upper register


Active Member
I know there have been many posts on u.register, but they all come down to breathing. I was wondering whether anyone knew of any exercises to strengthen the lip, to make u.register playing easier?
I'm using the Charles Collins Lip flexibility book, would selected exercises out of this help?
Any help would be much appreciated!


High register playing has to be done frequently so you get used to playing 'up there'. In other words, it's not something you can work at for a couple of days/weeks, then leave and come back.

Make sure part of your 'regular' practice session is taken up playing in the high octaves, so it becomes as comfortable as the middle and lower registers.

There are many many good books and studies around, but all I use is the solo cornet red hymn book !
Choose a couple a day and play them up an octave.

Lastly, don't be in a hurry to reach top Z, build up gradually.

This time last year found upper register difficult - find it much easier now - but not that easy.
For me I used scales and flexibility - took a long time but yeah its somthing that has to be approached on a daily basis. There are some people who can just play high but the rest of us have to work at it.


Active Member
I've got a book somewhere called Exploring the Trumpets Upper Register. Despite the name, the excercises work on any brass instrument. It builds up throughout the book and if followed properly should allow you to comfortably play "super C" on demand by the end of it. My trouble is, I havent got the patience. Any one know an effective 5 minute course?


Active Member
book 3 of the allen vizutti trumpet method has some excellent high range excercises towards the back.. really helped me alot.


ummmmmmm --I play in the upper register a lot. :oops:

Exploring the Upper register is by JOHN ZORN [good one]

Here's my take on it HIGH REGISTER PLAYING...

(If you take any longer than 10-15 mins, then your air / chops were'nt right from yesterday and it means your practising not warming up!)

(MAX. 2 DAYS OFF / WEEK….not consecutive though!!!…… When you do practise….. decide what, how long for ……...and stick to it!… …...LITTLE AND OFTEN!!)

3. I DON'T PUSH MY RANGE EVERY DAY I PRACTICE! (PERIOD!!!)(Too many Tpt. players practice "hitting" high notes most of the time, to be able to play high for most of the time !!) "Playing" is better than "Hitting!"

4. WHEN PRACTICING HIGH STUFF (EXER / CHARTS) ONLY GIVE IT 98%!...(LET ME BE CLEAR….I SAID PRACTICING... NOT PERFORMING..... Play within your capabilities and build confidence / consistency and accuracy. For the high register practice portion of the week, I like to spend my time thus: 20% exercises…80% charts / tunes….)

5. YOU NEED MORE THAN ONE MPC. TO PLAY MORE THAN ONE STYLE! (lots of names do..Bobby Shew / Roger Ingram / Maurice Andre / Hagenberger. ( I USE 3…1 FOR EVERYDAY ALL ROUND PLAYING (average cup depth) 1 FOR LEGIT PLAYING….(deep cup)….AND 1 FOR LEAD TPT….(shallow)....check out my "Which Mpc. and why?" web page…)

(Different depths give a different sound for different styles…..it's no good using the deepest for lead cos it cuts down on your endurance and is the wrong sound.) It's NO good using a shallow model for Orch..the sound is too edgy!


8. LOT'S OF NORMAL REGISTER PLAYING (with the right blow) HELPS YOUR RANGE ASWELL! (….Brandt, Arban, Concone studies, Cichowicz Flow studies…etc….)

9. IT'S NOT "WHAT" YOU PRACTICE!!… IT'S "HOW" YOU PRACTICE IT!! (The way you use your air and aperture is SO important that if your not doing it correctly, None of the method books below will help you play with the ease of the great high note artists.)..see my Mouthpiece pressure page..with a pressure test on it!

(….this is not a high register /warm up exercise, but if your blow is right, this is easy and your chops should feel better / stronger after this not SHOT!!)10 min.test

I am focussing my thoughts here, on range mostly.

Musicality would be a whole different ball game.[but they are VERY closely related]

The subject.....Muscle based players.


The "hitter"... These people can squeeze notes out above High G [DHC] ...and in fact as long as there are not too many in a day, can make it sound quite convincing.

IMHO there are.... 8 range types ...

1. has'nt really got any range at all .... can HIT up to high c with varying degrees of consistency etc...etc...

2. has really got ''good control'' etc.. can PLAY brilliantly to high c [and squeeze a few more]

3... can HIT up to high g [4 leger lines] with varying degrees of consistency etc...etc...

4.... can PLAY brilliantly to high g [and squeeze a few more]

5... can HIT up to DHC with varying degrees of consistency etc...

6....can PLAY brilliantly to DHC [Most Pro lead players of today ] [and squeeze a few more]

7..... can HIT beyond DHC with varying degrees of consistency

8..... can PLAY brilliantly beyond DHC....and NEVER SQUEEZE

Lots of trumpeters [ # 1 thru 4 ]..... mistake ''hitting'' for ''playing''.

Lots of trumpeters...... find getting to # 4..... a real struggle.

Some guys spend ALL their time ''hitting'' never with a thought to ''playing''.

How do you become a # 8 ? ...start at # 2 then / 4 / 6 / 8...Bingo!!! [simple! : ) ]

Here's the biggie....

