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Where is your range ceiling, or cut-off point?


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Lionel
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Joined: 25 Jul 2016
Posts: 519

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

delano wrote:
JayKosta wrote:

"get his chops straightened out in just 5 minutes".
The impediment to accepting such help is usually misunderstanding, and doubt that the advice / suggestions would be beneficial.
Jay


Yes, you nailed it here. Seems that a overwhelming majority of players prefer to stay ignorant. But maybe with a reason. In that way mr. Lionel's post is defensive.
But I understand your point of view, it must be wonderful to become Maynard in five minutes.


No one is talking about "becoming Maynard in five minutes". I never said nor implied it. And even if we were able to remove the physical obstacles from the previously "range stunted" trumpet player there is no freakin way we could overnight bless him with superb intonation, freakish endurance, fat sound, accuracy, jazz improvisational ability, sight-reading the whole works. There was only one Maynard. My subjective (but I think well founded) opinion of him is that he was the rarest species of trumpet player ever. And on top of that he was among the greatest human beings on the planet.

I hope not to appear "defensive" here Mr Delano but you may find me a little easier to get along with when people don't put words in my mouth. Or in this case " Words in print" which I never posted. It's kinda one of my peeves. Not a serious one. I just prefer not to see this happen. It's unnecessary and at least a little bit counter-productive.

What I was talking about is removing a very common blockage in the teeth/embouchure interface. It's so common as to almost be the rule in trumpet players. And you don't have to look far to see what I'm referring to. Perhaps 95 to 98 percent of all trumpet players can not blow above a high D (concert C pitch) if their life depended upon it.

Look at it this way, in order to explain this common dysfunction?

Let's say that the great majority of clarinerists put their ligature on their mouthpiece upside down. And let's also describe a high number of them placing their reed on backwards. The thin side was facing up but the rounded edge placed against the rounded edge of the mouthpiece. Instead of the flat side. Granted you would never see or allow this to happen. As certainly no instructor worth ten cents would allow his student to screw up his instrument's mouthpiece. However let's just say that they did.

And let's also say that despite this serious error in the way that they placed the ligature and reed that some of these strange clarinetists actually did practice often and daily and then did learn to play half decently. And I think the term "play half decently" is fully appropriate here. Because with such a screwed up mouthpiece and reed there's no flippin WAY they're going to become a complete musician.

Well shucks even we brass players could fix these poor fools ourselves couldn't we? Although you and I probably aren't reed players we would still know full well that these woodwind players are wrong. That first and foremost they should be told to properly fit their instrument together. Then play music. And if we did correct these fictional clarinetists? Their playing would immediately sound incredibly better. Now maybe they wouldn't equal Aker Bill or Pete Fountain but they'd certainly play quite well. Or at least far better. And this is what I'm talking about. Not to necessarilly
apply an idea that could turn everyone into Maynard. But rather to remove enough obstacles so that they could potentially play the complete range of the instrument.

Now all of those same functions in the woodwind have an analogous part in the trumpet player. Like the metallic ligature our teeth, both upper and lower and mouthpiece hold our "reed" in place. This "reed" of course is our upper lip as supported and controlled somewhat by the lower lip. There's just one problem here for the trumpet that our clarinetist doesn't have. The trumpet player can not immediately see how his teeth, lips, jaw and facial muscles mesh together. If they are set properly? The student will progress rapidly. Just like a decent clarinetist would with his properly fitted mouthpiece. We'll call this lucky trumpet fellow a natural and he'll kick our butts at juries and festivals. However if indeed he's like most the rest of us?

Those parts of his embouchure and related teeth/mouth interface will not mate very well at all. And typically he'll have a little over half the notes of the instrument available to him. Up to the high C/D cut-off point that is
. Or a 2 & 1/2 octave range. Low F# to high C.instead of having the potential to go from low F# on up to triple C.

