High note jazz trumpet legends nearly single-handedly changed the desire of young trumpeters all around the world decades ago. Hearing one of these giants live was an amazing and inspiring experience, and created a desire in so many trumpet players that it could be considered near cult status for trumpeters.
|Trumpet player (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The more players tried to ascend to these upper register notes, the more the mystery built. Advice in every aspect of trumpet playing can be found. Mostly confusing, and some very much incorrect.
In 2004, I had the pleasure and distinct honor of being a part of the great Maynard Ferguson's band, and got to share a lot of time with "Boss" (as we called him). While on his band, I got to ask questions, take notes, and learn from the master.
What most players who begin this quest do incorrectly is mostly over compensate and fail to see what actually generates higher notes on trumpet. It is not sheer brute force that produces these notes with power, it is control and a balance between air and aperture.
To begin this journey properly, a player must master "whisper" tones... extreme soft playing that helps the aperture stay the size of a pin hole without pinching or straining the facial muscles.
Starting with a second line G and holding it as soft as possible for extended lengths of time (2 minutes to 20 minutes) and allowing ample rest will start a player on the correct path.
As the player develops more control, scales, etudes, and melodies can be incorporated into practicing that will have the player ascend to higher notes. Once control is established, playing louder is merely pushing a bit more with the air and allowing the aperture to open SLIGHTLY.
There is no fast solution to this. For many players this is a lengthy journey. Especially if the trumpeter has been practicing the "higher / louder / faster" method for months or years. Old habits will have to be broken... but once they are, the trumpet player will be amazed at how easily they can ascend to Double High C and beyond!
If you are a trumpet player on this quest and would like more information and resources, please visit