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Author Topic: Advice on Hitting High Notes?  (Read 15940 times)
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Pre59

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« Reply #120 on: Mar 24, 2017, 04:36AM »

If you can take the time to sift through these video's, there's some good slowed down shots of high and low note playing.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wilktone+embouchure
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« Reply #121 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:01AM »

I was thinking of responding yesterday but I took a pain pill instead. 

No, not because of the discussion.  Kidney stones. 

I'll share my thoughts now.  I don't claim they are right, nor even that I'll still agree tomorrow.  Sorry I'm going to ramble a little but I just might connect it to Geezer's beloved breath support.

High range is tricky (I used the word carefully rather than hard or difficult) because you have so little margin for error.

A basketball is 9 inches across, and the basket 18.  How can you miss?  Well, when you're really close, a large error in trajectory doesn't hurt.  At three point range, even a tiny error is a fail, you have to be dead on.  Left, right, high, low, too much arch, too flat an arch, anything makes you fail.  Plus, the force required to throw the ball as far as a three point shot is large.  So you must develop that strength, and practicing three point shots becomes tiring.  Finally (running out of analogy here) to become consistent you must repeat that correct combination of aim and strength many times, but in the beginning you do it correctly only a tiny percentage of the time.  It may take you a very long time to do it right even once.  Oh, one more thing, you can throw it that far with pure arm strength, or by using body momentum and weight transfer properly you can throw it the same distance with a fraction of the effort. 

I think there is some similarity to high range, in that you have to do everything right:  upper and lower lip tension, lip overlap, direction of air stream, pressure of mouthpiece, tongue position, breath supply, stuff I haven't even thought of.  The margin for error gets very small up there.  And like the basketball shot, it make take you a long time to hit on the combination to do it right even once - for some people that may be never.  Then you have to repeat it until you own it, without tiring out in the process.  We know it can be done, some people have incredible mastery of it.  The fact we call it incredible is testament to the challenge. 

Hmm.  Not sure the last pill has totally worn off.  Little fuzzy thinking here. 

Anyway, Geezer talks about breath "support," which is in fact the most common term, but I think maybe that's wrong.  Breath "support" is a term that instantly brings our attention to the muscles that do something, but doesn't define what we need.

Here is my assertion:  high range does not require any type of breath support.  It requires a very precisely metered and very precisely steady flow of air.  That's all. 

But, that's a lot.  For any given condition (the note, the dynamic, the lip tension) that air flow has to be exact.  A little too much or too little and it doesn't work. 

Given the right air flow, it doesn't matter if we got there with a boxer's punch proof abs or a relaxed conversational breath.  But you do need a consistent approach for how to get there.  I do have an idea for an approach but I'll save it, I've rambled too long already.  I'm using the term flow exclusively; I think that's all there is.  Pressure is all but nonexistent at these levels and temperature or humidity are just mental images, not reality.
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« Reply #122 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:12AM »

With the risk of becoming annoying, I will still maintain my initial statement:

Whatever the type of player, the soft playing of slurs and lips trills will often intuitively help them to find the needed placement and embouchure movements. They don't need to know all the theory behind. All these analysis can be rather helpful to the teachers.

My lead to embouchure is often sound. If it sounds good, nobody can argue with.

The only real application for all of these observation seems to be to help teachers make educated guesses of what causes a problem (where there is one) and how to relieve it. Still, there will be inavoidable (correct me if I am wrong) process of trials and errors.
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« Reply #123 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:30AM »

I was thinking of responding yesterday but I took a pain pill instead. 

No, not because of the discussion.  Kidney stones. 

I'll share my thoughts now.  I don't claim they are right, nor even that I'll still agree tomorrow.  Sorry I'm going to ramble a little but I just might connect it to Geezer's beloved breath support.

High range is tricky (I used the word carefully rather than hard or difficult) because you have so little margin for error.

A basketball is 9 inches across, and the basket 18.  How can you miss?  Well, when you're really close, a large error in trajectory doesn't hurt.  At three point range, even a tiny error is a fail, you have to be dead on.  Left, right, high, low, too much arch, too flat an arch, anything makes you fail.  Plus, the force required to throw the ball as far as a three point shot is large.  So you must develop that strength, and practicing three point shots becomes tiring.  Finally (running out of analogy here) to become consistent you must repeat that correct combination of aim and strength many times, but in the beginning you do it correctly only a tiny percentage of the time.  It may take you a very long time to do it right even once.  Oh, one more thing, you can throw it that far with pure arm strength, or by using body momentum and weight transfer properly you can throw it the same distance with a fraction of the effort. 

I think there is some similarity to high range, in that you have to do everything right:  upper and lower lip tension, lip overlap, direction of air stream, pressure of mouthpiece, tongue position, breath supply, stuff I haven't even thought of.  The margin for error gets very small up there.  And like the basketball shot, it make take you a long time to hit on the combination to do it right even once - for some people that may be never.  Then you have to repeat it until you own it, without tiring out in the process.  We know it can be done, some people have incredible mastery of it.  The fact we call it incredible is testament to the challenge. 

