I've recently had a younger student of mine ask how to play in the higher register, so, first off I was curious at how he thought "screamer" notes are acheived. This was his response: "Lip slurs, the pencil exercise, and blowing hard...?" Now, I of course was astounded at such an answer and had to ask where he heard this and alas, "The Internet"...Of course, I had to see what he meant and it amazes me to no end to see all the "INSTANT RANGE" ads put up, and considering the todays youth spends a lot of time on the internet its no suprise people would like to take avantage of them. This boy, might I add, seems amazed when I told him no, but he was happy to learn I had an answer.(wether to fix his problem with hitting the high C or to fufil the amazement all younger kids have with this range I'm not quite sure.)I told him as follows: "Its clear to me you think lip strength is what gets this register, and no doubt you merely said "blow hard" because you hear people say it all the time, but truely understanding what they mean might help your greatly. First off, lip strength has nothing to do with range, the pencil exercise, those slurs, picture those as a workout, if you use a 5 pound dumbbell for 40 reps, wheres it get you? More endurance. Now try something for me,puff your cheeks as hard as you can, you'll notice no air leaks from your mouth because the muscles there are already strong enough. Approaching to high register from a brutish position will never get you past that C, its entirely techinqiue." Many teachers today make a grave mistake when helping younger players. They say breath from your stomach, which, yes, thats correct...but you forgot to tell them they still need to fill they're chest up too. Kids will do what you tell them strictly because they assume you know what your speaking about and will get them where they need to be. Now of course you've heard high air speed helps with the upper register but no one seems to be able to explain it clearly. I first run my students through breathing exercises before I move to anything else, starting with breathing correctly. Take a deep breath from your stomach till its filled, now, with that filled take another deep breath in your chest, finally pull your abs in tightly. Fill that pressure in your chest? Thats what plays high notes. I use this in my explanation to students. 1+1=2(compressed) 1 unit of air from your stomach, 1 unit of air in your chest, added in 1 space, they get compressed. To get the oral cavity ready simply say "ah", you can feel it open your throat. A lot of people use different sounds for tongue arch and tonguing in general, I teach my students to use "too" (With exceptions to double and triple tonguing) because it works in all registers, plus, after they tongue the note, "too", they're tongue is left in a position flowing the air smoothly, like saying "ooo", which greatly helps tone quality. As for arch, I don't have them use ah, ooo, eee, and hiss, saying "ah" for the entire low register...D and below, petals too... Thats a lot for that one setting to cover smoothly. Rather, minor adjustments for each note seems much more effective. Now, to control your pitch in this register, its entirely the tongue. Move it up, you play higher because your focusing the air stream more, go lower and it'll be lower. Simple. When I first teach students how to do this, its common to have a quiet, uncontrolled, squealing sound...Hey, you've never did it before... Its part of the reason high note artists are so famous, it takes a lot of practice to control it and put volume in it. Simple long tones can fix a lot of these issues but other then that, you just need to give it time. People have spent years trying to perfect it, don't expect a DHC instantly, and strictly for people in high school or below. Even if you can, I don't suggest going as high as you can, build it from the bottom up. My student had an F above high C after I helped him, but I told him not to go higher then the C he used to struggle with to ensure he doesn't ruin himself. I hoped this helped you all in some way. This is much easier in person of course, and if you don't, I'd recommend getting a private teacher to handle such things as a lot can go wrong (mostly bad habits).
never trust any forum about how to play trumpet
especially this one
it will always be a bunch of amateurs trying to give each other advice that they really know nothing about just to make themselves
sound smart and raise their self esteem
The upper register has been mostly natural to me. My music major friends say it has a lot to do with my mouth cavities. But, practice has helped my tone tremendously. I constantly run my scales and arpeggios and warm both up and down when playing. Just last week, I was told my band is need of a screamer trumpet next year, and was told to switch to a certain mouthpiece. I've tested them all, and come to the conclusion that I can play smoother and higher on a Getzen 5C than with a Schilke 12A4a, 14A, or 14A4a. I don't quite get that, but again, I'm not a music ed major yet. Stuck in engineering. Those breathing exercises are going to start tomorrow, and I hope to increase my range and endurance by leaps and bounds by this fall. Thanks for the help on it. By the way, come see "my band" this fall, or watch us on tv as our Bobcats take on the OSU Bucks. Thanks again.
Ohio University Marching 110
^^^^MY BAND^^^^, lol.
There is no magic potion, just lots of repetitive work on the basics. Of course breath support, diaphragm control and strength, and breathing technique should be learned in the process, but it is a process. How does one build up to be a world class weight lifter? Through a slow process of repetitive work on the basics. Just like the world class athlete, the high soaring world class trumpeter is an exception. There are not many world class anythings. Now I don't want to discourage any young player from striving for the high note or the great stamina, but it takes some talent and a lot of hard work and determination. There is no technique for high notes. There are good practices that, when used, support and encourage high tone production, but you have to have money in the bank before you can write checks. Work hard but relax.
And don't listen to theories about who shouldn't be able to hit high notes because of lip shape, etc. I've seen this on other forums as well. Just do the work and get results. I have had many students who shouldn't be able to play by those standards. A GREAT trumpeter who played in my band during our college years, had much greater range than I did. He could make it scream! And he had that "widow's peak" lip the other thread speaks of. I guess he didn't know his lip couldn't produce those beautiful fat high notes. I used my friend's practice methods, and I was soon right there with him.
Try for a centered lip position with the mouthpiece. The musculature of the embouchure is strongest there and has the best surrounding muscle support at that position. Read Herbert Clark's writings about embouchure formation.