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A Trick to make C above Staff easy to play


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Robert P
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steve0930 wrote:
Hi Robert
Thanks for the reply. And yes I am sure you are right. At the moment I am playing a C above the staff quietlyand it feels like no more effort than in the staff (maybe a tiny bit more effort, like 1 or 2% but HEAPS less than I'm used to) and I'm sure you're right when I want to go for that big fat sound the chops will know it.

I think if there was a way to measure it you'd discover the increase in effort is more than you realize.


Quote:
Becasue i don't know Robert but my guess is an accomplished player like yourself can play a G above high C quietlywith very little increase in effort compared with a note in the staff. Is this some kind of litmus test (I gave up chemistry at 14) for the set up being right? The right prescription in the lens..

If only that were true - lol. No, it takes a lot more to play a G at any volume. I don't consider myself an accomplished player but what I am is someone who's spent a lot of time and energy getting past some particular difficulties that plagued me for a long time.

Quote:
Of course once I graduate to fat loud high notes something is going to have to give but I guess my guideline will be "does it still feel easy" because that's what I notice when I see someone like Tiny Thing play.

Are you talking about Tine Helseth? Is that a nickname people use for her?

Best wishes on your travels and playing endeavors.
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HackAmateur
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2021 10:33 pm    Post subject: Re: A Trick to make C above Staff easy to play Reply with quote

steve0930 wrote:
Hello fellow Trumpet players.

First up, I am not a fan of tricks.

On another Thread I wrote how I have recently (last 4 days) been spending a lot more time with long tones above the staff - with good results BUT I was worried about possible impact on my ears.

SO - here come's the trick - I started playing with ear buds in. The result was, maybe dramatic is too startling an adjective, but certainly surprising as I found myself asking myself "Was that a g you played on top of the staff or the c above.. yep it was the c.."

Because I could not hear clearly as I ascended I think subconsciously I was feeling much more relaxed and not tensing up as has been my want until now. Earbuds still in I was then doing arpegios e top of staff up to a, b then down to e very easily. Something hard for me to do a week ago.

Of course for some of you reading this c above staff not even a high note - and you're not tensing up so this not relevant for you. And also I am not here advocating practise in "deaf" mode but what this whole exercise demonstrated to me was how little effort is needed to add notes to my range, and in my case play the c above top of the staff g.

Hope this helps someone like me / at my level

cheers and stay safe Steve in Helsinki


First of all, you should at least have one ear fully available to hear yourself playing. You should never play with some kind of noise cancellation equipment on BOTH ears. That's bad for a lot of reasons, but mostly it's bad for tone and intonation.

Second of all, you shouldn't be considering High C "not a high note"... that doesn't make any sense.

I can play a G above High C or the G# above High C on most days with fresh chops. BUT, I consider G on top of the staff "the first high note".

Really, you should consider G on top of the staff and all higher notes than that as "high notes" because they are.

I can play an octave higher than G on top of the staff, but G on top of the staff is still THE FIRST HIGH NOTE on the Bb trumpet.

Pretending like notes aren't high isn't going to help you. High C "isn't high" you say... well, it is. The reality is that high notes are high notes, regardless of your skill level.

G on top of the staff and everything above it are all "high notes".

If you can play High C easier with earphones in, my primary concern is: how good or bad of a tone is that High C?

If it's a good tone, there's still no need whatsoever for you to pretend like High C isn't a high note. It doesn't make any sense to perceive high notes as anything different from high notes.

The main thing is that you must not be intimidated by high notes. At no point, however, should you delude yourself into thinking that a High C is a middle register note, though. It's not. It's a freaking high note, period.

If you're intimidated by high notes, calling them something different doesn't change the fact that they're still high notes. You have to overcome being daunted by playing the high notes. It doesn't require delusion. It requires practice and confidence.
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2021 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno. You're essentially right, but to ignore the mental block for 'high notes' isn't that easy for everyone. Mind tricks can certainly help a person to get the right kind of focus for the task at hand (I understand it's a big part in some martial arts training), and it's probably the one apsect of trumpet playing where I'd say 'hacks & tricks' are a viable solution.

