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Developing better range


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TheAidanAU
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Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 4:09 pm    Post subject: Developing better range Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I am not sure if this is the right place to post, since it says in the description of "High range development" "double C or higher", I have only been playing for about 4 years and I am not at the level I think I should be at. I can only play a high C at best (two octaves above the C that most beginners play as their first note) when I am lucky. I am currently starting marching band, and many of the pieces are very range-challenging. I believe that I can play the speed, but not the range. Is there anything I can do daily to improve this range? I try to practice at least 20-30 minutes every day, but it does not seem like I am getting any better. Thank you for your help.
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Jaw04
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just keep working! Get lessons if you can. Practice every day, and try to bump up your practice to an hour, or in other words, do your 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 times a day instead of once. You have to figure out how to play by putting the time in and being thoughtful. Stay confident and do the right things. Develop your overall playing not just trying to play high. Always go for a good sound.
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TheAidanAU
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaw04 wrote:
Just keep working! Get lessons if you can. Practice every day, and try to bump up your practice to an hour, or in other words, do your 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 times a day instead of once. You have to figure out how to play by putting the time in and being thoughtful. Stay confident and do the right things. Develop your overall playing not just trying to play high. Always go for a good sound.


Alright, I will continue to do that. I am trying to see if my parents will allow me to get lessons currently, and I will try to play at least 2 20-30 minute playing sessions daily. Thank you very much for your feedback.
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Jaw04
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheAidanAU wrote:
Jaw04 wrote:
Just keep working! Get lessons if you can. Practice every day, and try to bump up your practice to an hour, or in other words, do your 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 times a day instead of once. You have to figure out how to play by putting the time in and being thoughtful. Stay confident and do the right things. Develop your overall playing not just trying to play high. Always go for a good sound.


Alright, I will continue to do that. I am trying to see if my parents will allow me to get lessons currently, and I will try to play at least 2 20-30 minute playing sessions daily. Thank you very much for your feedback.
Also listen to a lot of great trumpet music on recordings, on youtube, and live, and find stuff that excites you. Try to copy the sounds that get you hooked. By the way, 4 years is not that long. Even college trumpet majors have range problems. It can take a long time to figure out. If the high notes aren't coming out, work on other aspects of playing like scales, transcribing, learning solos, long tones, lip slurs, finger dexterity, articulation.
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Goby
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get Larry Meregillano's Compression Training System! It's the best trumpet-related purchase I've made all year. It takes about 20-30 mins a day, but doesn't make any noise, so you can do it before bed. It engages and strengthens the muscles of the embouchure, especially the ones involved in the high register, but doesn't require any "lung power", abdominal straining, or make your lips swell up like trying to play high and loud not he trumpet does. It has made my endurance much much better, and notes all across the range of the horn have become so much easier to play. I've added about a third to my "workable" range after just 2 weeks (high C to high E), and I can now get up to a Bb below double C in a controlled environment, after being stuck at Eb above High C for years.


Here's the link:

https://www.trumpetlegacy.com


Included with the price is a lesson with Larry, who would definitely be able to help you prepare for your marching band parts.
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steve0930
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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Aidan

Quote:
I have only been playing for about 4 years and I am not at the level I think I should be at. I can only play a high C at best


Well we are pretty much at similar stages of development and experience (4yrs5 months for me) - only difference is I'm about 40 years older than you (but pretty young at heart!) I am self taught but in 4 years have had 5 lessons with 5 different "top level" teachers.

Clearly a lot of real experts and professional players on this website who will give you heaps of good and sensible advice (more than half of them will suggest a good teacher) So you should probably listen to them not me cos they know what they're talking about BUT you and I are on the same adventure in terms of playing level and experience - brothers-in.arms - so here my 4 tips, (Your Dad is going to luv the last one!)