The woods are full of these poor guys. In my signature I've quoted Dr Moriarty and I think his words are about as wise as anyone's on the subject. Perhaps Doc Reinhardt had one which is equally good. He described trumpet players with dysfunctional chops as being like competitive track & field athletes who run on their heels. They may even improve a good deal. Yet landing upon their heels instead of their toes will absolutely ruin any chance they'll ever have of succeeding.

I guess the question now is, "if you know so much about this stuff then how high can you play Lionel? And where are your sound clips/videos etc"?

And the answer is that yes I do have the capacity to blow triple C. Although it's not a really fantastic one at present. However my new embouchure is only abt a year & a half old. According to Roy Stevens it really takes 3 years to get the full grasp of his embouchure techniwue. And the potential is there in my playing to really spank the triples. I do not have a "limited embouchure".

Elsewhere on TH Ive posted how I atarted on a new embouchure about a year and a half ago. It is this new chop setting which is at least potentially unlimited. Previously I had a good embouchure but it was "Limited". Pretty damned hard to blow notes above high G. That said? I had a powerful, very useable high G and played at least a decent lead trumpet on it for 50+ years. However I remained most frustrated at my high G limitation. Bothered me so much that I read almost every book on range available. Finally coming to sn important conclusion. Which was,

My old embouchure was not fixable. The high G limitation was inherent and could not be defeated within the framework of my existing chops. So after an ungodly amount of experimentation with pretty much every embouchure I could find something written about, explained or better yet demonstrated.? I finally found the proper setting FOR ME. It might not be right for you but it definitely works well for me Also along the way I discovered the reason why the Stevens-Costello system failed lots of people. Indeed it did work pretty good for many and the principles set in it are very valuable. However I had to "tweak" one part of the setting. And then finally was on my way.

As per sound files? I often send these out to my friends via email or text.

(people who put words in my mouth are less likely to become my friend. Not impossible but less likely. Too much work usually)

As my new embouchure reaches it's peak of performance I'll make additional files and a new video available. Just for starters. Am currently saving up to retire in the desert Southwest. When that move is done and secure I will work on getting my audio and video files more together. Thank you for your patience.

Just like the 1960's era slang it is truly a fantastic "trip" to finally get a solid extreme upper register happening. While it might have solved more problems for me had it happened sooner? This wasn't my fate in life. But what the heck, I surely tried like Hell. And at least it did happen. Also it happened in my early 60's instead of my 80's. Indeed if I can hold on that long ? I may have another 20 years to perfect and enjoy the darned thing. Lol.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2019 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Lionel,
I've 'cherry picked' a portion of your previous post to highlight why a '5 minute session' about a particular embrochure technique might not be completely successful for everyone.
-
Lionel wrote:
...
So after an ungodly amount of experimentation with pretty much every embouchure I could find something written about, explained or better yet demonstrated.? I finally found the proper setting FOR ME. It might not be right for you but it definitely works well for me Also along the way I discovered the reason why the Stevens-Costello system failed lots of people. Indeed it did work pretty good for many and the principles set in it are very valuable. However I had to "tweak" one part of the setting. And then finally was on my way.
...

-
I do agree that many players who have a limited range (including me) would probably benefit from learning about our embouchure troubles. And I did look into your mention of Moriarty and the S-C system, I have found it useful.

Jay
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delano
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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

delano wrote:

But I understand your point of view, it must be wonderful to become Maynard in five minutes.


A little bit of irony is not THAT bad.
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delano
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Lionel, I don't want to upset you nor insult or something like that. I am following your crusade for the complete range now for sometime but my conclusion is that you are obsessed with that topic. So I am offering you now a different view and I will start with some objections I have to your view.

- there is no "typical" trumpetplayer;
- 95% to 98% of the trumpetplayers cannot play above high D? So what? If you are playing the instument once a week in a community band it will stay thay way forever but seems not problematic to me;
-so you are calling 95 to 98% of the trumpet players "poor guys" which I don't like at all;
-you use idiot examples like a clarinettist using his mouthpiece upside down to make your point;
- if people don't agree with you you accuse them of having "a host of excuses for his shortcomings", not even considering they may be right;
- obviously there are a lot of younger players (high schoolers) here around with all there well-known high register problems who will be even more frustrated by your qualifications (must be EXTREME poor guys).


