High notes?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by x..Emma..x, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. x..Emma..x

    x..Emma..x Member

    I've been meaning to post this thread for ages, apologies if theres already been a similar one :p

    Have been playing brass for a year and a bit now, after switching around instruments in the beginning, i've settled on flugel and have been there for about 10 months.
    And i still really struggle with anything above about a top E.
    I can hit that note, and possibly up to a G at a push, but the notes split and sound awful, not good for a flugel player.
    We have players in our band that like to show off (*Cough cough Lewis*)
    And play super G's, and things like that.
    I very much doubt i'lll ever be able to get to anything like that.
    But just to improve my range that little bit higher...
    I've tried changing mouthpieces, which hasnt helped very much.
    Does anyone else have this problem?
    And can you recommend anything to help?

    Thanks x
  2. rikster

    rikster New Member

    And i thought it was just me, I have a problem with anything above the top A, and like you I have tried switching mouthpieces, I have even swopped flugels from a yamaha to a cortois, and that helped a bit, at least I can get "A"s now so I will follow this thread with a great deal of interest,
  3. QAD

    QAD Member

    A year and a bit is not long to build an embouchure.
    The simple fact is that the lip is a muscle and you have to develop that muscle through excersize - like an athelete improves speed and endurance over time and practice.
    Make long notes and lip flexibilities your bread and butter and over a couple of months your range will improve.
    Forget making nice sounds and changing mouthpieces - two things that the brass band movement have as major bad practices.
    1) find the largest mouthpiece you are comfortable with (small is bad because those muscles that need to work and move are constrained)
    2) start will long notes and simple lip flexibilities then gradually build up range and speed
    3) don't worry about higher notes sounding rough - its all about the mechanics - not much pressure, making sure the lips can move etc.
    4) Be patient
    5) dont forget that the tounge does a lot of work with air flow - e.g. playing G-C(low)-G-C(middle)-G imagine your saying taa-ahh-ahh-ee-ahh
    6) be patient and keep working - range will come and then concentrate on the sound quality.
    hope this helps
  4. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Top E? As in the fourth space on the Treble Clef?

    Playing high doesn't happen over night. You have to work at it and do it slowly, gradually.

    don't try and force it out, that just won't work and will make things harder later.

    Don't worry about the showboater. Just work at it at your own pace.

    You having lessons with a teacher?
  5. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    Search out a good Pro teacher and then practice ......practice and more practice
  6. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Best one yet ;)

    You really need to get someone to critically assess what you're doing wrong and suggest potential fixes - it can't really be done over t'interweb.

    There is a thread on here somewhere....have a dig around....in the meantime, the suggestions you've had so far have been good...the secrets lie in breath control and lip flexibility....get yourself a copy of Chas Collins' Advanced Trumpet Lip Flexibilities, but make sure you can walk before you try to run.

    And don't look at the back page ;)
  7. Daisy Duck

    Daisy Duck Member

    Sussex and London
    It takes time and practice to build your range. I remember when my top note was G (sitting on top of the stave) for about a 2 year period - I felt like I wasn't improving at all and although my range was stagnant, other things about my playing improved in that time.

    John Wallace is a big fan of practising pedal notes in order to help the high notes.

    Also, if you practise bending the pitch of notes, that's supposed to help build range (according to Allen Vizutti).

    Scales will help too.

    Resist the temptation to just apply more pressure to squeeze out top notes. It won't help in the long run.
  8. Lyndon Price

    Lyndon Price Member

    Pressure kills. Move lips forward into iron and not sideways, Use massive amounts of pedals to improve the inner muscles of the emboucher, and if you have to play a piece that has a top A in it,,,practice up a tone. Tongue position is vital to control airflow, as Huw Cole stated. And of course, in the immortal words of Prof Collins....."Wheeeeee"
  9. x..Emma..x

    x..Emma..x Member

    Thanks for all the replies so far, im gonna start doing lots of scales and things, and hopefully it'll improve...
    I dont have lessons with a teacher as such, but i play with a band, and im still part of the training band, so we do get help from that, and one to one lessons now and again.

  10. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    A good teacher is essential...and so are one to one lessons, also if you have invested cash in your lessons you are morelikely to put in the work to get as much benefit as possible.
  11. tenorhorndavid

    tenorhorndavid Member

    I think its all about practice.
    As with most things on a brass instrument put the time in and it will pay off with the result!

    A good teacher can point you in the right direction but there's no magic formula!
  12. Liamhorn

    Liamhorn Member

    What QAD said i would suggest, its about training the mussels in your lips, there are some good exercises in the arban book. I would suggest purchase that book if you haven't got it already.

    Main thing is, play long low notes then work up and increase the speed. It'll come in time.
  13. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    I'm not "having a pop" here....genuine question....Should we start low and work up or start in the middle and work in both directions?
  14. Adrian Horn

    Adrian Horn Member

    In my opinion then the best note to start on is the one that feels most comfortable to you, and then work up or down (or both) as necessarry.

    Eg. if the first note you usually blow and find most comfortable at the start of your practice session is a G (second line) then start there, work down a bit, then work back up and go a bit above the G and then back down etc.
    If your first not is usually a bottom C then start there going in step which ever direction feels best etc.

    Each player is different and each players embouchure is different so one size never fits all.
  15. Sir_Threepwood

    Sir_Threepwood Member

    Read a lot about lips and embouchure here... sure, it definitely helps to have chops of steel but in fact is all about air pressure and usage of respiration muscles...
  16. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    Yeah....that works for me...Top C feels a long way away if I start too low...
  17. 2nd trom virtuoso

    2nd trom virtuoso Member

    I still think that some people are much more gifted than others when it comes to embouchure. I have had problem after problem in the past and had to work my ass off to achieve quite little. The way your jaw is positioned and your teeth play a very big part in all this, the ones that progress quickly usually have a near perfect embouchure and don't even have to think much about it
  18. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    And there are no "quick fixes". As has been said, find a teacher....and be patient...;)
  19. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    St Austell
    I'd definately recommend getting an individual teacher - even if it is only once a month. Careful to make sure that person is suitably experienced/qualified - I'm sure you could get recommendations via this forum for someone in your area.

    As others have said it is important to practice but it is more important to practice the right things. Don't assume that because you do more hours you will get better. To avoid this happening set yourself some goals. In your situation perhaps you could aim for an extra tone every month (So if you are at E now, ou will work on F this month and then G next month - this way you will be at Top C by christmas!).

    A final point - range is not the be all and end all, yes it is useful but only as an aid to making music. Make sure not to neglect tone and musicality in your practice.
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