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Trumpet range requires greater range and endurance

Dear XXXX,
I omitted a very important quote from H.L.Clarke - this one from the Characteristic Studies Book.

"As a matter of argument, when the muscles of the lips are contracted for high tones,
one would necessarily pronounce "Te", and when relaxed for the low tones, "Tu": consequently
it would be unnatural, and almost impossible to use the same syllable for tones in all registers on the cornet". H.L. Clarke.

This is the rationale and basis for my "silent whistle", as I assume that most people can
develop a "feel" which is, at least, related to the one which is necessary for playing a brass instrument.
Keep 'Em Flyin'
Clyde Hunt

Trumpt range requires greater range and endurance>

.....also just one more players like xx , yy, and zz use the closed
embouchure technique or are they just really strong?

Dear Mr.YYY
1.First of all, in a "nutshell" - every player who has a strong high register utilizes the principles of lip compression and airpressure - regardless of their description of "how it's done"!

2. The vast majority of students can "practice", the way they are now playing, "until hades freezes over", without seeing much result! MORE OF THE SAME will not bring any desired results. THIS IS NOT AN AREA OF QUICK FIX! All parameters of fine brassplaying need to be mastered before positive results begin to emerge.

3. If your "airflow" is lacking, no doubt "pedals" will be of some benefit. If you have no airflow problems, the "pedals" may be of minimal benefit. I've not seen many folks who have derived "zero" benefit from Pedal Tones. Are Pedal Tones a cure all - of and by themselves? No!

4.Learn to ascend FROM the Pedal register into the "normal" register, right up to "high C", for starters - NO BREAKS! Now, one begins to understand how "compression" comes into play. This "mosquito buzz" compression simply is "not needed" in the lower registers. Forget about "buzzing" the lower register!

5. Read #4, again.

6. Finally, perhaps your most disturbing comment was, "two weeks at the most"..... you don't really believe that you're going to master "anything" in two weeks???? (GRIN ;>)

7. And yes, in some respects you, no doubt, WILL be starting over. BUT - you will be "modifying" your existing knowledge in order to allow "new things" to take place which have heretofore eluded you.

8."And as the situation is new, so we must begin anew" - Abraham Lincoln

9. I sincerely hope all the above may be of benefit, for your playing. But please remember, "I have never seen nor heard you play".

Keep 'Em Flyin"
Clyde Hunt ****************************************************
Dear ////,
Recently, I have been asked to describe what I see as being the "most often observed" problems which plague trumpeters.
Trumpet Player's #1 Psychological Nemesis is: Failure to understand that our "sound" is created, produced, and determined "internally", BEFORE it is "collected" by the mouthpiece. "Playing the trumpet" is an essentially internal process.

We do not "play" a brass instrument in the same sense that we "play" the violin or piano; hence, the "hardware" plays a minimal role in our success - or lack of it! You will "sound" like you, and I like me, regardless of the equipment! Playing the trumpet is, in fact, little more than "singing" - while substituting the lip "buzz" for the vocal chord vibration. Unlike all the other instruments which require a mechanical source of vibration, "we" are the tone generators for the sound of the trumpet.

There is a widely held belief that "success can be purchased at the local music store". Unfortunately, this belief is especially prevalent among young players who are, perhaps, more likely to be impressed by "glitzy" advertisements and testimonials from "stars", and more likely to be adversely affected by constant experimentation with varying equipment!

And it appears that many players presume that trumpet "paraphrenalia" can be purchased in the same manner as one would select a new computer!

"why yes- I'd like a 10 gig hard drive, 240 megs of ram, and the fastest available processor", becomes, in 'trumpetese', "Why, yes - I'd like a weirdo 39X, wait, better make that the 39XER I can get those D,E, and F's above High C". "BTW, when are you going to be getting the new weirdo 39XER-ea extended endurance models? How much more do you think the new "EA" model will cost?

Sure - it is great fun to purchase new equipment - it may even motivate you to renew your practice efforts .... for a few days! But it is a grave mistake to believe that trumpets, mouthpieces, and related "toys" will be of any real benefit for your progress.......especially, without an understanding of the dedication that is required in order to become a world-class player.

The Trumpeter's No. ONE Pedagogical Nemesis is:

Excessive external mouthpiece pressure via the Static Embouchure.