My view:

- every instrument is limited in some way. Beethoven complained after finishing one of his demanding sonata's that he had proven that the piano was only a limited instrument. But the piano has a 7+ octave range...
- I suppose that the natural range of a trumpet is something from low F# to high G (above high C), sometimes called double G. Playing lower (pedal notes) is possible but sounds not very nice, playing higher is possible but not due to the instrument. It's in my view a specialist thing and only necessary in a specialised setting. There are not THAT many screamers around;
- because there is no "typical" trumpetplayer there is a range of choices to make for every trumpetplayer, and everybody makes his own choice.

My personal view.
I don't consider MF: "that he was the rarest species of trumpet player ever." And yes, he must have been a very nice guy.
He was certainly one of the greatest players in HIS field, maybe the best. But my top of players is formed by Timofei Dokshizer (and for pure technic Rafael Mendez), in jazz by the greatest of them all, Miles Davis, for jazz trumpet technic: Clark Terry, also Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard. You see, different choices.
And in the end I suppose that finding your upper register is a very personal quest whereby you have to go deep inside your playing habits and style and go there for the most intuitive details. The main rule is anyway that if you can play freely in the (extreme) upper register it's easy, if you cannot it's extreme difficult. (I know this from the trombone, I was a recognised high blower on that instrument, see below).

FYI my worries and priorities about the technic of trumpetplaying are divided as follows:

Tone, 30% (long tones, demanding concentration in resonance and intonation, offers in hardware like horns and mouthpieces)
Articulation, 30% (single, double, triple, portato, doodle tonguing and so on)
Fast and intuitive fingering 20% (scales, scales and more scales)
Endurance 10% (will follow the above)
Range 10% (idem).

My range now (I am a former trombone player who switched to trumpet) is now high C without any strain, up to D and E still with a trumpetsound but not reliable, above that it's more of a mouse.
But I'm not worried at all, my goal is a bright and singing high G, that's enough. Give me one more year, I grow almost every day And this is no excuse. BTW I have zero ambition to be a lead trumpetplayer.
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boog
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentlemen, Gentlemen! For most of the players out there, this is merely a hobby, something we do for enjoyment...

I have had numerous hobbies, among them trumpet and low brass playing, amateur radio, audiophile recording/listening, motorcycling, etc. In all of these, I have run across what Julian Hirsch, former editor of the old Stereo Review magazine, called the "lunatic fringe", i.e. those that are seemingly obsessed with the achievement of the ultimate in refinement of whatever it is that they are doing.

FWIW, I have a decent, loud, solid double C on the trumpet, with any mouthpiece. Now, this is a "living room" double C, which may or may not be there in the heat of battle!

I also direct a community big band, and have brass players that are quite proficient in the upper register. I also realize, that the vast majority of these "hobby" players are doing this because they enjoy doing this. What I expect from my players is playing in tune and time, with decent interpretation,,,

Maynard was an exceptional high register artist and band leader. Improvisor? Yeah, he was good and could play great solos. Was he as "good" an improvisor as, say, Clark Terry? Clifford Brown? IMO, no he was not....we can say this of many famous trumpet jazzers, in comparison with someone else, if you get my drift...

"Lunatic fringe" players? Lynn Nicholson comes to mind. Lynn is good, no doubt...Bill Chase was another "fringer" that comes to mind...Cat Anderson? Definitely! I'm sure that you can think of others.

Point is, MOST of the players out there that are willing to come to a rehearsal and put in the time are doing this as a hobby, something that they enjoy doing. This probably encompasses up in the 90% range of available players...I have to keep this in mind constantly as a bandleader.

My lead trumpet player, a dedicated hobbyist, can blow high F's and G's on demand, and in context. In the 8th decade of my life,he is alright by me...

