desperate to get range in order to prove to yourself that you're doing it right, you're probably more likely to do it wrong
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roynj
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comeback players, please focus on:
- getting a good sound whenever you play
- listen and adjust your intonation as needed
- play softly, not always as loud as possible
- finger dexterity
- breathing properly (don't run out of breath all the time)
- regain your range to no higher than a high A, without straining. Then slowly progress higher. No cheating.
- Learn to play those lower notes (low C down to F#) with a full and clean sound. Not easy to do, but a much more useful skill than the extreme high range.
- playing in a legato singing style
- sight reading music (even basic tunes) with minimal blips and blurps. For a reality "shock", record yourself. Oh my!
- playing with musical dynamics and phrasing.
- the list goes on...
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Bstradivarius
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

roynj wrote:
Comeback players, please focus on:
- getting a good sound whenever you play
- listen and adjust your intonation as needed
- play softly, not always as loud as possible
- finger dexterity
- breathing properly (don't run out of breath all the time)
- regain your range to no higher than a high A, without straining. Then slowly progress higher. No cheating.
- Learn to play those lower notes (low C down to F#) with a full and clean sound. Not easy to do, but a much more useful skill than the extreme high range.
- playing in a legato singing style
- sight reading music (even basic tunes) with minimal blips and blurps. For a reality "shock", record yourself. Oh my!
- playing with musical dynamics and phrasing.
- the list goes on...


Love this!
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure I understand the point of the post, anyway. In my case, I am a comeback player. I do not think range is the end all and be all. But at the same time, my range went way up after a come back.

I went from a previous workable High A, playable High C to a workable E above high C to a playable Double High C. The reason was not an aesthetic, it was as a result of better use of my embouchure and exercises.
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Bstradivarius
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
I'm not sure I understand the point of the post, anyway. In my case, I am a comeback player. I do not think range is the end all and be all. But at the same time, my range went way up after a come back.

I went from a previous workable High A, playable High C to a workable E above high C to a playable Double High C. The reason was not an aesthetic, it was as a result of better use of my embouchure and exercises.


My point: Eric Aubier is able to play higher than you. If we are typical, we would measure his and people like Maurice Andre's success on the ability to play high notes. Maurice Andre could hold out a note above high C even after walking with a cane! If my point is not self-explanatory, this is not why the best in the world are good. For them, high notes are a coincidence of perfect musical form resulting from intensive training - they put in the hours. I will not concede that being able to play double high means proper embouchure; it might mean the player is using equipment too large to play elegantly, or too small to sound good. - Someone in town prides himself in his ability to play high. He's not a comeback player and has been playing this way since he was a child. He is a self proclaimed guru on chops. He could peel paint off the wall. I never want to hear him play again. That's a soap box example that comes to mind.-- The premise that being able to play high notes means you are a proven trumpeter just seems wrong!
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EdMann
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my 11th year as a comebacker, and range was always a fickle playmate, but my sound was important me. I made more than a few embouchure adjustments to address both, and ended up swollen chasing range. Then something else would fail, until I began studying Stamp and other methods that extended range in BOTH directions. That was key for me, and my embouchure adjusted to that as opposed to me fiddling with it.

I've since increased my warmup time, and increased my total time playing per day. Made a huge dif in everything.

ed
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Croquethed
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never was the phrase "Life's a journey, not a destination" more fitting than for the comeback player and range.

I had very modest goals when I bought my horn after a 39-year layoff: I wanted to be able to play Taps on Memorial Day, Jingle Bells on Christmas, and Auld Lang Syne on New Year's. Anything else was gravy. And I remember struggling that first week with hitting the D in the staff and thinking "Man, you have a lot of work to do."

I was diligent in the limited time I had, though, and found range increasing steadily. I owned the high C about 18 months in, not a particularly quick timeline, and thought if I could add one note a year I'd be fine. And then I plateaued at the D. I did not tear my hair out or seek instruction, because my goals are still decidedly modest. But I do receive some great input, and in fact, stumbled across the recent update of the 19/30 thread. I incorporated the 19/30 into the routine and, after just a couple weeks, see improvement - if I don't own the D, I certainly have a long-term lease, and for the first time ever last week hit a recognizable E. So I'll keep at the 19/30s and see what happens.

But the stuff I play every day for my own enjoyment is all low B or Bb to high Bb, sometimes the C...very rarely the D. That doesn't mean I'll stop trying to incrementally improve range, but it's not why I play the blues. There's a lot to learn elsewhere in becoming a better musician.
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Craig S
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Comeback players and high notes Reply with quote

Bstradivarius wrote:
Okay, I get it! The trumpeter has put the horn down for a while. He starts working on Schlossberg or something else to develop the upper register. He throws in some scales and Technical studies. Maybe some Charlier or Arban.