Hmm.  Not sure the last pill has totally worn off.  Little fuzzy thinking here. 

Anyway, Geezer talks about breath "support," which is in fact the most common term, but I think maybe that's wrong.  Breath "support" is a term that instantly brings our attention to the muscles that do something, but doesn't define what we need.

Here is my assertion:  high range does not require any type of breath support.  It requires a very precisely metered and very precisely steady flow of air.  That's all. 

But, that's a lot.  For any given condition (the note, the dynamic, the lip tension) that air flow has to be exact.  A little too much or too little and it doesn't work. 

Given the right air flow, it doesn't matter if we got there with a boxer's punch proof abs or a relaxed conversational breath.  But you do need a consistent approach for how to get there.  I do have an idea for an approach but I'll save it, I've rambled too long already.  I'm using the term flow exclusively; I think that's all there is.  Pressure is all but nonexistent at these levels and temperature or humidity are just mental images, not reality.

No breath support = no air.

No muscular effort = no work done.

But don't overdo either one.

Relaxed and tension-free effort = finesse. Unless you have re-invented yourself tim, the last vid (or maybe it was a pic) you posted (that I am aware of) showed you looking like an overly-coiled spring ready to snap.

Finesse = success.

With the risk of becoming annoying, I will still maintain my initial statement:

Whatever the type of player, the soft playing of slurs and lip trills will often intuitively help them to find the needed placement and embouchure movements. They don't need to know all the theory behind. All these analysis can be rather helpful to the teachers.

My lead to embouchure is often sound. If it sounds good, nobody can argue with.

The only real application for all of these observation seems to be to help teachers make educated guesses of what causes a problem (where there is one) and how to relieve it. Still, there will be inavoidable (correct me if I am wrong) and process of trials and errors.

Probably THE best idea to live by, if a beginner can trill. Maybe just leave it as "the soft playing of slurs". We probably ought to add glisses into the party mix as well.

I also think there is a lot to be said for 2-octave scales as well as exercises that go up high and repeatedly ping on the very highest of notes within a modestly narrow range, then retreat back down.

...Geezer
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« Reply #124 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:38AM »

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Probably THE best idea to live by, if a beginner can trill. Maybe just leave it as "the soft playing of slurs". We probably ought to add glisses into the party mix as well.

Exactly. Didn't think of glisses, but that's a good idea. As for slurred scales and intervales I thought that it was included in slur soft playing.

It is tonguing and "hitting" high notes, accompanied with a fair amount of adrenalin that often messes everthing up. We all have been probably there  Clever
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« Reply #125 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:43AM »

Exactly. Didn't think of glisses, but that's a good idea. As for slurred scales and intervales I thought that it was included in slur soft playing.

It is tonguing and "hitting" high notes, accompanied with a fair amount of adrenalin that often messes everthing up. We all have been probably there  Clever

Slurred scales? How about across-the-grain slurring? Start on say, a tuning Bb and rapidly slur across-the-grain to a high Bb in 3rd and back, repeatedly. Then start on D in first and do the same thing up to high C in 3rd and back, repeatedly. Then go up to F in 1st, etc. Does that have merit?

I think you've raised a good point that "hitting" high notes might be counter-productive. That's why I prefer the term "pinging".

...Geezer
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« Reply #126 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:47AM »

Being a non-Native English speaker I am not sure what across-the-grain slurring must mean. Sound something like partials slurring. Anyway, it is probably good, I think that we are on the roughly same vibe regarding this question.
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« Reply #127 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:53AM »

Being a non-Native English speaker I am not sure what across-the-grain slurring must mean. Sound something like partials slurring. Anyway, it is probably good, I think that we are on the roughly same vibe regarding this question.

Oh. Okay. "Across-the-grain" slurring means slurring up  from a given note while moving the slide out , or slurring down  from a given note while moving the slide in. It's kinda the opposite of a gliss?

 Good!

...Geezer
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« Reply #128 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:56AM »

I've seen that done by friends-trombonists, but so far I haven't had a go  at it. I'll try to see how it goes  Good!
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« Reply #129 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:57AM »

With the risk of becoming annoying, I will still maintain my initial statement:

Whatever the type of player, the soft playing of slurs and lips trills will often intuitively help them to find the needed placement and embouchure movements. They don't need to know all the theory behind. All these analysis can be rather helpful to the teachers.

I don't think you are annoying; I think you are correct.

But I also think your approach is most suited to one type of player, the type that tends to learn "inner tennis" style, and that approach is very frustrating to some other types of player.  
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« Reply #130 on: Mar 24, 2017, 07:04AM »

I've seen that done by friends-trombonists, but so far I haven't had a go  at it. I'll try to see how it goes  Good!

I'm not positive, but I think  this gentleman is doing "cross-grain-slurs" at about mile marker 3:06.

The Way We Were

...Geezer
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« Reply #131 on: Mar 24, 2017, 07:04AM »

No breath support = no air.

No muscular effort = no work done.

But don't overdo either one.

...Geezer

Ah Geezer, now I have no clue what you are advocating.