1 Consider Balanced Embouchure (BE.. it has its own forum on the website)

BE is a self taught method to develop the "Aidan Embouchure" I started it under a year ago - within 6 months notes on top of the staff f.. g became easy. You buy the book / cd (for the price of 1 trumpet lesson! ) from Jeff Smiley and he is then very committed to checking you are on the right track.. will always answer any questions you have (how cool is that!) I did take a BE lesson zoom from a BE teacher Ko (name Larrios on this site) which helped me get what BE is all about (it is NOT a high note embouchure method.. rather a daily process for your lips / tongue to work out the best embouchure for Aidan)

2 "Pops" Repetition

Pops is a trumpet guru. His idea is that to master a note you just need to practise it - a lot - 20 times a day is not going to cut it - 100.. 400.. 1000 2000. Two days ago I played C above the staff 500 times in 10 different sittings.(the aim always to make the notes easy.. not force I pick up cheap runs with quick slurs/trills - when it stops being easy I take a break) Yesterday I was playing my best ever Cs and A above the staff a walk in the park. I know you have less time than me to practise so your numbers will be smaller to start with.

3 Become a "Face Detective"

Look at cool people playing high on the trumpet on you tube. Now look again.. more carefully at their face how does it change when they go above the staff - what are the lines / dimples you see appearing. What clues are they giving away? Now go to your face (I have a mirror hanging infront of me) - experiment with engaging different muscles - what difference do you see.. here is one cool guy I saw who got me thinking - maybe your age -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERcwiXpHaMk&ab_channel=%E9%99%88%E5%8A%9F

4 Steve's Magic Tape
Thousands of posts on this forum about buzzing.. some peoeple swear by it.. others say its a waste of time. Options I have come across Free buzzing / (just lips) Mouth Piece buzzing and Lead pipe buzzing- the last one is my clear favourite until NOW. Cue your Dad!

Aidan "Dad I need a roll of Steve's magic tape!"
Dad "what kind of tape Son!!?"
Aidan "Dunno.. electrical? But I've got the dimensions..."

My Magic Tape has a hole in the middle diameter 2.7cms. The depth of the hole (width of the tape) is 2cms. The thickness, overall diameter of the tape role is 5cms across. Form your embouchure and Now you buzz gently with the magic tape. If you take the tape away you hear just air.. so this is a very low pressure buzz method. This tape buzz seem to accelerate recovery and energize lips - how so? Magic. No patent- as far as I know - on this method so its not going to cost you much to try!!

Aidan.. good luck.. hope something here helps..cheers for now and stay safe
Steve in Helsinki.
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Last edited by steve0930 on Fri May 07, 2021 12:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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royjohn
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Aidan,
Beyond what's already been said, a couple of things...one is that what I would propose is an "embouchure consult" with a good chop doc. This doesn't necessarily mean lessons, just one or two sessions to see whether your embouchure is exactly where it is supposed to be...and I suspect not.

I would suggest that you be careful never to play tired and to rest as much as you play. This means resting during practice sessions as well as between them. Always fresh lips.

Another thing that you could try is the pencil exercise. I'm sure you can google it and find instructions. You basically hold up an unsharpened #2 pencil with your lip muscles for from 1 to about 3 minutes. Just do it between practice sessions after some rest or after your last practice at night. This builds up your muscles for the compression you need for high notes.

You might also try some lip buzzing. You can't really play much higher than you can buzz, so try some buzzing and try rolling in your lips to create some compression. The area of the buzz is very small when you get to the high notes and for me there is quite a bit of roll-in. If you can buzz the note, you can play it, so play around with buzzing single notes and then with simple songs like Happy Birthday, etc.

Hope some of this is helpful. Persist, you will get there!
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kalijah
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most range problems are not due to lack of strength. And many of the approaches listed are simply reinforcing a HIGH EFFORT approach, and will develop habits in that regard. Your range will suffer.

Strength building has its place but must be in the context of complete development.

The primary missing ingredient in the popular approaches are how to decrease the EFFORT required.

You can make a very quick improvement in range by learning to play with less effort across the entire range. But you MUST begin by reducing the effort of the lowest and softest notes first.

There are "fine control" exercises and there are "strengthening" exercise.

You need to be doing far more work on fine control. And strengthening exercises only sparingly. And 20 minutes a day is not enough.