My pet peeve is his measure of progress: that he can now play high notes, higher than he ever has before. What he does not realize is he is targeting the most unhealthy aspect of trumpet playing. He should be focusing on flexibility, musicality, and intonation. He should be working on developing his endurance through thoughtful exercises with plenty of rest. He should be seeing Improvement in the way he is able to play through his diligence. To me, high notes are the most worthless measure of success. It means the player has become the stereotypical trumpet player. He assumes that the audience is going to scream louder if he can play higher, like Mendez. But in using that as a measure of success, you have lost the entire purpose of playing music.

Listen to what Maurice Andre and others can do between low C and high C. Then you will see what the true measure of skill is. Target this. Don't give yourself a blackout by working too hard on high notes. it causes brain damage...


So, I get what you're saying (I read your explanation, as well.). I'm curious as to why you're saying it? Is there a post I missed that talks about trying to increase range as the only measurement of skill??

As a recent comeback player, I've personally been focusing on tonguing, breathing, and strengthening my chops. Has my range increased? Yes, it has. Am I consciously trying to increase it? Yes. My reasons are not because of some idea in my head of what a trumpeter should be able to do. I enjoy the look on my teacher's face and the exclamation of surprise when I play a high C or the A below that. I enjoy being able to play the pieces that I want to play (currently working on some pieces from Phantom of the Opera which have A's and Bb's above the staff).

Am I working on my range? Yes, but because of the way it makes the rest of my notes sound. The higher I can squeak out, the stronger those notes below it will begin to sound (To me, it's like being able to struggle to lift a heavy load knowing that lighter loads will be relatively easier.). The range is not the end, but merely the means to play what I would like to play.

**Note: This, in no way, shape, or form, means that I'm going to sacrifice my mouthpiece placement or risk injuring my lips to gain range. Only that by working toward higher notes, I'm working toward better notes, overall!**
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Bstradivarius
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Comeback players and high notes Reply with quote

[quote="Craig S"]
Bstradivarius wrote:


So, I get what you're saying (I read your explanation, as well.). I'm curious as to why you're saying it? Is there a post I missed that talks about trying to increase range as the only measurement of skill??


Yes, it's all over these forums:statements by comeback players and others. This bragging right is the pitfall of trumpet playing. Some will disagree. My statements are my opinions based on my experience in playing with a wide variety of players at many levels. It's annoying to hear "I can't play high notes." My answer: "so what? I would rather hear improvement on several other areas." But hey, that's just me ok?
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grune
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKSop wrote:
I guess it's a case of perspective...

Those recent comebackers who focus on range are no different from teenagers who fixate on range - they're both trying to run before they can walk, and with the same results:
- Overexertion both short and longer term
- Incorrect technique leading to hard "range caps"
- Abandonment of more useful everyday skills.

Lack of good range is often an indicator of poor underlying technique - at worst, practicing flexibility (etc) on a malfunctioning embouchure is throwing good effort after bad...
That's not to say you should fixate on range because the odds are if you're desperate to get range in order to prove to yourself that you're doing it right, you're probably more likely to do it wrong


100% true. Read the books and articles from all the great players. Each and all state the same: strong fundamentals lead to range. There are no shortcuts.
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Comeback players and high notes Reply with quote

Bstradivarius wrote:
He assumes that the audience is going to scream louder if he can play higher, like Mendez.


Rafael Mendez was not a high-note player.

Maurice Andre could, and did, play much higher than Mendez:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T2YWZAZDr0

I do agree with your premise that many trumpet players over-emphasize high notes, but I respectfully disagree with your characterization of Mendez.
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50YrComeback
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4 1/2 months back and agree with most of the comments -

Never had great range "way back when" - but then again rarely needed to play above G/A above the staff in H/S in the 60's. Naturally, I want more comfortable range simply because it gives me access to more music. I am now up to a fairly comfortable & consistent G above staff. After 2-4 weeks, that would have been a middle C, after 8-10 weeks that would have been an E so we are moving in the right direction. The tone's pretty good, articulation is most lacking but feel like I've turned the corner. FYI - Have had access to quality teaching since the first 4-5 weeks.

Its kind of like driving distance in golf - I see the macho guys come out to the driving range trying to hit the most difficult club in the bag as far as Rory McElroy even before they even know how to grip the club correctly, set-up to the ball and make a rhythmic swing from which to build from. At a minimum, its a pointless exercise and potentially a recipe for disaster just like busting your chops to hit a high C after a few weeks.

It took me 3-4 years to do it "back in the day", so why i would expect to do it in 3-4 months? Foolishly i actually did pop out some low quality high C's with extraordinary effort after 3 months because I just couldn't help myself and fortunately didn't hurt myself. You know its stupid even while you're doing it.
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