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Author Topic: High Range on Trombone  (Read 15234 times)
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kmattman

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« Reply #20 on: Mar 29, 2012, 07:34PM »

I think getting with a good teacher when you're first starting out is incredibly important.  A good teacher will be able to get you started with good fundamentals so that 10 years later you don't have to go back and fix something you never knew was a problem in the first place, not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything =P
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« Reply #21 on: Mar 30, 2012, 05:13AM »

Wow, that seems a long way away. 

I doubt if anybody worries about the high F their first few years.  I think it will wait for you!  <g>  Maybe thinking that it is eventually within reach helps.  When I was in high school we didn't know that note was possible, we thought high Bb was the top end, and difficult. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 30, 2012, 11:48AM »

I think getting with a good teacher when you're first starting out is incredibly important.  A good teacher will be able to get you started with good fundamentals so that 10 years later you don't have to go back and fix something you never knew was a problem in the first place, not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything =P

Yeah, when i was a Sophomore in HS I finally started taking trombone lessons. I think my first $200 of lessons were spent on the earliest 10 pages of Walter Beeler's Method for Trombone Book 1.

You'll have to drop the dough sooner or later, might as well get it taken care of when your bad habits aren't ingrained that badly.
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« Reply #23 on: Mar 30, 2012, 01:02PM »

The quick route to developing the high register is a good kick or knee in the crotch.....oh wait, that's for vocalists.
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redbackjam
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2012, 10:00PM »

Hi
I'm back again.
I could ask my private instructor, but honestly speaking, although he is a good player and all, I sometimes worry that I am messing up on my basics still be cause that's what happened to my sister on flute. Although she had a pretty good teacher, when she switched to an even better one, the new one told her that she had it all wrong and had to start from scratch again...
Anyways, I was wondering, does your embrochure change when playing in the upper range. I know it gets tighter and all, but does your upper lips ever overlap your lower lips?
or do you have the same embrochure as when your playing a middle Bb?
Thanks for all the help by the way!
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JP
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« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2012, 10:57PM »

Why are brass players afraid of playing high notes! Usually, because they do not play that range often enough.

You have to be comfortable in your "jeans". Practice your higher notes daily as part of your routine, then they just become other notes you play...which they are.

I mostly play bass trombone, but I often get parts with many leger lines above the staff. Rather than freak out ("OMGD that is really high!") I just think of the musical context, how is it suppossed to sound.

To prepare, my daily routine covers 5 octaves, which I usually do in about 20 minutes. As a tuba player friend tells me, "I don't need those notes, but I am glad I can play them."

In other words, in your personal practice, accomplish goals beyond your expectation. Be better than you need to be.

For range, think of the music, not the "high" notes. Put your brain into the sound you want, not how "fix" your lips. The principal trumpet in my local orchestra says, "Don't think high, think like a piano. Extended range you need to change your reach". Imagine a keyboard, as you blow low to high, reduce the effort and focus on pitch. Yes, some physical intensity will kick in, but accept that and only think of the pitches you want. If you are in shape (lots of practice and private lessons with accomplished players) it falls into place easily.

That said, some time in the practice room working your lips is a good idea. Then walk out of the practice room, play that horn the best you can!
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« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2012, 02:59AM »

Hi Elijasonel, you are thinking about the embouchure alot, (I have seen the spelling embrouchure on some net sites, but that is actually a misunderstanding of the word)

I prefer to think: 1 the sound of the tone, 2 the airflow, 3 the contraction and relaxing of face muscles.

However, since your currently interest is about lips: most young players make the lips to tight in the high range, probably because of an insufficient air flow. The embouchure changes for different ranges, but that is a question that is often misunderstood, ask your teacher obout it.
Many players let the upper lip slightly overlap the lower, but that does not work for other players.
I know quite well that I did not help your playing with this; nobody will be able to help you giving “free lessons” on this site.
Go with your teacher, she can hear and see your playing and that is necessary, embouchure is not a universal model, we are so much different, the same advice does not fit all.
The best advices so far, listen to good players!
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BGuttman
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« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2012, 04:21AM »

Elijah, PLEASE don't be afraid to ask your teacher.  Don't be gunshy because of a possible impending change in teacher.

