Cornet high register

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by AvocatDuDiable, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. AvocatDuDiable

    AvocatDuDiable New Member

    Evening all.

    I'm 20 and play Bb cornet. Having just been promoted to the front row at band (hold your applause please!) I could do with improving the old high register. At the moment my lip goes very quickly and I'd rather not end every rehearsal with it hanging by a thread.

    The question has no doubt been asked a hundred times but... what sort of exercises should I do to hit those high notes every time and improve my stamina?

  2. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    as a bass trom player I am, of course, an expert on the upper register.

    Ok maybe not but I do think it is all in the head, you must hear the note in your head before you play it, don't count the letter lines!

    I'm no expert but how about playing hymn tunes up an octave?, Be selective of course and maybe only play 1 or 2 lines, but get used to how it sounds, and feels, to play Iin a new range
  3. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    I have often heard that playing long low notes before attempting to increase the upper register is generally a good way start. I am sure there is a much better authority than me that will either prove, or disprove this, or come up with other suggestions.
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  5. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    Yes working on your lower register - pedal notes and below bottom C will help higher up - If you learn to control your embouchure at it's loosest then when it's at it's tightest you will find the control easier. I also agree with Hymn 8ve up. . It takes time too, don't get downhearted, it'll come with practice, be careful not to start changing too much in order to get the high notes. Ask your tutor, and if you dont' have one invest a few quid in a good local tutor and have a few 'coaching' sessions to make sure you're not doing any damage to your embouchure too!
  6. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

  7. GordonH

    GordonH Active Member

    Efficiency is the key.
    You need to develop an embouchure that has a small enough aperture that you are buzzing the lips together rather than the opposite which is a pressure/inflamation emouchure.
    You need stability, which means tight corner muscles.
    Daily isometric exercises may help (e.g. the pencil exercise)

    Mouthpiece wise there is no secret trick.
    You want something that is supportive, but doesn't have so much bite it cuts off the circulation.
    Overall your system (aperture, instrument and mouthpiece) has to have the correct balance to make the lips vibrate freely.

    The instrument is your mouthpiece.
    All the instrument does is amplify what comes out of the mouthpiece.
    Most players cannot play in tune on their mouthpiece.
    You should be able to produce a full tone on a mouthpiece with a finger partly over the end, and be able to play in tune against a tuner.

    Yes, lay off the pressure - practice while pulling the instrument off your face.
    Learning to play with less pressure takes months.

    Practice the false pedal tones.
    The freeness of vibration required down there is much the same as in the upper register.

    Develop a range that goes a few notes above "top" C so you have confidence when you get an A, B or C to play.
    Practicing octave intervals and randomly pitching notes can help.
    So does playing a lot in the upper register, in a sensible manner.

    I used to have a **** embouchure and no endurance.
    I stopped playing, changed my embouchure and relearned (with the help of a good teacher).
    Sounded like a ten year old for three months though.

    Pardon my intonation, I don't think Besson designed their cornet to do this:
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
  8. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Go and see a decent teacher.
    They will be able to identify what it is you are possibly doing and then recommend specific exercises for you.
  9. cockaigne

    cockaigne Member

    What Mike said.

    I would also add/emphasise that it's important not to see range as a function of embouchure - it's as much about breath preparation, support and direction (having had to rebuild the top fifth of my range after a mouthpiece change a few years ago, I found this to be very useful)
  10. Mello

    Mello Active Member

    An Excellent book is
    A Systematic Approach to Daily Practice by Claude Gordon .

    Follow it carefully and don't be in too much of a hurry wonders.
  11. mjwarman

    mjwarman Member

    I had a lesson with Mark David yesterday (Head of Brass at the Royal Academy of Music) and one of his tips were not thinking of them as high notes, this just makes you more anxious and more likely to tense up and squeeze the life out of your embouchure. Hence cutting off the note. I think he used the term 'far away notes' instead. Also as people play higher the tongue starts to work harder which is wrong, you'll start stabbing harder and your tongue will end up coming out the end of your bell!!! Don't be scared of them and nothing should change with your face or your tongue, just more air. It seems the answer to most brass players problems is more air.
  12. simonium

    simonium Member

    Admittedly a trumpet player, and I would like to hear the rest of his explanation, but Jim Manley thinks too much air is also a problem....

  13. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    It's not so much "too much air" as incorrect management of the air, in particular, too much air too high up in the chest cavity. There's another video here, which explains what he's getting at more thoroughly.

    It's very similar to the way I was taught by the late John McMurray of the Halle. It wasn't so much a teacher/student relationship, as we were actually working together in the same section at the time, but he always maintained that everything was to do with breathing. He almost never mentioned the embouchure, save to occasionally say not to worry about it, because if the breathing was right the lips would automatically do whatever was needed by themselves, something akin to what Jim Manley is saying towards the end of the video.

    Certainly from my own experience, I would conclude that you can't really have too much air, but you do have to ensure that the air supply is controlled and managed properly.
  14. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Phil Smith (Principal Trumpet - New York Philharmonic) uses the same idea (which is where I "borrow" it from in my teaching) - they aren't high they are just farther away.
    I am very keen on never using the term "high" notes when I am teaching. There are certainly "higher" notes, but never "high" - it puts up a barrier that they are somehow difficult. This could be why my students have a nasty habit of having quite a decent range (text from a student last Summer - "just did last GCSE - played Dubba C in celebration!") - from day one they are never told something is "high."
  15. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    It's Psychological, which is basically what Mike said. I was teaching a lad who's doing his grade 4 soon the other day and he was worried about missing an F (top line) so I got him experimenting with how high he could play. He actually hit a top D but was getting good confident Bb and Bs. If you worry about high notes and think of them as high, you'll split them. If you know you can play them and higher, it won't be a problem. One of the biggest splits I find with students is the middle movement of Haydn. They get so worked up over what is (only) a top Bb, they hit the Bb perfectly then fluff the next note (F#) after the relief of not splitting the Bb. It's all in the head.