Most players [ # 1 thru 4 ] who mistake ''hitting'' for ''playing'' are the guys who go around saying....'' how high can you really play?''

...what they really mean is how high can you hit?

Hitting requires air volume ///// Playing requires air speed

....I believe that although we ARE all a tad different, the BASIC PRINCIPALS of playing the trumpet..........

1. Use only enough mpc. pressure for the register your in.
2. Use enough air for the register your in but support it well with the abs.
3. Have your aperture in sync. with the above two rules.
4. Keep the airflow steady and even for the register your in.

.......ARE the same for EVERYONE!

It's up to the individual to find the correct percentage and cohesion of the above principals, plus take and add any known personal physiological variables into the final equation.

It's called SMART practice....not just time crunching!

Roddy o-iii<O

"E M B O U C H U R E___E N H A N C E M E N T"
B O O K 1 = 20 quid
B O O K 2 + demo play-along CD = 15 quid

Prices include delivery...

[Self Analysis / Diagnostic Methods for Brass Inst. Advancement]

buy online..... http://www.R-o-d-d-y-T-r-u-m-p-e-t.cC


Supporting Member
try DAILY EMBOUCHURE STUDIES by Edwin Franko Goldman. published by Hinrichsen Edition I think.

I changed bands in June, the new one having a much higher standard and playing toughter music. I really struggled with my upper register and stamina to begin with, but after I couple of months of slog I think I got there! I played this book cover to cover every day - boring but effective. It doesn't look like its going to be that good (not chock full of high notes, for starters!) but my chops have never been so strong, and I've tried most of the suggestions above before.
:( :(

Not sure I would agree that your new band was a 'much' higher standard. (Seeing as your old band is in the same section and has had compareable resuls in the past few years . . . . :D )

I'll grant you it's a little better :)

Okiedokie of Oz

Active Member
A few years ago, I went to a workshop where the tutor (a trombonist, but it works on everything, I've checked) was saying to increase your range, you need to do it on "every embouchure". By this, he meant working to increase the number of notes you can player without severely moving your lips.

To this end we did chromatic scales with long note. The aim - to go as high as you can without moving your lips from the position/tension you started out.

Start on middle C, hold it for 8-10 beats. Breathe (THROUGH THE NOSE!!! DON'T MOVE YOUR MOUTH!!!!!) if necessary, and go up a semitone. When you get to a note that you can't get cleanly, or miss, STOP, release the embouchure by playing a pedal tone (or fundamental, what do u Brits call 'em??) then start again from the note you lost.

Repetition of this exercise means that you'll over time be able to get higher due to diaphragm support, air speed and other things that all kick in more with this exercise. BAsically, by the end, you'll be able to go from C to E (top space) without tensing, so when thension does start up, there is less pressure around the original range peak, thus allowing a little more ease going up.

I think I've explained it right.....
The way i found easiest to get my upper register stronger was by doing the C crabwise scale 5 times a day as this gradually builds you up to the upper register it all help. Once you can do it from the bottom try starting at the top and working your way down. Don't know if this helps you but it worked for me and now i have a relativly strong upper register.


Emb_Enh, I wouldn't agree with ur view on taking 2 days off playing aweek. For progress u need to play at least for 1hr a day. ok u should take a day off every now and then but not too many.
just an opinion. i'm not having at go! :lol:


New Member
Yes take all of the past emails and listen to what they say, but you have to believe in yourself to be able to play the notes in the upper register .Before any thing else, as some one said before, HEAR the note in your minds eye before you play it, it will help you more than any other thing. BELIEVE YOU CAN PLAY IN THE HIGH REGISTER. it works. :) :) :)


Emb_Enh, I wouldn't agree with ur view on taking 2 days off playing aweek. For progress u need to play at least for 1hr a day. ok u should take a day off every now and then but not too many.
just an opinion. i'm not having at go!

Hiya Lyndon! ...no ...no problem...ya gotta ask stuff... :p

here's my take on days off and players...

Those people who have a really efficient lip/mpc buzz are more able to take days off more easily because they require less support from the mpc rim/lip swelling to form their normal playing embouchure.

These people are also those who usually require less warm up time to be able to get going aswell...

SO...if a player finds that they are unable to take days off without losing their technique to a large degree, maybe it would behove them well to use mpc/lip buzzing to become less MPC DEPENDANT in order to produce the buzz.

Here is some other info..

Days Off / Lip Swelling....

Here are 3 main points/questions for you to think about....

People who find taking "time off" playing the trumpet a problem are POSSIBLY too mpc.dependant and MAY benefit from free Lip Buzzing.

People who find taking time off a problem, POSSIBLY, are using too much mpc.pressure... and the taking of the time off may be pointing to this area.....

Test your own lip efficiency....my "10 min. Efficiency Test" if you have'nt already!

The idea that inefficient buzzers can't afford as much time off makes sense on the one hand. However, these players, who generally use more pressure, need more time off because the swelling of the vibrating tissue.