Keep practicing, keep improving,
Dave
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delano
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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. boog, I don't see a connection with this thread but nevertheless thanks for the info about your great capacities and multiple talents.
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INTJ
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PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2019 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I am playing with a "perfect embouchure/air set", I do not have a limit or cutoff on my range. When I am playing the way I normallyend up playing, I rarely even try to go above DHD. When I played in my previous band--where we had lots of players, performed 35 minute sets, and I had breaks before and after demanding lead charts; I was consistent on High As and decent on DHCs during rehearsals and gigs.

For the last nine months I have been playing lead in the Band the Mr Peters referenced earlier. I am his successor, though I am not the level of player he is.

I am finding my endurance is heavily tested in this band. We routinely play two hour gigs of Basie type stuff. As long as I do everything mostly correct and absolutely do NOT over blow in the slightest, I can almost survive the gig. I usually have no issues with the High Gs in Satin Doll nor the shout section's High F. Shiny Stocking will take me out every time and it doesn't exceed a High D.

When I am in those fatigued situations, the upper range gets thin and then shuts off. If I rest a couple minutes the range is back, but not for long.
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BGinNJ
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I'm fresh, in the practice room, I have a high F, sometimes F#, G.
On a big band chart, E and earlier in a set, F, are useable.

I didn't used to be that way for me. I may have been able to hit those notes in the distant past, but it wasn't until I started on a comeback with an embouchure change about 5 years ago that it started to click.

It was joining a big band a couple of years ago, and working my way up in the parts, that finally started to make that range useable in a musical way. I always focused on small group, improvising, so I never challenged myself. I would listen to Maynard's band, etc, and wonder how they did it.

It was satisfying to unlock and partly open the door on what had been a mystery. But it was also a revelation, that doing that kind of lead playing is a lot of work, and not as enjoyable musically (and that can apply to the listener, too)!
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Lionel
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm about a year and a half into developing the Stevens-Costello. embouchure. I began this radical departure from my former way of playing because of being sick and tired of having a range limitation at around a high G or so. Except in the practice room I normally couldn't put anything above the G out into the audience.

Actually the described "year and a half" or eighteen months isn't entirely accurate. This because I long ago tried the Stevens System but wasn't able to produce a musical tone on it at all. A persistent fellow by nature I decided that the Stevens system may not be complete. That there could exist the need for amendments to the material. All in in order to make it work satisfactorily. What I found lacking in the Stevens system was that while Roy Stevens had applied very helpful concepts to developing an embouchure capable of unlimited range he had failed to recognize the value of the lip's texture! Both upper and lower. And it only makes sense that the suppleness vs coarseness of our chops, in particulalar the upper lip must play a huge role in range production.

Look at ot this way, great high note players do not walk on water. Instead they simply have a certain physiology that when left in their natural position? Their chops can easily produce fantastic high notes. Whereas our own phyiology has a more limited register. At least until that is we begin to adopt a chop setting that does not limit our register. Nor a lip texture which also precludes the development of good high notes.

Of course making a radical embouchure change is not usually a desirable nor fun undertaking. In my own case however it was late December of 2017. Due to tooth loss my once good upper register was gone. Having no other alternative? I "doubled down" on the Stevens-Costello system. I began my studies with renewed conviction and signed myself up for a couple amateur adult bands. One of which I'd previously been kind of the "ringer" in. At first I was a bit depressed however I progressed quickly. In fact fast progress is almost a given when you understand how hugely important a correct embouchure is.

I didn't start this post to please those who are happy with their range. Whom am I to tell anyone what kind of music you should or shouldn't play? This however is a sub forum dedicated to high note development. In fact I had accurately predicted that we might see responses stating,

"High notes aren't all that important anyway".

Such is the cognitive dissonance found on a trumpet group's high note development forum with posts describing the lack of importance to being able to blow good solid high register. Indeed when I was out on the road I can tell you that having at least a decent upper register and one which I could sustain for at least four sets/night was absolutely crucial to my remaining employed.
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