The "partials" or "harmonics" are selected by varying the amount of "forearm" pressure against the soft embouchure. "Mashing" the lips between the mouthpiece and teeth is perhaps a more painful description! The embouchure is actually "formed" by the mouthpiece. As a result, the player finds himself to be more at the "mercy" of the mouthpiece, and related equipment, than are some other players. I describe this as "bringing the mouthpiece to your chops". Psychology implications: An EXTERNALLY orientated, "trumpet as New years Eve horn" approach - you blow into "it", "it" produces the sound. All things considered, some folks are able to become quite good players using this embouchure - up to a certain point.

However, there are some unfortunate side effects associated with the Static Embouchure.

1. An upper range limited to D3 or E3 (above the staff) 2. One's "highest" register is limited by the ability to endure pain. 2. A weak low register (tones below middle C - first ledger line) 3. Great problems with endurance. 4. Range is limited to c. 1-1/2 octaves WITHOUT "re-setting" the chops. 5. Relatively poor flexiblity.

Overcoming the Static Embouchure and reducing mouthpiece pressure.

The CONSTANTLY ADJUSTING EMBOUCHURE - the basis for this thinking is the "mouthpiece-less buzz". The functioning of this embouchure is a result of consciously manipulating the muscles that control pitch and airflow/speed. I describe this as "bringing the chops to the mouthpiece". An INTERNALLY orientated approach: Pitch is controlled by pressing the lips INTO each other, and adjusting the airpressure accordingly.Our highest tone is the point where we are (A) Unable to further compress the lips, to effect a "higher buzz" - the air "breaks through" our lips at more than one vibration point, or leaks at the corners of the mouth.or (B) We are unable to supply sufficient airpressure necessary to "breakthrough" and "buzz" the lips. No buzz, no tone!

You may like to experiment with the "balloon" analogy: Blow-up a balloon while holding the neck of the balloon with the thumbs and first fingers of both hands. Now you can run your own series of experiments Re. pitch, airpressure, and compressing/relaxing the aperture or buzz.

My thinking is that there really is NOT such a great diversity as to how the trumpet is "blown" - the REAL differences have to do with how that process is DESCRIBED!

I'll conclude with a quote from the PREFACE of SAIL THE SEVEN C'S. Though written nearly 30 years ago, I have found no need to alter the premises.

"It is the author's premise that all good players play essentially the same way, but due to human variation both physical and mental, no single approach will be effective for all players. I have further hypothesized that the greatest stumbling blocks to teaching ``what to do'' while playing are : (A) A lack of scientific evaluative techniques. (B) A lack of standardized terminology, and (C) the difficulty of trying to externalize, or verbalize, a process which is essentially internal. In other words, most disagreements regarding playing techniques are a result of several differing verbal descriptions of the same process. It is much akin to the proverb of the blind men who gave conflicting descriptions of an elephant, based upon the examination of a particular appendage of the animal".

"The range of the trumpet, as well as that of all other brass instruments, is contingent upon the chops of the player. To this end, we brass players have to devote considerable time to the physical development of our embouchure. I doubt that anyone can promise that any amount of practice will enable everyone to play the above-mentioned seven octave range, any more than we can guarantee that every jogger will eventually be able to run the four-minute-mile. It is not given that all should be able to do so! But I can promise that everyone who seriously and conscientiously follows the regimen prescribed in this book will be able to improve his range and endurance considerably.

The high register will not capitulate to casual practice - but it will yield to those who correctly persist!" (End Quote) (C) Copyright 1999, B-FLAT MUSIC PRODUCTION

It is an important principal of SAIL THE SEVEN C'S (subtitled, An Easier Way to Play the Trumpet) that, NOT UNLIKE the pedal register, these tones (esp. above the 20th partial) are simply "played in tune" via the player's embouchure. Hence the concept of the "silent whistle" and the "constantling adjusting embouchure".

I would urge those, especially, who find themselves "stuck" on E, F, or G, (one of the most frequently heard complaints from those with an otherwise well-working embouchure) to pursue the idea of "narrowing down" the aperture, as I believe both Mr. Lynch and Mr. Sowinski have suggested.

I would also like to suggest that you might benefit greatly from developing the art of CLARINBLASIN by practicing on a long, "Natural Trumpet". Talk about learning to "pick-out" the partials with your "chops"!!

