Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 12:02:00 -0500
From: "Hutson, Timothy B" <hutsont@BATTELLE.ORG>
Subject: RE: Range: Who needs it?

I have to admit to having spent quite a few practice sessions being obsessed with range.  It became a sort or challenge.  The problem with being obsessed with range is that you often end up changing the way you play to get there. Most of the time you end up being defeated when you obsess over it for that reason.  When you can't play a certain high note, it makes you want to even more and so you try harder and develop bad habits.  However, IMO, the study of range is an important part of playing the trumpet.  But perhaps I'd better explain.

When I decided that I needed work on range, (it was about day 2 of my comeback to the trumpet :-) ), I decided I wanted to be able to play as strongly as the end of a practice or concert as I did at the begining. Actually, I needed to be stronger all the time but I was trying to be realistic.  I had learned to play originally with a smile (embouchure that is) and consequently used pressure.  When I started again, I knew after a short while (and after joining the TPIN) that I needed to make a change in the way I played.  One thing I decided to strive for was to be able to play a high C, unforced, at the end of a practice session.  So, I started to practice for range.  Let's face it, if you want to play high notes, you've got to practice them.  Everyone wants to be able to play the first book whether they play in the first section or not. Consequently, we all strive to play better than we do currently.  I think this is part of what draws some of us to the trumpet; the challenge.

In any case, my problem (OK. *One* of my problems.) was trying to get my embouchure to work correctly.  I knew that I needed to get it to move and adjust for each note but could not for the life of me get it to work consistently.  I also didn't really know what it felt like to do it right. I needed a method that would do it for me.  I searched for a good method (Anybody need any method books?  You name it, I've got it. :-)  ).  The one that really got me to get the feel for the movment that is necessary was Clyde Hunt's "Sail the 7C's".  His method works on developing range; from pedal to double C.  But from my perspective it is really more about getting the embouchure to work correctly.  Using his method and working with one embouchure setting is what really gave me the feel of how to adjust the embouchure for each note.  It is important to work on the *entire* range, not just the high range.

Being able to play the double range is nice, but for me it is an offshoot of getting a properly working embouchure.  Working from the pedal to the double register requires you to move your embouchure over a very wide range.  So, in that sense, working on range is training of your embouchure to work
correctly.  From my perspective, that is the value of working on range.  It is perhaps better achieved some by some other method but, until I worked on the entire range from low to high, I never really got my embouchure to work correctly (move).  I don't think I would embarrass myself by playing it
anywhere but a big band because you don't need it many other places.  It is nice to know that I can hit a high D or E in some quintet pieces though.

Another method that I am currently working on is Claude Gordon's "Systematic Approach to Daily Pracice".  This method is similar to Clyde's in that it also works your embouchure over the entire range.  For me, Mr. Gordon's approach is also good because he stresses rest and the reasoning behind each of the exercises you do.  He even puts a time on how much you should rest. That is what I really needed.  Resting as much as you play is about making sure you don't develop bad habits.  If you practice when you are tired, the bad habits you resort to will become part of your playing.

The pursuit of range is, for me, more correctly a pursuit of a correctly working embouchure.  It does not preclude a rich sound.  In fact, it can enhance it because you learn to make the most of each note.  IMO, playing the high range is very difficult if you don't have a centered sound.  You must learn to work *with* the horn and not *against* it to accomplish range (both high and low).  It can best be accomplished by paying attention to your sound and practicing with finess and control rather than brute

JMV  (Just my view)

ILHNAIP (I like high notes and I'm proud)
I also like low notes :-)

Tim Hutson