Many teachers like to have their students do things "their way" and may make you make big changes.  I would want to first make sure that these changes are necessary and not just a personal prejudice of your teacher.  A really good teacher will know when you need to make a change and when you don't.  If the new teacher just wants to redo everything, get a second opinion first.  But don't discount that the new teacher with the big change may be right and you have developed some bad habits that got by the first teacher (it happens).
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2012, 09:25AM »

I guess I'll throw my two cents in. The first fundamental is to support the note with your air column coming from your diaphragm. Look in the mirror as you play high. Are your neck muscles tightening? Then you are playing wrong. Keep your neck loose. Push the air column with your diaphragm and control the note by using the corners of your mouth to tighten your lips.

Avoid any pressure on your lips that you can. While I know that we all close our apertures as we play higher, try NOT to think of it in this way. Too many times young players try to squeak out these thin, ugly notes by pinching their chops together. Use the air column to blow through the note. If your lip muscles are not developed enough to control the note, you have work to do. But don't pinch or scrunch your lips or close your aperture too far to play a note.

I teach a combination of the Charles Colin Advanced Lip Flexibilities and the playing of slow ballads to get and sustain the high chops.
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Rob Stoneback
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« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2012, 10:39AM »

One of my favorite teaching examples, to reinforce what Bguttman writes and I strongly agree with, is Ralph Sauer in a teaching clinic that I recently viewed online.  He talks about offering guidelines to students, not suggestions or requirements, but guidelines that "you may want to try".  If a teacher tells you that there is only one correct way to do things-his way, my advice is pack up your trombone and find another teacher.

Google Ralph Sauer on youtube and you can watch the video to which I am referencing above.  It will be the first or second search result and it is around 11 minutes.  I found it very useful.
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ssking2b

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« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2012, 12:57PM »

Many good points offered here.  I was told support the breath, use the diphram, and keep the meat in the mouthpiece.  I do lip slurs. In every warm up up into the high register. I also believe you have to know where you are going in the upper stratosphere.  Just reaching for notes is a crap shoot.  Practise them and get them in your ear.  Check out the double high c's in my ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE recording on my web site. In college i was lucky to have a consistant high Bb until I got the above advice and figured out how it worked.
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« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2012, 07:48PM »

Elijah, PLEASE don't be afraid to ask your teacher.  Don't be gunshy because of a possible impending change in teacher.

Many teachers like to have their students do things "their way" and may make you make big changes.  I would want to first make sure that these changes are necessary and not just a personal prejudice of your teacher.  A really good teacher will know when you need to make a change and when you don't.  If the new teacher just wants to redo everything, get a second opinion first.  But don't discount that the new teacher with the big change may be right and you have developed some bad habits that got by the first teacher (it happens).
I am actually refering to my first and current teacher
He's a good one, but not a professional one and I wish to move on to a teacher who is a professional (or almost) that can teach me well. What I am scared of is that my first and current one might be teaching me wrong things because I found out recently from taking lessons that he isn't the best, although he is a good one.
Thanks for all the answers though!
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ssherwick

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« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2012, 07:09AM »

I am actually refering to my first and current teacher
He's a good one, but not a professional one and I wish to move on to a teacher who is a professional (or almost) that can teach me well. What I am scared of is that my first and current one might be teaching me wrong things because I found out recently from taking lessons that he isn't the best, although he is a good one.
Thanks for all the answers though!


If you're going to wait around util you find the "best" teacher you're going to wait a LONG time. "Best" is subjective, no one is the best at everything, some people are just better at some things than others.

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Practiceathome
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« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2012, 10:40AM »

On the subject of BEST: I learned long ago that the best players are not necessarily the best teachers.  I had one who was an OK teacher even though he had a Grammy Nomination, and another teacher who is an equally good player and all of his students it seems go onto becoming professionals.

When you get around to interviewing teachers, try to find out how some of his or her other students have fared, regardless of your teacher's playing ability.  It's the results that count.
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2012, 02:59PM »

Hi
I'm back again.
I could ask my private instructor, but honestly speaking, although he is a good player and all, I sometimes worry that I am messing up on my basics still be cause that's what happened to my sister on flute. Although she had a pretty good teacher, when she switched to an even better one, the new one told her that she had it all wrong and had to start from scratch again...
Anyways, I was wondering, does your embrochure change when playing in the upper range. I know it gets tighter and all, but does your upper lips ever overlap your lower lips?
or do you have the same embrochure as when your playing a middle Bb?
Thanks for all the help by the way!

