WindWorks Trumpet Academy Forums WindWorks Everything is improving except range Reply To: Everything is improving except range

#33301
johnelwood
Participant

Hi Caleb,

Glad you’re less frustrated than normal and experiencing so many improvements.

I’m sure most players on here relate to your frustration regarding range and is why many of us are here and why Greg created WindWorks, etc.

It’s hard to help you without some more information. Perhaps for starters if you could share how long you’ve been playing and how long you’ve been doing the WindWOrks course, that might help people make appropriate suggestions.

Personally, I always find the text scrolling at the bottom of the website helpful:

1. Clamping the lips and over-blowing are the two most common problems
2. SHAPE changes pitch!
3. The lips interact with the air like the vocal chords
4. Air is for volume and long tones
5. Less air travels through the horn the higher you play
6. Critical awareness of the problem is ½ the solution
7. Practice is experimentation…a process of elimination based on ideas gathered from teachers, experiences and instinct

My experience was similar to yours for many years, my range was limited to where yours is. Less than a couple years ago, I started playing again and found myself on YouTube learning about different concepts regarding playing.

The things that helped me with range the most was the concept that less air is required the higher we play and the harmonics in the upper register get closer and closer together the higher we play (i.e. low C to G on the staff is a 5th, whereas High C to the next harmonic is a whole note to D natural, etc.

I played G and A below the staff, followed by G and A on the staff and closed my eyes and noticed how little effort it took to play an octave higher. And less air is required the higher we play, so I played G and A on the staff and tried to move as little as possible to change shape in order to change pitch to the octave above, playing softer. I focused on being as relaxed as possible and keeping my throat open. A good breath, but less air. And I had zero expectations, I was just mimicking something I saw on YouTube, but the A above the staff came out–and an A, for me, was a note I really only could get on my best days reliably and only for a very limited time. This was different, it was easy.

I used to have to chromatically ascend up to higher notes, and I would begin straining, tilting my head back, rolling my lower lip under and all sorts of manipulations to play higher.

Since employing the principles Greg espouses on WindWorks, it’s no harder for me to play High C than it is a middle C or E on the staff when I am doing things right. Tonight, wasn’t my best practice session, but I had that sensation tonight. And my range is now E or F above High C.

I’m still on this journey as well and figuring things out and trying to maintain consistency. Sometimes I fall into bad habits and clamp my lips top-to-bottom rather than engaging the aperture corners and shrinking the aperture inward horizontally from the outside inward around the air column. What helps me is when I catch myself struggling with range, to focus on tightening the aperture from the sides inward and opening my throat and relaxing and playing softer.

Another good check for me is to focus on steady, consistent, passive air and doing harmonic slurs to see how I’m changing pitch–am I engaging the aperture corners and changing pitch, or am I relying just on tongue arch and/or kicking the air.

My sound is another guide that helps me–is it open, resonant, or is it pinched, tight, small?

My strategy with range is to get the pitch softly first, then I can work on giving it more air to increase volume through practice.

I hope the above is helpful to you. I’m doing another round through the WindWorks course–each time I do it, I get more out of it and gain a more solid understanding of how to play, etc.

Best of luck to you! Please let us know how it goes.

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