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Consistent and Effective Range FAST

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Joined: 02 Apr 2018
Posts: 16
Location: United States

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 4:03 pm    Post subject: Consistent and Effective Range FAST Reply with quote

Hello fellow trumpeters,
this fall I will be a sophomore in high school and playing lead trumpet for marching season. This show requires that leads play an intimidating high D which I have played before, but not nearly as consistently as will be needed. Marching obviously takes a large toll on ones chops due to the constant repetition, and being able to play a high D one day a month probably won't cut it if I want to keep my position. By effective range, I basically mean usable range that will feel nearly effortless or at least require minimal pressure.

My highest consistent note currently is a high A which I can typically play with little pressure. Most days of the week, however, I do have a clean high C (although I struggle with intonation). I am very familiar with air pressure as I study with a very talented professional, however I would love to hear new perspectives or studies that might help me. Marching season is only a month away, and I would like to at least have a consistent C by then, although this might not be too realistic.

Thank you so much, and let me know if you have any questions that could potentially help me solve this issue.
“It takes a strong personality to make an impact with the trumpet... You have to go on as a winner." -Maurice Andre to New York Times
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Joined: 03 Nov 2011
Posts: 1610
Location: Beavercreek, OH

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully, nothing here that your teacher hasn't already coached you on.. "fast" solution? Not going to happen.

Try a couple things-1st reset your mind-set, so that the 3rd space C is your middle ground - play that C very relaxed with the effort of "I can roll out of bed and play this note all day long" Easy, stress free, mp-p. Being your daily routine there, lips slurs, scales, flow studies-whatever, all centering on that C.

Then, to help gain the "feel".. play a nice relaxed, centered G (top of the staff) - bend it down and find that sweet spot. Keep it soft and relaxed. Then play that G alternate fingering 1-3 .. as it's centered and relaxed slur chromatically up to a C (1-3, 2-3, 1-2, 1, 2, 0) - all you're doing is sliding up the same overtone series-like pulling a trombone slide from 6th to 1st position without changing your chops (keep the energy up and moving forward). The idea is to get that C to roll out as easily as the G. Once you sit on it for a moment, release and re-start that C - trying to do it with the same relaxed "feel".
Then as that happens, do the same thing on an A (play the A-alt fingering 1-3 - yes you can!), "slide" up chromatically to an open D.

Then, be sure that you're practicing wisely, building a routine that includes fundamentals (tone, articulations, flexibility, range,) everyday, p-mp scales/Clarke Studies-a lot, 50% on %50 off, short sessions more often, stop before you play on fatigued chops, reinforcing good habits, gained skills, and addressing weaknesses.

"If mom says you sound good practicing, you're probably practicing the wrong stuff."

During the MB season, don't overblow, play within yourself, a tight controlled sound will be stronger, better in tune and carry more outside anyway. And warm down - soft and slow.
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Alex Brain
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Joined: 22 Jan 2019
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


The above post from Zaferis sounds very logical and useful, in my opinon a great suggestion.

I made a video about a month ago giving my tips for high note success. They are only observations from my personal journey and are nothing more than concepts to experiment with and consider. Ultimately, I believe that achieving a consistent high register requires an individual approach, comprised of a whole 'toolkit' of ideas from multiple sources.

If this video helps at all, that would be brilliant. If you find the concepts don't help you then by all means pursue an alternate approach!


Good luck
'Trumpet Brain'
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Joined: 16 Dec 2007
Posts: 5945
Location: Houston, TX.

PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, welcome to TH, there is a lot of good information here,
Zaferis above makes some great suggestions.

Second, be realistic. If you have been putting in the practice time that’s required to really progress on trumpet, great. If you really have not, you’re not going to make up for that in a few months. But that absolutely doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged, or that it’s “ too late”, TALK TO YOUR TEACHER, he/she should be able to help you with a realistic plan to accomplish what you want/need. There are no shortcuts. PRACTICE, practice correctly (again, talk to your teacher), be sure he/she understands what you’re trying to accomplish, and oh yeah, PRACTICE.😉 Don’t fall into the trap of trying to do on the marching band field what you really are not ready for, trying to “be a hero” can result in chronic embouchure fatigue, OR WORSE.
You’re going into only your second year of high school, I totally get that you want to “keep your spot”, but if the range that the show requires is simply too much for you now, better to switch to a second part (which is just as important to the overall sound of an ensemble as the first part) until you’re really ready. No one here can tell you if you’re ready or not, we cannot hear/see you play, TALK TO YOUR TEACHER.

Best of luck, stick around the forum here, let us know how things go!

"I always try but, not always, because the horn is mercy-less, unpredictable and traitorous." - Arturo Sandoval
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