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Hitting the wall . . .

Carl, I am a comeback player and have been very fortunate to have some wonderful teachers. While I have managed to improve my playing considerably in many areas I have not been able to increase my “own it” range above high D, Eb. I can play up to that range with good endurance for hours but when I try to go above it most times I hit a wall and air escapes out the side of the mouthpiece. Why do so many players seem to have this problem and what are your suggestions to get beyond this?


Ken……….. Without seeing you in person and only going on what information you gave me here, I will give you two scenarios

1. There are many very good trumpet players who would love to be able to play with good endurance for hours up to D and Eb. That is a good range to be able to play solidly. There are four players in the section, the lead player, the second and split lead player, the third player (who should be a good section player and able to play occasional not too demanding lead parts), and the fourth player (who should have a bigger set up and able  to build a foundation of good intonation that makes it easier for the higher players). It’s a team effort and everyone has a role. Everyone wants to play high notes but everyone is not physically equipped to play high notes. The old Zen axiom “find yourself” is in play here. Place yourself where things are natural for you and where you’re comfortable. Immerse yourself in the pleasure of playing beautiful music, in tune and blending. The more you do that the better you’ll become as a trumpet player.

2. If you are an in-demand working (professional) lead player or desire to be, then the E, F and G would be needed. Again, from what information you gave me, always keep the first scenario in mind and in play but try some different mouthpieces as you do. I would suggest a little shallower cup and or a shallower cup with a little bigger hole, or try your same size piece with a little bigger hole. Hopefully you can get the air to go through the horn instead of escaping out the side of your mouthpiece. Remember always use the least amount of air to get the job done to its fullest and never let the band leader ask for less.. Good skill and some luck..  Carl

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