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Author Topic: High Range on Trombone  (Read 15269 times)
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redbackjam
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« on: Mar 25, 2012, 09:32PM »

Hi
I've been trying to work on my range for a while now, and a week ago, I was able to play up to a high Ab (not comfortably and sounded bad, but I was able to play it). However, after looking up how to play higher, everyone said to make my lips tighter to make a higher frequency. I tried this a couple of days ago, and i was able to barely play a high Bb! It seemed a bit weird that I was able to play a whole note higher so I tried doing glissandi's to the Bb to check if I was changing my lip position or something, but the only thing I felt changing was my lips getting tighter, and my lips scrunched together so the mouthpiece was covering a bit more of my mouth. Yeah I had to put a bit more pressure on my lips, but since it was my first time, I think over time I will get better and put less pressure on my lipis.
I was wondering if I am working on my high range wrong? Meaning, am I doing something that you shouldn't do?
Thanks for your help!
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tbn ervin

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 26, 2012, 01:47PM »

Hi.
You are entering a wonderful world of practice. I don't know if I am the best person to give you an advice but, I do practice my high range quite a lot (an example of my high range use could be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkiUqJ16swc), I would suggest a few ideas:
1. Take it easy and SLOWLY
2. Practice a lot of lip slurs (A LOT)
3. Pay a lot of attention to your air support, make every note sound good
4. Maybe you want to ask a teacher for good exercises for that
5. You might want to consult a good book that has also good exercises in it (Charles Colin's lip flexibilities)

In general, I think that adding pressure is not the best way to achieve high range.
High range to my experience is achieved only by slowly gathering lip strength and flexibility through daily exercise.

Good luck on your journey !
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alownx

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« Reply #2 on: Mar 27, 2012, 09:37AM »

I second everything tbn_ervin said. The Colin book is excellent for upper register.

And regarding pressure, more pressure is bad. I find that I actually pull away from the mouthpiece a bit when playing extremely high, like C5 (two above bass staff) and higher. Usually on bad days, I can get F5 (two above staff) and really good days F#5 or G5.

But, as mentioned, take it slow. High register can be quite taxing and you can hurt yourself if you take things too quickly. Pick up a copy of the Colin book and work through it. It has flexibility exercises in it that are progressive in range. My suggestion, since you can play the high Bb, is play the exercises that go to the high Bb for a week or so to strengthen the embouchure (assuming you are practicing daily for maybe 30-60 minutes). Maybe play some Rochut that goes to the high Bb. The following week, if you feel ready, move the the ones that go to high C. Spend a week there. Move to the D then next. You get the drill. But remember, play other things as well during your practice sessions. Give the chops rests from playing the high notes. After playing in the high register, it's always good to play some lower register stuff to relax the chops.

If any time things start to hurt, you are going too quickly.


And  don't get discouraged. One of my trombone teachers told me when I was impatient with my progress....

"Rome wasn't built in a day."

The same goes for trombone :). Slow and steady wins the race :).
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timothy42b
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 27, 2012, 11:46AM »

Even one lesson with a good teacher might go a long way to remove some of the mystery behind range.

Also, while exercises should help, sometimes they don't work unless you do them right.  I've several times realized my concept of how to do an exercise was wrong only after hearing somebody demonstrate how to do it correctly. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 27, 2012, 11:21PM »

For the longest time I thought I would never have any high range.  Sure I could hit the high notes.  But there is a difference between hitting (more like clubbing) and playing notes.  Then one day my teacher introduced me to lip slurs and lets just say I am much improved.  In other words I send what the above posters are saying on lip slurs and flexibility exercises.

Long tones are perhaps equally important, but it is good to do both.  Too much of one or the other is not good.
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Practiceathome
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 27, 2012, 11:22PM »

oops, typo.  I said I send what the others are saying.  Meant to say I SECOND what they are saying.
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Doodle92
« Reply #6 on: Mar 28, 2012, 02:17AM »

Listen to Dave Steinmeyer, as far as a beautiful sound in the high range he is the absoulute best. Alot of guys can hit a Double High C, but not everyone can hit it like Dave.
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Schwalbz

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« Reply #7 on: Mar 28, 2012, 09:03AM »

What I use for high range is bordogni Etudes up an octave.  They are super efficient for this because they require lots of control in the high register (because you need to lip slur to surrounding notes).  Some bordogni's are high not up an octave and they are a great way to excel in the high register. 

Another thing that I use is the Alessi Warmup Routine.The alessi routine has a section in it with just arpeggios.  I alter them by starting from as low as I can play to as high as I can play and back down only lip sluring.  This forces you to keep the same consistent embouchure through all your registers.

And make sure you are playing the horn in the same HEALTHY way as you would play in your lower register.  Lots of people will tighten way more then necessary and bad habits can emerge.   Idea!
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timothy42b
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 28, 2012, 10:08AM »

Listen to Dave Steinmeyer, as far as a beautiful sound in the high range he is the absoulute best. Alot of guys can hit a Double High C, but not everyone can hit it like Dave.