You've been hammering breath support, breath support, breath support, in post after post, and now you say "no big deal, just don't overdo."  

How is the OP supposed to interpret your advice?

Quote
Relaxed and tension-free effort = finesse. Unless you have re-invented yourself tim, the last vid (or maybe it was a pic) you posted (that I am aware of) showed you looking like an overly-coiled spring ready to snap

Dang, geezer!  Obviously I'll have to do another video!  

Wait, try this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brgq7fjLAnY

(Very bad form, was roundly criticized by the pros on that other forum)  
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« Reply #132 on: Mar 24, 2017, 07:07AM »

I'm not positive, but I think  this gentleman is doing "cross-grain-slurs" at about mile marker 3:06.

The Way We Were

...Geezer

FWIW, Don Lucas commented on cross-grain or natural (vs legato tongued) slurs at ATW this month.

He said if you advocate all tongued or all natural slurs you are wrong.  Let the music determine what is needed.  Made sense to me, I hadn't thought of it that way.
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« Reply #133 on: Mar 24, 2017, 07:17AM »

Ah Geezer, now I have no clue what you are advocating.

You've been hammering breath support, breath support, breath support, in post after post, and now you say "no big deal, just don't overdo."  

How is the OP supposed to interpret your advice?

Dang, geezer!  Obviously I'll have to do another video!  

Wait, try this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brgq7fjLAnY

(Very bad form, was roundly criticized by the pros on that other forum)  

Gots to keep 'em off balance! Make them think!

Support from a relaxed mental and physical state. Be one with the horn, Grasshoppah!

No, your form looks at least relaxed in that vid. It's the other  ones on your channel where you are torturing a trombone to death. Do you have a tendency to bend the cross-braces on your left-hand grips? And OBTW: that stiff-arm pumping slide technique is the berries! How long did it take you to "master" that?

OBTW: I got a big chuckle out of your "smallest room of the house" retort. I don't know what you were doing in there, but note to self: don't send tim any pics of self.  :D

...Geezer
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« Reply #134 on: Mar 24, 2017, 07:20AM »

FWIW, Don Lucas commented on cross-grain or natural (vs legato tongued) slurs at ATW this month.

He said if you advocate all tongued or all natural slurs you are wrong.  Let the music determine what is needed.  Made sense to me, I hadn't thought of it that way.

Well, I certainly think Randy "let the music determine what is needed". Anyway, that vid wasn't supposed to get corrupted to be about musicality, it was intended to show an "across-the-grain" technique that could possibly be used as an exercise in range-building. I guess that went past you?

...Geezer
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« Reply #135 on: Mar 24, 2017, 08:21AM »

Playing across the grain is bread and butter in my reality, (?) especially when combined with long shifts, it makes playing melodies in Tbn unfriendly keys more doable and musical.

Just sharing that, not needing any validation..  :)
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« Reply #136 on: Mar 24, 2017, 08:26AM »

Playing across the grain is bread and butter in my reality, (?) especially when combined with long shifts, it makes playing melodies in Tbn unfriendly keys more doable and musical.

Just sharing that, not needing any validation..  :)

When playing high-range stuff, there are trombone-unfriendly keys? Is this a new concept?  :D

...Geezer
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« Reply #137 on: Mar 24, 2017, 11:30AM »

Ah Geezer, now I have no clue what you are advocating.

You've been hammering breath support, breath support, breath support, in post after post, and now you say "no big deal, just don't overdo."  

How is the OP supposed to interpret your advice?

Dang, geezer!  Obviously I'll have to do another video!  

Wait, try this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brgq7fjLAnY

(Very bad form, was roundly criticized by the pros on that other forum)  

I ran across this guy. Forget for just one minute that he is NOT a trombone player.

PMJ: Sledgehammer

Just watching the first 20 seconds of it ought to be enough.

See how relaxed and in-the-groove the lead man is? Now let's all compare how we play with how that performer plays. Is there any difference? I'm starting to get the idea that relaxation is beneficial but I'm also wondering why we usually don't see trombone players nearly as relaxed. Is it the horn? Is it a lack of proper pedagogy? Is it just not important to anyone? Or is it that only the very best players among us get it?

What does this have to do with learning how to play in the high range? Everything?????

...Geezer
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« Reply #138 on: Mar 24, 2017, 11:47AM »

Sometimes you gotta post a video to prove your point, Tim.

I liked your pBone mini video. Videos are very telling to back up what any poster here is talking about.
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« Reply #139 on: Mar 24, 2017, 12:15PM »

Something I'd like to get off my chest about my videos.

Geezer puts a lot of effort into making his artistic, and I appreciate the work and the talent.

But my approach is different.  They're all done live, one take, no prep - they're an instant snapshot of where I was at that moment, most just a quick experiment.  Some of them suck farts out of dead seagulls. 

I leave them up because I consider us friends here, and I don't worry because I don't get that many hits outside of us.  Maybe that's not a great idea.  If I were chumming for gigs I'd be culling them, and spending some time trying to do a good one.
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