It seems clear to me that when one takes a good look at the overtone series of a brass intrument, from the eighth partial upward, a "well-tempered" scale is NOT part of the picture. From this standpoint, I have no interest in "slotting" this Just Intonation Scale where it tends to lie, quite naturally. Rather, we make the necessary adjustments in order to "play in tune" by well-tempered standards. And yes, I prefer to use "normal" fingerings so that I have a correct "feeling" of "where I am".

XXX wrote: cut/cut I have trouble *popping* notes above, say b flat above the staff. If they're in a phrase,no problem, but if I have to attack out of nothing on a high D, I sometimes have trouble.

Last night, on a friend's piccolo, I played cut/cut having the confidence to pick off anything up to high F out of nothing. My chops actually felt much better and more relaxed after playing the picc than before. What does this mean? What can I do to get my "attack confidence" on the b flat up to where it is on the picc?? Am I overblowing?? Cheers, XXXXX
1. It means that you are, in reality, playing an octave lower, in the overtone series, while playing the "pic". In othe words, the tones are not nearly so "close" together as they are on the long Bb.

2. So now you know why most players do not try to play the Brandenburg on a long Bb, even though playing the high "G's" and "A's" are no problem for "lead players". It is not the height - it is the close proximity of the notes!

3. Finally, so MANY people do not practice clean, precise, articulation in the octave from "high C"(C3) to C4. Most of their practice is "slurred", up there.

Begin on C3, playing staccato quarter notes c. 120. How many can you play without missing? Improve it by 100% before moving on to C#. Then continue upward. This isn't going to happen overnight - don't overdo it! It will gradually improve.

After achieveing success with the above, then move on to multiple tonguing, using the same procedure.

Keep 'Em Flying!


I am on phase v (three weeks) and am experiencing a decrease in > range. I rest sufficiently and experienced gains in sound and > strength in the other phases. I have some questions in addition to > the obvious "what am I doing wrong?" How "high" are you able to buzz, WITHOUT the mouthpiece? Are you able to play the first pedal "C", in tune, "open" fingering? Keeping in mind that I have never observed you - it appears that the previous phases were more "do-able" for you, and strengthening them gave immediate improvement. NOW - my guess is that you are pushing HARD on your ceiling and the going may be much slower from here,on. You may need to increase the duration of your "resting". > 1. Are the three warm up exercises to be done at the beginning of > each practice session and extended to lower pedal tones? If so, how > low? Yes - extend them as far down as possible, > 2. Should the pedal exercises be played before each phase practice > session and extended to lower pedal tones? Yes 3. Should the three octave scales (p.29) be attempted each day > immediately after the pedal exercises and before the phase v > exercises? I would use these only as a barometer as to "where you are" , developmentally, at the present. > 4. Even after extending the three warm ups and the pedals, I don't > seem warmed up enough to do the three octave scales or phase v to C. > Should I attempt them anyway? Save them for later > 5. Should all of the exercises be played as loud as possible without > over blowing? ABSOLUTELY NOT - this may be a key to the problems you are experiencing! Loud Playing is EXTREMELY tiring. The purpose of LOUD pedal tone playing is to force you to use LOTS of air. The "Harmonics Scales", eg., should be started ppp and only gradually increased in intensity - as your growing strength allows! > 6. Which exercises should be extended beyond what is written? Any or all may be extended as your capabilities allow. > 7. On the CD repeats that are written are not played and exercises > are either slured or tongued. Should I stick to what is written, > sluring and tonguing each exercise? Why not tongue one day, slur the next. Tonguing, invariably, is more difficult than slurring, so begin by mastering the slurs. Please get back to me with answers to my questions. Keep 'Em Flying! Clyde

(1) First of all - forget about your friend. You can't control what he does - the real race is with yourself!!

(2) I suspect that you are actually talking about "g" just above the staff! (?)

(3) "Squeezing-out" high notes is counter productive - of course, one can't "play" anything this way - only "hit" at them. You must develop the NEXT half-step ONLY when you are very strong and secure PLAYING the 5 half-steps below!

(4) Preoccupation with the "high register", before you have developed a firm playing foundation, is a blind alley. You can't erect a skyscraper on a foundation of mud!!

(5) Finally, - I am sorry that I can't offer you a magic bullet! BEWARE of those who do! Get a good teacher and work on fundamentals.

(6) I am sending some information which I hope you find to be helpful. NOTE the information re. buzzing without the mouthpiece.

