Build incredible trumpet chops


Sounds too good to be true right? You expect I will charge money for this if it really works don't you? Well I'm going to tell you the full secret here and it is not going to cost you a single penny. You must read this carefully however and take my advice seriously. This "trick" will work... but only if you don't abuse it. Much like so many other trumpet drills and exercises too much of anything is a bad thing.

So before I reveal the trick there are ground rules to using it.  You will not get results if you do not follow them. Again. You will not get results if you do not follow ALL the rules.

  • When starting never use this trick more than 3-5 minutes a day. A little goes a long way.
  • Always be fully warmed up and play regular music for at least 10-15 minutes before you practice the technique I'm about to give you.
  • Spend at least 3-5 minutes in the lowest part of your range and work daily to produce quality pedal tones.

Now those rules are not so bad are they? Particularly if you can get a Double C in perhaps a week or two?

So what is the secret?

  1. First off make sure you are completely warmed up.
  2. Take a low C on your trumpet and produce it at a medium volume
  3. Next, compress your lips very tightly together without changing your overall set.
  4. With just a pinhole worth of air play a high C on your trumpet
  5. Take frequent rests
  6. Air should only flow out through a tiny TINY hole between your lips
  8. After the high C play another low C to balance your chops

The high C you are producing should be fairly quiet but should require almost no pressure and no strain. If you are having trouble then your lips are likely not pressed together tight enough. Air should only flow out through a very very tiny hole in the center.

How can this possibly work?

Most trumpet players rely on inceased air and pressure as they move into the higher register. For getting a good sound sufficient air flow is critical and you must have it. The problem is that when you are first starting to play high notes you don't have the strength for your embouchure to support the air flow. So the lips tend to blow apart. That is why most trumpet players add additional pressure. To keep the air in.

This trick is teaching your lips where they need to be in order to play various high notes. As your strength improves then you will be able to increase the air flow and get the sound you want.

Getting to double C

For some people the double C will happen in the first few days. It isn't hard to play a quiet double C with a tightly compressed embouchure.  There is not much strength required because the air is not going to blow your lips apart. To me it sometimes feels a bit like whistling into the trumpet. It is a much different feel that your regular playing and you can't approach it the same way. That is why it is so important to only do this a little each day and build your strength.

Do get from the high C to double C you will want to go up in whole or half steps. The high G is a good place for your 2nd goal. It should also 'sing out' of the horn pretty good if you are doing it right. Practice using a little bit of lip vibrator on the high G. A basic guideline for moving to the Double C is as follows:

  • Start with a high C and increase lip compression and airspeed to move higher step by step
  • Rest between each attempt and play in the lower register to balance your chops
  • Slur between high C and the G above it.
  • All of this should be very quiet at first. Almost a whisper. Volume will come as you get stronger

Not a subtitute for regular practice

I must once again say that this trick is an exercise that should be used everyday... but very little everyday.  You will not typically use this approach in any real playing. It is a practice technique to 'show' your lips where they need to be and to give you confidence that a double C is actually easy. The hard part comes in adding enough air to make it sound good. That takes lots and lots of practice! But this 'secret' can fast track you into high register playing and dramtically improve your range if you follow the rules that were outlined in the beginning.


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# Tim
Wednesday, April 07, 2010 8:29 PM
This article reminds me of the 'Double C in 10 Minutes by Walt Johnson". I've used this technique to some success. I wish you could give more detail or perhaps a video example.

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