High Notes & Why They Can Cause Us To Quit!

Trumpet players learn early on that high register notes (or trumpet high notes) can be one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of playing.  So much so that by the time a player reaches 8th grade, they get stuck on working on the high notes.  Gaining consistency, power, control, and endurance are the aspects of the trumpet high notes that cause the most frustration!

My practice routines went from working on basic skills for performance, and more advanced skills such as improvisation, double tonguing, and technical skills, to working just the upper register to gain strength!  I became obsessed over this aspect of playing because Maynard Ferguson was a hero of mine.  And trying to sound like Maynard was a goal of mine.  He created excitement, energy, and a cult following with his faithfuls!

Once I entered college as a music major, it wasn’t more than my first lesson that it was extremely obvious that I lacked many of the skills that others had gained while I worked on these upper register notes.  I would ask every player I could find that had great range about how they did it, what mouthpiece they used, and what horn they played.

After my first year of college, I was extremely frustrated, had been cut from the scholarship program because of legislation, and I was defeated… so I quit!  For 3 years, I never looked at the horn.  During this 3 year period, I was miserable.  Playing was what I loved and what helped me identify myself as an individual.  so I had to go back!!!!

What I made my goal was to gain the knowledge I was seeking about playing trumpet high notes and live out my dream of playing professionally!  Check out Trumpet Resources for answers to your questions concerning High Note playing!

Keith Fiala