You will get far more than enough strengthening , (and excessive fatigue) from your band music rehearsal. To add buzzing and other high effort approaches would be madness and will lead to excessive fatigue or even irreparable damage.

Your personal practice should be 100 percent fine control / low effort. I can show you how to approach it.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 6:34 am    Post subject: Re: Developing better range Reply with quote

TheAidanAU wrote:
Hello everyone,

I am not sure if this is the right place to post, since it says in the description of "High range development" "double C or higher", I have only been playing for about 4 years and I am not at the level I think I should be at. I can only play a high C at best (two octaves above the C that most beginners play as their first note) when I am lucky. I am currently starting marching band, and many of the pieces are very range-challenging. I believe that I can play the speed, but not the range. Is there anything I can do daily to improve this range? I try to practice at least 20-30 minutes every day, but it does not seem like I am getting any better. Thank you for your help.


I'm guessing you are in 9th grade?
20-30 minutes per day is good for a beginner, but the truth is the better you get the more you need to practice.
That being said, even more important is what you practice and yet even more important is how you practice. This is the part that you can't learn from books or the internet. A qualified teacher needs to hear you play and prescribe a plan specific to you.
Be careful who you get advice from, especially on this forum. There are many self-styled "experts" who have no business giving advice.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The surest way to develop your range is to work with a sufficiently competent teacher to show you what and how to practice. All other methods are a crapshoot at best.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you been told to 'use less pressure' (just about everyone has!).
The 'gotcha' is that few people actually tell you how to do that - and you try using 'less pressure' on the entire rim and it seems to completely fail.

A BIG part of the goal of 'less pressure' is to make it possible for your upper lip to vibrate - high pressure pins your lip closed so it can't move.
As you get to higher notes, use a little more pressure on your lower lip - YES both lips need to be involved, not only the upper. Try keeping the horn at the same angle and just using your jaw to press your lower lip more firmly onto the rim - not much movement of the jaw is needed.
The additional pressure on the lower lip should REDUCE the pressure on the upper lip to allow the upper lip to function better. For LOW notes, it is likely you won't need much lower lip pressure at all.

It is a SKILL to use the best balance of:
upper/lower lip pressure,
lip tension,
resistance to air flow,
air speed/pressure.
It is NOT a muscle contest, or being able to bear the pain.
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drboogenbroom
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm guessing you are in 9th grade?
20-30 minutes per day is good for a beginner, but the truth is the better you get the more you need to practice.
That being said, even more important is what you practice and yet even more important is how you practice. This is the part that you can't learn from books or the internet. A qualified teacher needs to hear you play and prescribe a plan specific to you.
Be careful who you get advice from, especially on this forum. There are many self-styled "experts" who have no business giving advice.


Quote:
The surest way to develop your range is to work with a sufficiently competent teacher to show you what and how to practice. All other methods are a crapshoot at best.

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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the best to ever do it says this:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6YZF0nNm8eY
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Developing better range Reply with quote

Not an expert, so disregard my advice if you will, but I'm agreeing with those that recommend getting a good teacher. I've been stuck at pretty much the range you're at for over two decades. I also believed I simply needed to practice more, but my technique was wrong and I practiced the wrong thing, hence I made little to no progress.

Make sure you play correctly first (and a teacher can be a great way to do that), and then practice a lot. It'll be a lot more productive.

TheAidanAU wrote:
I am not at the level I think I should be at.


Never been there, nor do I think I'll ever be. It took me almost 30 years to get to a level that that at least makes me feel confident I don't totally suck. For me that's progress.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2021 4:49 am    Post subject: Re: Developing better range Reply with quote

hibidogrulez wrote:
Not an expert, so disregard my advice if you will, but I'm agreeing with those that recommend getting a good teacher. I've been stuck at pretty much the range you're at for over two decades. I also believed I simply needed to practice more, but my technique was wrong and I practiced the wrong thing, hence I made little to no progress.

Make sure you play correctly first (and a teacher can be a great way to do that), and then practice a lot. It'll be a lot more productive.