For you, considering a note 'high' is probably part of the mental preparation you need to play them (out of curiosity: do you struggle playing them if you don't consider them 'high notes'?). For me, there's a mental connection between 'high' and 'hard to play' that's been trained by 25 years of poor playing that's hard to break. Instead of fighting that trained reaction, I shift focus trying to learn a 'new mind pattern'. Which is essentially what I do by considering them 'notes' rather than 'high notes, but not scary'.

It's basically the 'do not think of a pink elephant' paradox. Thinking of something else is much easier than not thinking of something specific.
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Fellow Trumpet players

I am in a bar in Loutro - a small village only accessible by boat in Crete - my Number 1 supporter joins me and - trying not to sound too portentous - I announce "You are the first person in the world to hear about a new way of mentally handling notes above the staff on the trumpet"

All thanks to you Hibidogrulez and HackAmateur in your insistence that g on top of the staff is a high note - but, and as you Hibidogrulez are the first to acknowledge: "For me, there's a mental connection between 'high' and 'hard to play' " Likewise for me for 3.5 years g top of staff was indeed a high note - not only in my head was it hard - worse - it required more effort and tension.

I never took to the idea of visualising an air stream getting thinner or a tube narrowing for above the staff - conveyed the feeling of tension - things shutting down - law of diminishing returns. And with my lip set up / wedge mp my set up never felt "round" to start with.

Other people have denoted notes about the staff as just another "frequency number" or keys on a piano - nice ideas but in practice we can't escape the fact that set up somehow has to change as you ascend.

Back to Loutro
"Go on" says my Number 1 supporter, her eyes shining. (Editor's note; they always do)
"Railways!" I triumphantly announce - infact to be specific - railway track gauge"

So I now regard notes in the staff as standard or international gauge setting and then narrow gauge for notes above the staff. (Wiki shows at least 9 different narrow gauge settings) What I like about the gauge idea is

Strength / notes on rails / getting locked in
No visualization of shutting down / tracks stay parallel to the horizon
Narrow gauge requires more energy than normal gauge(according to wiki) but only a tiny bit more energy.
The train (the sound? the player?) are oblivious to any changes in gauge settings on the journey.
Train tracks are flat. Maximum gradient typically 2%


Just a few points to round off.

Seymourthanks for your concern (I am less than 30 in how I feel -- much much younger than that when it comes to trumpet playing (4yrs10monhs) but no hiding my 58years in the mirror!) But I'm not quite sure why you think I have "gone astray" - in the last month c above the staff is feeling like an easy note. In Greece on holiday I was playing pieces with a and b above the staff in my public performances - never done that before. (This was achieved under cover of darkness and cutting down on my alcohol consumption over supper significantly!)

Robert P you are clearly so much more accomplished a player than I am I don't feel I have earnt the right to debate with you how easy it is to play in the upper registry. I'm sure I will be a lot wiser a year in from now.


Back on track
As the OP I hope you will give me some latitude on this holiday post - JayKosta you wrote earlier about stronger internal feelings when using earbuds - i read this on another TH Topic:

Quote:
One thing that, counterintuitively, can sometimes help is to put in ear plugs while playing on a practice mute. It stops you from listening to the sound in the room, and makes you rely on feel and the vibration


Thanks for reading this far - best wishes and stay safe Steve back-in-Helsinki[/b]
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furcifer
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bobby Shew has talked about learning to "play by feel" rather than so totally by ear - especially when you're playing on particularly loud gigs and can't even hear yourself. (Microphone shields can help with this, too.)

Effectively, what happened to you is you overshot the G you were going for, LOL Overshooting a note in that way might have brought with it an epiphany about eliminating unnecessary tension, but anytime we play a note we didn't intend, it's because there's a breakdown somewhere - even if there's an improvement somewhere else.