Also......POSSIBLY . . people with a less efficient buzz, (let's not get into degrees of efficiency) use more mouthpiece pressure, and, PROBABLY don't buzz like they play (great lip buzzers: Clarke, Mendez, Gordon, Jacoby). It is imperative if you buzz that you retain the same lip/mpc angle as when actually on the horn. Swelling, be it to different degrees, PROBABLY happens to most people. Some more severe than others.

Something which we can ALL (possibly) agree on ''I think'' is.....TOO much mpc. pressure is bad and leads to swelling and or bruising to differing degrees.

''An inflammation embouchure is an embouchure which requires an exact degree of swelling inside the lips, where the mouthpiece rests. Back when I played this way, I not only had a lump inside my lips but I also had bruises. The way the bump works is that it gives you an alternative to muscular strength. Instead of controlling the pitch with the muscles in the lips, you control it with pressure as applied to the lump" ...Eddie Lewis'

This helped me understand ''enormously'' a while back, as I saw some of this in myself, although not as severe as Eddie. I also discovered the value of heavy / light days...and I went on from there and included ''days off'' myself.

"Buzzing. Not with the mouthpiece but just the lips. It is 4 times harder. The mouthpiece is a crutch it cuts the vibrating surface of the lip in half and adds feedback. The portion under the rim and outside of the mouthpiece can't buzz. Also no mouthpiece means no mouthpiece pressure." ... C.McLaughlin


Excessive mpc pressure=less vibrant lips= less vibrant sound=too much hard work to produce the sound.


Active Member
Hi Roddy, some nice advice. I can see why you write books on this stuff :)
No-one will be buying them cos they can get em all for free here ;) hehe


Hi Roddy, some nice advice. I can see why you write books on this stuff
No-one will be buying them cos they can get em all for free here hehe

There is MUCH more in my books than I put here ---- AND--- the secret is in how it ALL comes together into the big picture. There are 200 pages in book 1 ---book 2 has a play along demo CD also.

here is what some people have beeen kind enough to write...


Since I've followed Roddy's recommendations I am breezing along the turnpike. I've been hitting and missing for 30 years and the idea of getting off the soft red tissue works for me. I followed the instructions laid out about just blowing air into the mpc and transferring this effort into a C or E in the staff when blowing into the horn. This is the first time I ever had anything work for me the way it is described. I've been doing this for about 10 days and I can warm up in 5 seconds if I need to. I had to experiment a bit because the feeling was different at first and I got a pinched sound but I've discovered that I get better results by bringing my lower jaw and chin up. I have played 5 gigs this way and only had trouble on one gig where I had to play outside very loudly. I couldn't keep my chops together. No one system works for everyone but I'm convinced that a puckered embouchure on the red will not work for me. The biggest benefit I have now is the ease of playing because my chops are so close together. No contortions, no heartfelt pleas to the patron saint of trumpet players. I've tried everyone's system but the idea of blowing air thru the mpc is what did it for me. And I'm a way left-of-center player. Thanks. Roddy for being so generous with your ideas.


Brian, there are many ways in which to go forward - this of course is the trumpeters dilemma!
I'm thrilled that my explanations enabled YOU to fix yourself...and that is the whole point of my books. They are a way to work thru the detail of SELF analysis and then as a consequence can suggest ways forward that are worthwhile.

Roddy o-iii<O

Self-analysis is the answer, as well as letting go of the rigidity of following a method that works only for an author and the limited number of people for whom that method might work. In my case, I've decided that I can lump "stretch", "smile" and "pucker" into the 'don't work for me' category. None of those methods provided the endurance or ease of playing that I am now experiencing. So if you study their ideas you find that you can apply them to your own needs if you are flexible and don't make a religion out of these methods. Find out what works and use it! Never mind labelling it because each player is the author and creator of his own method.

I hope that the promotion of self-analysis and efficiency that Roddy has introduced is the start of a new liberating trend in trumpet playing because this kind of thinking is sorely needed. We all benefit by these shared ideas that will help overcome the physical problems of playing so that we can get on to the more important matter of making music, whether it is jazz, classical, Latin, brass band etc. This is a good forum and I encourage everyone to express their thoughts so that we can begin to identify common playing problems as well as identify more efficient ways of playing that may benefit more people. Life is too short to keep struggling-we gotta make music!


Hi Roddy,
Yesterday I won an auction on ebay for some BiNaK 495 (I thought I should give that juice a go!), and the seller was *** in *****

I emailed him several times and went to visit him at lunch time to pick up the oil. Well, he certainly had a lot of good things to say about you!
Among the things he said about you were:

"I was totally shocked by Roddy's ability to teach"
"He totally changed the way I think about playing"
"I have felt that other teachers have been struggling for things to suggest, but Roddy was just like Bang Bang Bang Bang; suggestion after suggestion"

"The average teacher charges about £30 per hour. Roddy charges £10 more than that (for the one hour option) but teaches you 100 times more stuff"

I can't wait to get a lesson with you, I shall definitely be going for the 5 hour option.
Suitably inspired (by your happy student ***)


Happy to help if I can......

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