Improving your high range and how to play the trumpet

Article by Clint “Pops” McLaughlin – reprinted from Windplayer Magazine issue #64 I think the biggest problem with playing high and endurance (both go hand-in-hand) has to do with being impatient. When you start learning how to play the trumpet as a kid, you want to get a bigger sound immediately, so rather than take the months and years it takes for a regular embouchure to get a big sound, you start opening your mouth wider than it really should be. And so you immediately get a bigger sound, but there is no way to add compression and get range out of it. The hole (aperture) is too big. Then when younger students try to play high, they use mouthpiece pressure and pull the horn into their face, because their lips are so open. It’s pretty much like stepping on a dough-nut: teeth on one side and mouthpiece on the […]

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Improve trumpet or cornet in days

Trumpet and Cornet advice Lip Buzz (no mouthpiece) 5 – 10 minutes a day. This will help you to go to a closed aperture setting for cornet or trumpets. Do it for 4 weeks and then you should stop. Too much buzzing can stiffen the chops some. I only lip buzz about a minute a day now. Put a pencil between your lips and push the lips together. The lips should hold the pencil straight out for 3-4 minutes a day. The muscles that really start burning are the ones you use to play high. Never do more than 4 minutes a day. Work on soft playing. So soft that you almost can NOT hear it. That will help you learn to control a small lip aperture for playing high on trumpets or cornet. Project the notes where they belong Low G rolls out of the bell Low C goes […]

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How to build musical range

There is a huge difference between playing music and “WORKING on your range”. I worked on my range 30 years ago and forgot how to play. That’s one reason I ended up at Jacobys’. The weight lifting / marathon running concept applied to trumpet playing leads to failure. Every aspect of playing that is important in the lower and middle register is also important above the staff. ie tone, phrasing, smooth slurs, clean tonguing. We learn these by playing music like the Concone studies. Well if you want those same skills in the upper register then play music in the upper register. A month of playing those same Concone studies an octave up will do more for your playing than a year of arpeggios, scales , pushups or anything else. Yes it is HARD to do. It is NOT fun and since you will not perfect it in a day […]

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Set point

When are people taught about a set point? ALL beginning students ARE taught the concept. As first year students the range falls between low g and 4th space e. They are taught to set for a second line g. This prevents the need for lots of shifting, curling…… The problem comes in year 2 when the range increases the center of range starts moving up. The set point should as well. Poorly trained teachers are the reason this and a hundred other things are not taught. If you use a pivot and open (lower) your jaw as you descend. The g on the staff setting should be easy to add to your full time playing. The concept is about setting closer to the needed top note than the needed bottom notes. In some groups setting on a middle c might be enough. In another ie playing Si Si MF (up […]

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Range lesson

1st lesson for range. Well the real key as always is to move the air faster and farther. To keep abdominal reserve strength work on a natural approach below 4th space e . If you place your hand on your stomach and sing a g or c you will find that you do not tense your muscles. Check to see if you are using this same relaxed approach to playing. It only takes a day or two to learn this and you have more strength to speed up the air in the high c area. For the mental part there are several points. Low notes are more non-directional than high ones. All you want to do is let them roll out of the bell onto the floor. Nice and relaxed using warm breath (haaa). The higher notes are directional and you want to shoot them through the horn to the […]

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To play high

To play high you must: 1. Relax and conserve strength in the lower register. 2. Play with a lip touching embouchure. I can lip buzz over double high c. Buzzing builds chops and teaches you the right mouth position. 3. Use A Lip Set Point. If I set for a g on top of the staff I can relax and pivot to play low G and F#. I can also add air and compression to go over double high c. 4. Use A Pivot. 5. Learn how and when to add compression. NOT just tighten your belly some. Really squeeze all around your torso. NOT chest. 6. Use Timed Breathing. If you take a full breath you can NOT get but about a 30% compression compared to a half breath. 7. Use LESS mouthpiece pressure. It only shuts the aperture and keeps the notes from coming out. 8. Play SONGS […]

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