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Thread: Building Strength and High Range

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    Not exactly. The very first exercise I mention is not a scale - you just blow through all the notes you can get with one fingering. But the scale exercise is a normal, major scale. The key ingredient there is to crescendo toward the top. If coming back down is too much for your air supply, then just finish at the top note.
    Oh, I misread it!

    So

    1) 1st exercise is the strength building one where you hold down 3 valves and blow through all the notes.

    2) 2nd is the Matteson Technique, involves playing 2 octaves of a major scale upwards, while doing a crescendo. So there's no need to play every chromatic notes while going up. I am guessing the following means playing the next major scale?
    Then he would start a half-step higher and do the same thing
    is that correct?

    Thank you so much, sir!

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianeSparkle View Post
    Oh, I misread it!

    So

    1) 1st exercise is the strength building one where you hold down 3 valves and blow through all the notes.

    2) 2nd is the Matteson Technique, involves playing 2 octaves of a major scale upwards, while doing a crescendo. So there's no need to play every chromatic notes while going up. I am guessing the following means playing the next major scale?


    is that correct?

    Thank you so much, sir!
    Yes, that's it. For the first one you can also use all 4 valves, which I find more valuable.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
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  3. Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    One strength-building technique that was popular while I was in college (many years ago) was to blow through the overtone series. You should press all 3 valves and start on a low F-sharp at ff. (Or press all 4 and start on treble clef D or C# an octave below the staff, for bass clef that would be low C or B natural below the staff.) Then slur at that volume up and down the overtone series trying to hit every partial along the way. It sounds pretty gross but does help build strength.

    I learned a great technique for building range from jazz euphoniumist Rich Matteson. He would use 2-octave major scales, starting on a low, comfortable note at about mf and doing a crescendo to the top of the scale. He tried to keep the tone quality about the same as he went up the scale. Then he would start a half-step higher and do the same thing, continuing this way until he reaches the highest note he can play. The trick is to keep the crescendo and tone quality as you go up. Because of that, you need to slur the scales - you want to keep the air uninterrupted all the way up.

    As you get stronger and better at doing this exercise, try sustaining the top note longer. Also, when you get to the top note, hold it for a couple seconds and then continue by playing down the scale. That helps develop control of your new-found strength. As you turn around and start down the scale, you'll find that you have more "opportunities" to lose control of the notes. It's much better to have the control to do something flexible with those high notes rather than just getting there and stopping.

    The "Matteson technique" will force you to use lots of air and will build your high-range strength like nothing else I have found. Not using enough air means that the horn is acting more as a megaphone. But as you use more and more air strength, you are encouraging the horn to resonate. Once that happens you will find that your high notes are "slotted" into a real pitch, which makes you sound dramatically better!

    Keyword: highrange
    This. ^

  4. #14
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    about how fast should these scales be played

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by gmck2101 View Post
    about how fast should these scales be played
    Medium or slow, depending on your air supply. You have to be able to hear the tone/volume of each note.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
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  6. #16
    So it seems like I finally internalized how the embouchure should work when going into the high range. Or maybe I've gotten it wrong, please feel free to correct me or point out some different understanding of this! I am sharing this in hopes that maybe someone would find useful down the road.

    I've been doing this exercise, among others for a while now and I still struggle with having a nice high range. I also read up a lot and tried to apply what I've read to my practices, namely, focusing on the corner of the lips, lips to be firm etc.

    I was listening to Jan Kagarice's masterclass where she was talking about sound production and was demonstrating blowing between 2 paper that were slightly curved outwards, bringing them together as she blew. While the paper that were curved inwards were flapping around wildly. While absentmindedly playing intervals while listening to her, I realised I was going beyond the range I thought was possible with my current ability and I was able to hold said note for awhile, while I was trying to feel what was going on. What I felt was

    1) the vibration seemed to be centered around the inner side of my lip, instead of the middle or the outer.
    2)I was not pulling the sides of my lips, I wasn't really working them that hard, it felt the same for the upper lip too.
    3) What was firm and pulling its weight was the lower lip, and even then it was firmly set against my teeth and that provided support for the lip to not tire out?

    So in essence (correct me if I am wrong), the bulk of the work seems to be done by the lower lip (supported by the lower set of teeth) that helps to allow me to play with a lot less tension?

    I've been messing around with that for a bit (not long enough yet), but that seems to be the case. With a little concentration in ensuring that it's the lower lip that is doing the weight lifting, I was outputting better high notes with less tension. Of course, I still misfire, but it's more of overblowing and still not getting used to this new feeling, but overall my accuracy and confidence in getting the right note seems to be much higher now!

    Does this make sense? Is this correct or am I building up a potential bad habit?

    Thank you!
    "Never over complicate things. Accept "bad" days. Always enjoy yourself when playing, love the sound we can make on our instruments (because that's why we all started playing the Euph)"

    Euph: Yamaha 642II Neo - 千歌音
    Mouthpiece: K&G 4D, Denis Wick 5AL

    https://soundcloud.com/ashsparkle_chika
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  7. I watched a masterclass by trumpeter Jens Lindemann (I think it was him) - he was all for ‘anchor tonguing’ (or whatever it’s called) where the tip of the tongue supports the bottom lip. This, he said, helps with the high register. I’ve noticed I do this without thinking, on all but the lowest notes, and I can still articulate fairly cleanly. It seems that the bottom lip should be supported and the top lip should do the buzzing. I’ve also heard that an undesirable ‘double buzz’ can happen if the bottom lip isn’t supported (I guess that both lips buzz otherwise).
    Also, ‘low loud high soft’ (I think this was from Charlie Porter, trumpeter) helps with high notes - not relying on blasting them out with loads of air, just concentrating on fast air. That’s the theory, I’m still working on this one!
    I’ve just bought ‘the brass gym’ - some great exercises in this book!

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