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How To Play High Notes on The Trumpet with a Formulated Approach that Includes Free PDF Exercises

There is a systematic approach to playing high notes on a consistent basis. The four most important aspects are: (1) High Pressure Air Tank (2) Tongue Position (3) Lip Position (4) Super Fast Air Stream

(1) First, you must have air the reserves ready to be called up at a moments notice. I believe that the type of air needed to play lead is most closely related to a High Pressure Air Tank. You must tank up on a small quantity of high pressure air and release the valve, releasing the Super Fast Air Stream. When playing lead one should ride this high pressure air stream. Let the High Pressure Air Tank and the subsequent Super Fast Air Stream help do the work. It's not the QUANTITY of air, but the SPEED of the air stream. VERY IMPORTANT: Playing high notes actually requires quite a small quantity of air.

(2) Next, Tongue Position should also be addressed. Saying ‘ah’ lowers the tongue and increase the ‘VOLUME’ of air. We don't want volume, but a Super Fast Air Stream. Saying ‘ee’ arches the tongue and 'INCREASES AIR SPEED' for high note playing.

Lip Position. Imagine you have a tennis ball in your fingertips - now squeeze! This squeeze or pushing of your lips together is needed to play high. I personally use what people have called the ‘Superchop Method’ I pivot to push the lips over the top teeth and arch my tongue to alter the air stream. My lower lip curls in over the top of the bottom teeth. The top lip slightly overlaps the lower lip. The lip compression comes from pulling all of the muscles in toward the center.

(4) Finally, one must use a Super Fast Air Stream. The key is to achieve an incredible velocity of air, not quantity. The velocity must be so fast that it screams through the horn like a Mach 4 fighter jet. I mean fast! You should not puff your cheeks at anytime, check in a mirror. If you are puffing your cheeks, take your hand and literally hold your checks in, until your muscles are strong enough to do it on its own. Your goal is to obtain this Super Fast Air Stream INSTANTLY. It is the air speed, combined with lip and tongue position, that will give you success in the upper register.

Using the
Air Tank, Tongue Position, Lip Position, and Air Speed YOU must also practice high note playing EVERYDAY. I often take the Clarke Studies up to the next octave for practicing. Or perhaps you could practice the leads to your favorite big band or pop charts. Either way, nothing happens without practice and hard dedicated work.

Below is a pdf of the High Note High Range Playing Chapter from the Ultimate Warm Up Book.

Playing high notes on the trumpet can be a challenging but rewarding experience for many musicians. High notes require a combination of proper technique, breath control, and mental focus. In this article, we will discuss the various aspects of playing high notes on the trumpet, including the proper posture and hand position, breathing techniques, and mental preparation.

1 Posture and Hand Position - The first step in playing high notes on the trumpet is to ensure that your posture and hand position are correct. This will allow you to produce a clear and powerful sound that is free from any unwanted noises or crackling.

When playing the trumpet, it is important to stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed and your feet hip-width apart. This will help you maintain good balance and stability, making it easier to control your sound.
The hand position is also an important factor when playing high notes. To ensure that you are playing the trumpet correctly, it is recommended that you hold the instrument with your left hand, and use your right hand to grip the valve casing. This will allow you to control the flow of air through the trumpet and produce a clear, focused sound.

2 Breathing Techniques - Breathing is a critical aspect of playing high notes on the trumpet. Proper breathing techniques will help you maintain control and produce a powerful, resonant sound.
One of the most important breathing techniques to master is diaphragmatic breathing. This involves using your diaphragm, rather than your chest, to control the flow of air into your lungs. To practice diaphragmatic breathing, lie down on your back, place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, and focus on breathing deeply into your diaphragm.

Another important breathing technique is called "breathing from the back". This involves breathing into the back of your lungs, which will help you produce a more focused and powerful sound. To practice this technique, inhale deeply and imagine that you are breathing into the back of your lungs.

3 Mental Preparation - In addition to posture and breathing techniques, mental preparation is also an important factor when playing high notes on the trumpet. To play high notes effectively, it is important to have a clear and focused mind.

One way to achieve mental focus is to practice visualization. Visualization involves imagining yourself playing the high notes perfectly, without any mistakes. This can help you build confidence and overcome any nervousness or fear that you may have about playing high notes.

It is also important to warm up before you play. This can involve playing long tones, scales, and arpeggios at a moderate volume. This will help you build up your stamina and get your mind and body prepared for playing high notes.

4 Embouchure and Mouthpiece Placement
Embouchure and mouthpiece placement are critical factors in playing high notes on the trumpet. The embouchure is the way in which the lips and mouth are positioned to produce sound, and the mouthpiece is the metal piece that is inserted into the mouth.
When playing high notes, it is important to maintain a firm and focused embouchure. This means keeping the corners of the mouth firm, the lips close together, and the tongue flat and low in the mouth. It is also important to keep the mouthpiece centered on the lips and avoid pressing too hard.

To improve your embouchure and mouthpiece placement, it is recommended that you practice long tones and lip slurs. These exercises will help you build strength and control in your lips and mouth, allowing you to produce a clear and powerful sound.

5 Practice Tips
To improve your ability to play high notes on the trumpet, it is important to practice regularly and consistently. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your practice sessions:

Start with warm-up exercises: Begin your practice session by playing long tones and simple exercises to warm up your lips and prepare your mind and body for playing high notes.

Gradually increase the range: Start with notes that are comfortably within your range, and gradually work your way up to higher notes. This will help you build strength and control in your lips and avoid strain or injury.

Use a metronome: Playing with a metronome can help you develop better timing and rhythm, which is essential when playing high notes.

Record yourself: Recording yourself playing can help you identify areas where you need to improve and track your progress over time.

Take breaks: Playing high notes can be physically and mentally demanding, so it is important to take breaks and rest your lips and mind as needed.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When playing high notes on the trumpet, there are several common mistakes to avoid. These include:

Overblowing: Trying to force the sound by blowing too hard can result in a strained and unfocused sound.

Tightening the lips: Clamping down on the lips can restrict airflow and make it difficult to play high notes.

Holding the breath: Holding the breath can lead to tension in the body and a strained sound.

Rushing: Playing high notes too quickly can lead to inaccuracies and sloppy technique.

By avoiding these mistakes and focusing on proper technique, you can improve your ability to play high notes and produce a clear and powerful sound on the trumpet.

Playing high notes on the trumpet is a challenging but rewarding experience for many musicians. By focusing on proper posture, breathing techniques, embouchure, mouthpiece placement, and mental preparation, you can improve your ability to play high notes and produce a clear and powerful sound. Remember to practice regularly, avoid common mistakes, and stay focused on your goals, and you will soon be playing high notes with ease and confidence.

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©Copyrighted 2022 Michael Droste Peoria IL