It's also the case that a lot of people will shy away from describing specific embouchure motions because it is a very complex study which is easy to get wrong. In terms of whether or not your upper lip should overlap your lower lip, as Sven said, it varies. One way to look at this from a slightly different angle is to think of blowing your airstream more toward the edge of the mouthpiece cup for the high range, and more toward the middle, directly down the bore, for the low range. But, some people can't tell what is going on inside the mouthpiece, so this visualization is sometimes useless.

Also, a better way of thinking of the emboucure 'tightening' would be that in the high range, the airstream becomes faster and narrower.
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redbackjam
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« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2012, 10:23PM »

Sorry for the wording, but I am not trying to find the "best" teacher because yes, that would take a LONG time. I know that there are people good at playing, but not at teaching as well as vice versa. This goes the same with school teachers and all that. I am just trying to find one who has successful students, but I think I found one and will try contacting him soon.

As for my range, I had a couple of questions. Would it be bad to ONLY work on range for about a month? Meaning would this not help much on my range or would this be benificial? Or is the range something that needs everything else as well? The only reason I am asking this is because I NEED to increase my range very fast, very soon. I am NOT saying this because I want to "show off" or something, but rather because I can't even hit notes that we play in orchestra or band and it is very embarassing. Since the school year is almost over, I plan on working on my range a lot in the summer. However, I'm not sure how to aproach it.
I could play a G comfortably and make a very "airy" sounding A. My goal is to try to reach a D by the end of the summer, although I know that is a long way away.
Would it be best to work on everything and include range with it?
Or would doing, lets say, 20 min. of range, rest for an hour, then 20 min. again, rest for an hour, and so on? (while still working on other stuff a little, but mainly focusing on range for 20 min. at a time)?
Thanks!
I know this is really rushed and all but thanks for everything so far!
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BGuttman
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« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2012, 03:19AM »

Probably one of the most tiring exercises I did was to extend range.  Generally I would work on it until I "pooped out" and then not for the second day.

Going from G to D above in 2 months is a REAL stretch.  A more realistic goal might be to get to Bb.

One big issue is that if you aren't doing it right you can really cause damage and you may wind up like your sister having to almost start over again.  I don't think this is what you want.  Have your current teacher take a good look at how you are trying to hit high notes.  Denis Wick had a description of "when the notes go up, the corners of the mouth go down".  He was railing about a technique common among British Brass Band players called "smile and press" where what you do to play higher is to pull a smile and press the mouthpiece on harder.  This is bad in more ways than you can count.

How much practice is enough?  When I was working the "Security in the Upper Register" exercises, I was instructed to try to play a particular arpeggio no more than 3 times if I missed the upper note.  And not to practice high the next day.  What is happening is that you are doing muscle building, and your body needs a day to consolidate the changes.

Good luck.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2012, 04:39AM »

  What is happening is that you are doing muscle building, and your body needs a day to consolidate the changes.

Good luck.

I'm not sure if we're actually building muscle or if it's a skill thing; I tend to think the latter.
But it doesn't really matter, because fatigue is quick to interfere with the skill part of it as well. 

Range, for 20 minutes multiple times a day?  That would kill my chops quickly.  20 seconds multiple times a day might work. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2012, 08:49AM »

I'm not sure if we're actually building muscle or if it's a skill thing; I tend to think the latter.
But it doesn't really matter, because fatigue is quick to interfere with the skill part of it as well. 

Range, for 20 minutes multiple times a day?  That would kill my chops quickly.  20 seconds multiple times a day might work. 

My teacher always told me, "the only way to get good at playing high, is by playing high a lot."  And i've never seen stronger chops then his.. 
I think its great to play high a LOT, it is good to play to exhaustion, but not too much or you will cause injury.  It really isnt that hard..  Do things like try to articulate cleany 10 straight times starting on F  Tenor Clef   And do this as high as you can possibly go..  Then take a break!!

Rochut's up an octave are also very efficient in promoting stability in the upper register.

Danny
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« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2012, 12:18PM »

Would it be bad to ONLY work on range for about a month? Or is the range something that needs everything else as well?

As others (especially Bruce Guttman) have said, you should not just concentrate on playing high. First of all, this can lead to a tendency to squeak notes out and leave your lower range thin. I gauge how well my chops are doing not just by how high I can play, but also by how full my pedal tones are. Besides, once you get up high, you still want to keep some kind of flexibility.

Again, to repeat the other sentiments, don't beat up your chops. Practice range until you start feeling tired; anything beyond this will defeat the result you want. Remember, range takes time. Support notes properly and control them correctly and the range will develop.
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Rob Stoneback
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