I think the evidence is that he is an outlier.

I imagine most pros can squeak a double Bb, even those who don't specialize in high range.  But Dave can hammer that note. 

I would guess that most of us, playing properly, would eventually have a usable high F? 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 28, 2012, 09:43PM »

"Think product, not methodology." The way to have a reliable upper register and have it sound free and easy is to not think about how you are technically producing the tone. Instead, focus on the product. Focus on hearing the pitch before you play it and the sound in your head. The next important thing to focus on is the type of air stream you are using. Most people tend to focus on the embouchure and blame their chops for poor upper register. This is a mistake. The real problem is in your head. "Don't reach for notes with your chops, reach with your brain." -Arnold Jacobs

When a good vocalist is singing a beautiful melody, do you think they are thinking about what their vocal chords are doing? Of Course not, they are only thinking about the song they are singing and how they want to sound. Have a think about it.

Steven
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timothy42b
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« Reply #10 on: Mar 29, 2012, 09:15AM »

The next important thing to focus on is the type of air stream you are using. Most people tend to focus on the embouchure and blame their chops for poor upper register. Steven

I dunno if that's really the case.  I've heard "it's all in the air" at least 100 times for every time I've heard it's in the chops. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 29, 2012, 10:24AM »

This is the hierarchy..... Ear > Air > Embouchure

I see so many trombonists who put the horn to their face and hope that that the note they are trying to play comes out, instead of knowing that the note is going to come out. This is because they aren't clearly hearing the pitch and how they want to sound in their head before they play. Many many players are too concerned with the trombone instead of making music and how the music should sound. Way too much paralysis by analysis going on on this forum. Just hear how you want to sound and follow that sound. Don't think too much about how you are doing something. If it sounds good then do it. There is no right way for everyone. If you are  practicing correctly your technique will come naturally. Focus on being a musician not a trombone player and your playing should fall into place more naturally. To play a brass instrument well is a very simple process. To play a brass instrument poorly is a very complicated process.  Good!
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timothy42b
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 29, 2012, 11:09AM »

Just hear how you want to sound and follow that sound. Don't think too much about how you are doing something.

You're entitled to your opinion, of course.

Mine differs.   I think that is a one-size-fits-all approach that works well for some people and not at all for others. 

But I don't want to convince you, I'm perfectly happy to agree to disagree on this one. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #13 on: Mar 29, 2012, 01:55PM »

Somebody help me here.  With trombone when speaking of high notes what is high C high F etc.  and what is double high?

Is middle C    the same as high C?  or is high C  ?  So when timothy says that most of us playing correctly can hit a usable high F what note is that?

I've been playing for almost three weeks and have been surprised at how quickly my range is growing At first I could barely get  but I already have stretched an octave from there almost to the next F two ledger lines above the staff and can hit the E right below consistently.

I guess I just want to know what notes people are refering to.
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DudeRubble

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« Reply #14 on: Mar 29, 2012, 02:13PM »

  Is the high C people refer to.  The high F would be  .  I haven't stumbled onto music that requires higher than that F yet but I'm sure there probably is some.  I've heard some people squeak out Bb above that F but I'm not quite there yet myself.  I top out around  these days.
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duderubble
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 29, 2012, 02:19PM »

So I have a ways to go, lol.  Of course if I continue at the current rate of range increase I'll be there in a few weeks (I kid, I kid).
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DudeRubble

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« Reply #16 on: Mar 29, 2012, 03:01PM »

I'm sure a lot of these guys will tell you the same thing and already have somewhat, but having a big range doesn't mean a whole lot if you can't play them in context. 

Be careful not to fall into the category of working on range at the expense of flexibility and accuracy as range will come over time as a side effect of working on other things.
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Bonefide
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« Reply #17 on: Mar 29, 2012, 04:26PM »

my high range has improved the most since I started doing fundamentals with a dedicated mental focus on producing a great tone efficiently. Mostly between  and  ...  Don't know works for me.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 29, 2012, 06:30PM »

So when timothy says that most of us playing correctly can hit a usable high F what note is that?

I don't know that for a fact, that's why there was a question mark at the end of the sentence, but it seems reasonable.  I'm talking about this note:

It seems logical there are notes everybody can eventually reach, and notes that only those with special talent get.  But that may be wrong too. 

Bill Watrous said to make this G  the center of your comfortable range.  I heard Doug Elliott say the same thing about the F    (probably not for bass trombone players <smiley>)  Anyway, that's what I try to do. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 29, 2012, 06:48PM »

Wow, that seems a long way away.  So far I've been playing familiar songs and working on intonation, speed, learning the positions and feel of each note and gradually working my way up on range.  My goal is really just to have fun so I haven't been working on any drills other than a Bb scale and long tones and glissing up.  But perhaps I need to take a month of lessons and get myself started right.  I can't see paying for lessons long term given that I don't really aspire to greatness or any kind of competition, but some initial help couldn't hurt.
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DudeRubble

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