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Thread: Building Strength and High Range

  1. #1

    Building Strength and High Range

    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
    Last edited by davewerden; 07-01-2018 at 03:43 PM.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  2. #2

    Building Strength and High Range

    Quick question: are these exercises to be done in one breath? Seems that that should be the case.

  3. #3

    Building Strength and High Range

    Originally posted by: fsung

    Quick question: are these exercises to be done in one breath? Seems that that should be the case.
    Yes, that's the idea. The main goal of the exercise is to get you to use your air effectively, keeping a steady flow throughout the scale. That's why I always slur the exercise - it keeps the air moving and helps you get the idea of increasing the effort as you go higher (because you are trying to create a crescendo).

    If you can't make the full two octaves in one breath, then stop in the middle, breathe, and start the 2nd octave at the same volume you just arrived at. As long as you keep the crescendo to the top it should still work.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  4. #4

    Building Strength and High Range

    This should help with me increasing my range on the Bass Trombone. Thanks Dave!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Building Strength and High Range

    Rich also worked through this with me at the Tubaranch many years ago, and the payoff is quick and long-lasting if you maintain it.

    Chester Schmitz has also said on many occasions that ascending lip slurs are the key to building a strong embouchure.

    Matteson-Schmitz-Werden...I'll heed that advice!! ;-)

    Jim W.
    Yamaha 642-II Neo, Wedge 103A/Wick 4AL
    Yamaha 321, Yamaha 621 Baritone
    Conn 50H trombone
    Blue P-bone
    www.soundcloud.com/jweuph

  6. #6

    Building Strength and High Range

    Overtone Series?


  7. #7

    Building Strength and High Range

    I've been short-winded all my life (even before I started smoking, and in spite of the fact that 1) I haven't smoked since 1972, and 2) I'm a middle-distance bicycle rider. Two-octave scales ascending and descending are not quite doable for me.

    I do a one-octave ascending scale with a hold on the top note, and then a 7-8-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 descent. I start this on a low Eb, and take it up chromatically until I'm bouncing off a high C or Db at the top.

    Then I play through whatever familiar hymn tune comes to my head, starting on a low key and taking it chromatically up until I can't go any higher.

    Another thing I do to work the extremes of the range is to do a 5-8 (hold)-5-3-1 and on down into the pedal range. On a good night I can start from a high Bb and go to and hold a high Eb. The Eb ain't pretty, but if I can do that, I should be to do a Db that's sort of pretty.

    One of my tuba-playing friends in the community band is always challenging me on pedal notes. It will be interesting how that works out after the Schiller arrives.





    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  8. Building Strength and High Range

    Try it faster, the scales part, hustle. I'd like to suggest my book, "Rangebuilding on the Trombone," which will be just fine for euphs also. $8, heck, why not?

    The book addresses range, accuracy, endurance, agility, flexibility and more.

    Now, I did use Concert Treble Clef for the high stuff in that book, not Bflat treble. You'll manage.


  9. #9
    Just double checking, so basically, I try to slur from the low Bb chromatically up as high as I can, try to hold the highest hold with the same quality, then slur back down?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianeSparkle View Post
    Just double checking, so basically, I try to slur from the low Bb chromatically up as high as I can, try to hold the highest hold with the same quality, then slur back down?
    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.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

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