"Banging away at high notes will accomplish nothing good" - Sail The Seven C's

Get back to me if you have specific questions.

All the best!



(Q) To trumpet teachers:

What is the purpose -- the benefit-- of sliding octave slurs where you play the harmonics in between? Why? What is the gain that can be achieved? Is it simply a matter of increasing flexibility? They feel good. I like them. I'm just wondering...why? Thanks,

First of all, I teach them (above) because I believe they provide the "easiest" access to the "higher" register.

(1) They get us started with the feel of "Clarinblasen" - where there is an "approximate" diatonic scale available. Begin with 1-2-3 valves depressed, sounding "E" fourth space. This is the lowest pitch at which it is possible to obtain the "Harmonics scales".

(2) Because there is no valve "movement", the resistance of the instrument remains unaltered throughout the entire scale.

(3) Because the partials are now found to be "stepwise", the attempt to "jamb" the mouthpiece into the chops, while ascending, is minimized.

(4) Depending upon the experience of the player, it is quite possible that the player will be unaware of how "high" he has ascended - thus helping to eliminate the "ledger-line paralysis" which is all so prevalent.


Initially, if the player is unable to sound the entire octave scale, ascending and descending, he will be content to ascend only a 5th and back - all the while playing very softly and with the lightest possible pressure. Also, play slowly at first and only gradually increasing your tempo and volume as your growing strength allows. Play many repetitions - feel the partials "snap" by while ascending and descending. Press your lower lip "up and into" the upper lip, making certain to increase that internal air pressure as you "tighten/narrow" the aperture to ascend, and relax (reverse process) to descend.

Below is a "pre-harmonics scales" discussion which may be helpful for players who are attempting to play these "scales" with entirely to much "external mouthpiece pressure".

We need an embouchure which is "bunched" (some have called it, protruding) in order to create the buzz VIA closing the aperture gradually as we ascend, (as opposed to one in which the mthpc. is used to "squash" or thin the lips, in order to raise the pitch). In response to the ever tightening aperature, which raises the pitch of the buzz, IT IS NECESSARY to increase the strength of the airstream in order to overcome the "tightening" of the lips-aperture. You can readily experience this feel by buzzing: C2, then E2, then G2, for example. This is the feel of the "NO (mouthpiece) PRESSURE" embouchure (obviously).

Now, put down all three valves, play very softly, and use so little mthpc. pressure that you can hear the "buzz" from around the mthpc., as well as through the trumpet. THE ONLY MOUTHPIECE PRESSURE to be used is that which is necessary to stop the leaking from around the mthpc!!!! And the "bunched" chops and internal pressure will serve to FURTHER lessen the bad effects of the mouthpiece pressure. You can probably play a full octave, non-tempered scale (to E3) in this fashion. Press the lips together and squeeze the diaphragm muscles and sphincter as you ascend.Relax same as you descend The importance of the internal air pressure is OFTEN UNDERESTIMATED even among those who are otherwise good players. If you are using little enough pressure you can probably feel the partials "bumping" by.

Keep 'Em Flying!

Clyde Hunt

(Q) Do I have To Be A Freak in order to play In The High Register?

NO! You do not have to be a "freak" in order to play, musically, above "high C" (C3). In fact, you develop "it" in esentially the same way that you developed G, above the staff, to high C. Build your range one half-step at a time.

Another very important question - are you (physically) READY to develop this register? Many people are anxious to "run" before they can "walk." Impatience is the enemy of the ambitious student.

May I make a, perhaps, crude analogy? Were you to decide that you want to lift weights, and your goal is to ultimately be able to press 200 lbs, how would you proceed? Would you go to the gym, strap 200 lbs. on the bar and begin "jerking away"? Ridiculous, you say? Equally ridiculous to take out your trumpet, take a death grip on it, and start "banging-away" at "double C" - or any other note which is out of your reach!!!!

Hello Clyde! I have just switch to a completely new lip adjustment, something like the "????" system.(have played this system for 2 month now), My old lip alignment was terrible I have to use high m.p. pressure for normal playing. When I use this new system there is no m.p. pressure on my lips at all.

Old Set-up: Lower lip tended to go under upper teeth when trying to play in the "high" register. Still there was some good things whit this set-up. The sound in the low / middle register was good.

