Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 11:15:26 -0400
From: Tim Phillips <>
Subject: Re: PED: My range


For those who have read them before, this is might turn out to be another epistle...

Approaching range, in and of itself, may not be the answer.  I would want to know about the octave directly below this Eflat.  I would want to know how much playing you actually do in that range.

Suggestion 1 - Play melodies in that last octave.  Start by doing something simple like Mary Had a Little Lamb starting on E above middle C and trasnposing it up through the all keys up to your highest.  DO NOT try to do this loud.  Play in a mp-pp dynamic for now, but also you must support the buzz with your lungs full of air.  The thing to remember when playing soft (told to me by a judge at solo and ensemble when I was a young lad - Dr Philip Paul - a wonderful french horn player/teacher no less!), "Soft is just a soft sound.  Not a soft little sound."  This will aid you in determining also if you are getting a buzz as a result of blowing or pushing (either the air out, or the mouthpiece against the teeth).  Many high note players advocate starting playing in the highs with soft playing.  Get control of the buzz before you start making the trombone (or string :) section cringe.

Suggestion 2 - Work the Clarke Technical Studies on up.  They stop at high C, but that is no reason you should.  Add to that Chromatics.  Start on low C and play up and down as many times as you comfortably can - making sure that all notes speak - again in the mp-pp dynamic range.  When you get to f#, go up and then continue down to the low f# - and make the exercise two octaves.  When you get to high f#, make it three :).

Suggestion 3 - Get Clyde Hunts's (Sail the 7 Cs), Eddie (Tiger) Lewis's (Don't remember the title - help me out Eddie), Maxwell's (The First Trumpeter), Gordon (High Register is no more than Deep Breathing - I think), and McBeth's (Maggio System) books and read all they say about playing and range.  There are wonderful insights presented from different perspectives.  While it is true that you cannot learn to play trumpet from reading a book, you can get "information" about how different people approach range and it will give you some ideas on where to start.  Several of these people are list members and will do all they can to help you succeed.

Suggestion 4 - (which should be suggestion 1) Find a private teacher that can do the things you want to do.  You need someone to listen to your progress and make sure you do not sacrifice tone, flexibility, intonation, muscle, etc for range sake.  Range for the sake of range is a fruitless venture.

Suggestion 5 - Check out the TPIN archives for articles, especially the ones by Arnold Jacobs and Bill Adam.

Suggestion 6 - Reread carefully #1 about breathing.  The lungs, when full, will produce much more air pressure without you having to "push".  This added pressure makes the uppers more accessable, your sound "thicker" (or richer), and your sound carry better.  You don't have to kill yourself to play high. Trumpet playing is much easier when done correctly - difficult when done wrong.  How do you know when you are doing it right?  The sound.  The end, in this case, will always justify the means.  If you have the sound you want, the facility you want, and the freedom to express yourself in your playing, then you are doing it right.

Suggestion 7 - Listen to trumpet players on recording that play like you want to play.  Give you brain and example or template to follow.  Listen closely.  Pick apart the playing and listen to each little nuiance.  Then try to duplicate it.  Hear it in your head, breath in and blow.  Let the body adjust as it needs to to produce the product you are hearing in your head - which is a result of the listening to recordings.  You will also find it helpful to record yourself - or else you may not know what you really sound like :).

Now, was this about range?  No.  This is about playing the trumpet.  Range then becomes a natural extension of the other registers.  Something to revel in, not to fight.  Enjoy.

Tim Phillips

Tom Bauer wrote:
> Hello again a while ago i asked you guys how to improve my range and i got
> alot of responses that said Lips slurs.  So, listening to that advice, I
> worked oat it, and my lips slurs are very good.  My director even thinks so,
> but i have yet to improve myy range higher than an Eb i did play a f,f#, and
> a G before but not very often, i can usually always play the Eb after alot
> of warm up but it still does not sound to good.  Can you guys PLEASE help?