TheAidanAU wrote:
I am not at the level I think I should be at.


Never been there, nor do I think I'll ever be. It took me almost 30 years to get to a level that that at least makes me feel confident I don't totally suck. For me that's progress.


A common story.
I have a 73 year old student who just played his first high E ever.
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gwood66
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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2021 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aiden,

Like others here I am not an "expert". I will try to give you some direct answers that you can implement now, while you look for a teacher. (some of this may be repeat advice) Nobody on this forum can really give you specific advice, because none of us have seen or heard you play.

Find or create a basic routine that includes fundamentals that you play every day. This is in addition to the music that you are currently practicing. There are no magic notes or routines, however, your routine needs to hit the different fundamental areas. This will keep your playing balanced.

The routine would look something like this:

https://www.gregwingtrumpet.com/uploads/2/1/4/0/21407028/20_minute_routine_revised_june_2013.pdf

or this

https://www.lonokeschools.org/cms/lib/AR01001483/Centricity/Domain/95/Trumpet%20Warmup.pdf

You can get a newer version here:

https://www.ultrapureoils.com/free-sheet-music-for-trumpet

Some Method Book you should check out:

Embouchure Builder by Lowell Little
Irons 27 Groups of Exercises
Clarke Technical Studies
Arban Complete Conservatory Method

Some free versions of Clarke and Arban can be had here:

http://www.bbtrumpet.com/the-pops-mclaughlin-trumpet-foundation-page/

You will probably gain a few notes over the next few months just by practicing 30 more minutes a day.

Ensure that you are resting enough during your practice sessions. After you play an exercise (6 to 9 bars), remove the horn from you lips and rest for approximately the same amount of time. After 20-30 minutes of playing take a 5 minute break. Your goal should be to keep you lips as fresh as possible while practicing. Rest before you get worn out, not when you get worn out.

High notes are more about coordination than brute force. Its like a recipe. Everything has to be in the right proportion (air, tongue level, lip to lip pressure)

Learn not to overblow. Overblowing leads to the using to much mouthpiece pressure death spiral.

Dont strain or contort your face to "hit" notes. This leads to bad habits that have to be undone later.
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mafields627
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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2021 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend watching this clinic by Wayne Bergone: https://youtu.be/hwbN-gEe0sc

There are a lot of great ideas in there that can be applied in many situations.

Edit...I'm going to add a few things here based on my own OPINIONS.

1) Many young trumpet players need to focus on TONE before range. Good tone is a function of an optimally functioning embouchure and range can be an outgrowth of that. When I judge all-state tryouts I hear many players come through with pinched, strained, and airy tones. There is no flexibility and no range. I believe that is a result of....

2) The lips not touching inside the mouthpiece. Now that idea is a direct opposite of what Wayne Bergeron talks about in the clinic video, but many of my students have improved in tone, flexibility, and range when they stop pinning the lips apart with the mouthpiece and simply let the lips touch when they start to play.

3) Find your old beginning band book (or ask your band director for one) and start at #1 playing the book up an octave. Or, do what many have done, and pick a melody like Twinkle Twinkle and start transposing up a half-step at a time. Back off on the volume and approach the upper register SOFTLY.

4) Coordination is necessary for a strong upper register. When you are having to manipulate or force the upper register then something is out of coordination -- lips, air, gear. Unless you are playing something far outside the norms, remove gear from the equation.
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TrumpTrooper
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

very gooood
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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royjohn
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi TheAdianAU,
I already posted some ideas here, but recently I went to the <wilktone.com> website and read his ten part series "Embouchure 101." It gets a little involved, but once you read thru it you will have typed your embouchure and your preferred embouchure motion and you should be able to play your high C and above pretty easily with a little practice after that.

There are lots of people who have trouble with high range and that seems to be down to improperly placed/used embouchures. The story is told of Armando Ghitalla giving a workshop. Ghitalla taught a guy off the street a little roll in and this volunteer was able to play a high C right off. He got tired quickly, but he was able to play it. I would say this proves that it isn't voodoo or years of practice, but correct embouchure placement.
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