New Set-up: Lower lip seem to press more against upper lip and creating necessary resistance. No m.p. pressure and high register come more easily. Still there is some problems with the sound quality in lower register But I still have some questions:

When I'm practising long and low tones with very high sound and air pressure, I can do lip slurs from low "C" to over high "C". But when I play regularly sheet music etc. have problems hitting a normal "G" over the staff. Is the problem to little air flow, or to weak embouchure. My trumpet is a King Silwer Flear, and I use a Dennis Wick 2W m.p.

Thank you very much for reading my Mail!

Dear ////, You know, I would be very "suspicious" of any attempt to "describe in great detail 'how' an embouchure "works", attach a name to that description, and expect ANY STUDENT ANYWHERE to be in conformance of that description.

I know there are people who give very "cut and dried" descriptions of a "working" embouchure - and it all sounds very convincing.

(1) Read the various descriptions - USE THOSE WHICH "WORK" for you - and to "heck" with that which doesn't describe "you"!!

(2) Switch your approach from arpeggiated lip slurs to a "scalewise / stepwise" approach.

(3)Try the "harmonics scales" approach, as well as major and chromatic scales. The HL CLARKE Tech studies are an effective means for gradually expanding your melodic playing. Also, many players find that playing exercises which sound an octave higher than written, may have the benefit of reducing the psychological fear of the ledger line!!!

(4) The importance of the equipment is all but non-exisrent!

All the best! Keep 'Em Flying!

Dear Mr. ////, I must point out that there are no magic exercises, EXCEPT for the need to "play a wide range, within a single blow. Major or minor scales will work just fine, thank you.

You can practice "any" exercise until "Hades" freezes over - and your range will not necessarily expand!!

If you are using excess mouthpiece pressure, and a static embouchure, your "highest' register will be limited by your ability to endure pain. Usually somewhere around D or E above high C (first C above the staff)

Correct use of the airstream and manipulation of that airstream are substitues for "mashing you flabby lips" between the mouthpiece and your teeth.

I am going to email the Preface to SAIL THE SEVEN C'S, to you. Hopefully it will help to enlighten things for you.

The "Oldtimers", Fred Elias and others, often spoke of a "No Pressure" method, which was pretty much "on track". Unfortunately, some influential, modern, player/writers have discredited this methodology - declaring that there is no such thing as "No Pressure".

NOTA BENE: Of course, there are enormous pressures involved while playing in the octaves from G 2 to C 5!

BUT - by NO PRESSURE they meant: (1) you must learn to substitute a tightly compressed m-m-m-m-m embouchure and an appropriately pressurized airstream, (2) TO REPLACE mouthpiece pressure which is exerted, via the forearms, upon the "chops", for the purpose of stretching or thinning the lips, in order to produce ever smaller (higher) vibrations. The only mouthpiece pressure required is that which is sufficient to prevent air leaking from around the mouthpiece, while playing. And yes, the higher we go, the more external pressure is required to stop the leakage.

But we are speaking of pressure of an entirely different magnitude and derivation! I have heard the arguments which suggest that, "the only thing which matters is whether or not you are able to tolerate the necessary pressure". And there is a certain pragmatic truth to this statement. But I am concerned that this caveat will only serve to re-assure certain students that ³there is no other way, nor any better way to "do it", than my way - the way I play right now! Consequently, the possibilities for improvement may never be seriously explored. I am quite certain that no improvement will be effected until the realization that there is, indeed, ³an easier way to play the trumpet². It seems to me that what we are seeking, in reality, is to reduce our externally applied mouthpiece pressure. If you have difficulty with the concept of "No Pressure", why not simply make "less pressure" your goal? After all, these are certainly not all-or-nothing principles.

Keep 'Em Flying!

Clyde E. Hunt

I'm thinking maybe I should play Phase I on one day and alternate with phase II and III. Or maybe some easy stuff below a third > space C just to get > the circulation going and relax the embouchure. I feel like my horn is > very resistant and > wonder how this impacts my embouchure.

I LIKE resistance! It requires you to PUSH the air - a concept which I find is nearly ALWAYS missing from players aspiring to play in the high register! In so many method books we read, "Use more air"! I don't believe that that is an appropriate description. If one "blows harder"(more air) WITHOUT narrowing the aperture (providing resistance) the sound will only ge louder. (Make an analogy with garden hose and water pressure. Providing "resistance" with the thumb is what makes the water squirt three times as far! Resistance requires us to "push air" with our stomach. This becomes fairly violent in the upper register.

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