So, my advice would be to maintain a conscious effort to release tension while playing, look more into what Bobby was teaching about that, and try to better-recall/associate what you feel with what you hear. This will result in an ability to play more accurately, and therefore accomplish more difficult articulations in the upper register - 6th harmonic and above, especially.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steve0930 wrote:
... I never took to the idea of visualising an air stream getting thinner or a tube narrowing for above the staff - conveyed the feeling of tension - things shutting down - law of diminishing returns. And with my lip set up / wedge mp my set up never felt "round" to start with. ...

--------------------
About the feeling of a tube narrowing. And for me it is just that - a 'feeling', or perhaps a type of 'imagery'.

On higher notes I get the feeling of the center section of my lower lip developing a small 'trough' or 'channel' as part of the aperture. I seem to get better results by training to learn and control that feeling.
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Andy Cooper
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve,

You might try something - since this seems to be feedback related - try a mouthpiece weight and / or one or more heavy valve caps. See it you get a similar response above the staff.

Some trumpet/mouthpiece combinations can give rather complex feedback. Weights can, in some cases, change that feedback.

Also try comparing "dead" to "live" practice environments.
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Seymor B Fudd
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve!
By writing "astray" I meant that, in my view, you seem to be in a state of testing all kinds of ways, including cheating on your ears - in order to arrive at the desired goal. In my experience there are no such shortcuts, you will have to practice in a clever and diligent way -using horns/mouthpieces that are well suited to your personal set up. Of course this presupposes a certain period of trial and error. At one time I thought that mouthpieces with a flatter rim might be the thing - they were not. After 2 years trying to master Denis Wick mpc:s I quit. Etc etc. An exquisite Bach 190 Commercial seemed to be the horn for me. It was not - however fantastic to the guy who bought it.
I waited almost 60 years before I took my first lessons. DonĀ“t repeat my mistake. I have had plenty of successes in my playing life, but the house was built on sand....
Then some get happy with this, some with that. Charles Colin did it for me 1970s and 1980s - that is I practiced a lot. Today Frink and the BE does it so much better. The BE is, if you adhere to what mr Smiley state, a fantastic method, if done properly. Probably not for all - for me it is.
Conclusion: Concentration por favor! Too many uncontrolled variables make testing impossible - IOW not the way to do research!
All the best!
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fellow Players
Thanks for the replies.

I think this is spot on: in my case ear buds enabled
as Furciferwrites
Quote:
an epiphany about eliminating unnecessary tension

no more no less.

Good tip re Bobby Shew and I watched the Wedge breathing video today - first class.

Seymor- thanks for your encouragement - 2 hours ago I bought Frink's Flexus - Trumpet Calisthenics For The Modern Improvisor.
(In Greece I was making a few mistakes but managed to hide them when performing - my No1 Supporter said "great improvising" I have never considered I have the musical ability to improvise - but as Richard Bach said "Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're your's" so maybe now is the time to start.)

Just a quick Balanced Embouchure (BE) aside - Seymor this is very much part of my core daily routine - today ALS 5A never went better - I think BE is very much the reason for recent success - the lips have found this hugging (RO?) but also rolled in set up that is working wonders for my narrow gauge notes.

(Wow - I now live in a railway loving wild west landscape where all my notes are flat until the horizon)

I am motivated about ideas on how to learn faster and more effectively. This week I saw a super video by Jens Lindeman (a fan of TH) on the Yamaha site - worth watching if only for 1) the "RadioVoice" idea and 2) how to really focus when practicing.

Thanks again for taking the time for a trumpet novice like me (1771 days a player)

cheers and stay safe - Steve

PS Seymor - I thought of you when Andreas delivered the Octopus salad - he had earlier congratulated me on my choice but alas it was some kind of cold Octopus vinegar soup. But that was the exception that proved the rule - wonderful island and wonderful people! (and it was the last time we chose an empty restaurant to eat in - no matter how good the view..)
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