Got Range?

“You can’t extend your range simply by seeing how high ou can play. Get comfortable with a romantic ballad, then trying moving it up a minor third. That way, you’re rasing the center of your range.” – Maynard Ferguson

Most students would rather just see how high they can play and then complain “I can’t do it” when they fail.

Hey, you know it’s true. And if you don’t really care, then that really is fine,

But if you do:

If you really want it, it’s here. But you may have to “re-think” yourself. Caution!  There be Dragons here.

1. Trumpet Treats….or “treatment” for what ails you.

2.Click here to download pdf. #1  This is 100% sure and 100% safe. HOWEVER, it requires Consistent practice and PATIENCE! This is the best place to start, I promise!

3. Click here to download pdf. #2  Again, fool-proof. But it requires Consistent practice and PATIENCE!

4. Click here to download a Range Study pdf  from Dr. Michael Droste. Please visit his website and purchase “The Ultimate Warm-up Book.” And again…it requires Consistent practice and PATIENCE!


If you don’t own First Book of Practical Studies: Cornet and Trumpet by Robert Getchell. get one. It’s an EASY book. Beginner level. Play the first etude. Yes, I KNOW it’s just quarter notes from low C to 2nd space A. Transpose it upward to whatever the key in which the highest note (previously an A) is your highest perfectly comfortable note.


Play the first etude 5 times in that key, at quarter note = 60 MM,  with a beautiful tone, resting 20 seconds (approximately) between repetitions. Can you do that without effort and without tiring in any way? Is it 110% easy and comfortable?  If so, proceed. If not, transpose down to the key in which you it is 110% easy and comfortable. That will be your starting key.


For each etude, quarter note = 60 MM:

  1. Sing and finger the etude (yes, sing with your voice) in tune: match with a piano or use a tuner, but don’t obsess over the visual aspect.
  2. Free buzz and finger in tune: match with a piano or use a tuner, but don’t obsess over the visual aspect.
  3. Mouthpiece buzz in tune: match with a piano or use a tuner, but don’t obsess over the visual aspect.
  4. Play the etude perfectly and in tune: match with a piano or use a tuner, but don’t obsess over the visual aspect. If you have finger issues, do not continue until they are prefect and you can forget about them. Fingers should be a non-issue for this routine!
  5. Rest until you feel completely relaxed and ready to play again. Resting time is up to you, but minimum 10 seconds, maximum 45 seconds. If you need MORE than 45 seconds to recover from the steps 1-4, you need to transpose the etude down a step or two. This is about TRAINING yourself to play everything 110% easy and comfortable.
  6. Repeat the etude and focus on complete ease, relaxation and tone, with as little pressure as possible on your face. If it was completely easy, totally  relaxed and with a big, beautiful tone. You can even add dynamics and rubato for phrasing.
  7. Repeat the process on the next etude.
  8. When you start to fatigue or lose concentration, stop immediately! Don’t practice “fatigue.” Practice perfection.
  9. Tomorrow. begin on the etude you stopped on today.
  10. Work through the entire book in this manner. When you reach the end, go back to the beginning and start in the key a half-step higher.

Repeat this process until you can play as high as you want as long as you want. You will probably find problems in your mechanics at various levels. If so, diagnose and correct the problems. You may need to seek professional assistance if you cannot self-diagnose.

You may also “plateau” in a specific range. If so, do not panic! Continue the process. Focus on SINGING and moving air – do not focus on your chops. Plateauing usually is a result of trying to do too much with your face and not enough with airspeed, unless you have a chop mechanics issue.

Keep in mind that this is a LONG-TERM process for LONG-TERM results. It’s not “how to hit double-C in a 30 minutes or less.”  It’s about being able to play as long as you want, as high as you want, as loud or soft as you want, as musically as you want. It may take 6 months to a couple of years to add a MUSICAL octave to your range. Or you can keep beating yourself with trying to “hit” high notes and never add a useable half step.

If you get bored with this book, you can select another “graduated” etude book, like Book #2 in this series. However, you’re going to be working out of other etude books and methods for other goals. Keeping this exercise SIMPLE allows you to focus 100% on range and ease of playing.

Finally, this is NOT a trumpet high note “method.” It’s just a tried and true way to secure your upper register and is just a small part of an overall practice routine.  I did not “create” this and I do not know who did originally. I just know that it has worked for everyone who has had the dedication to do it.

BTW – You could even reverse the process and develop a better low and pedal register.

Are you getting the point?!!

Even if your chops and air are working perfectly, unless you are one of the few players, and I mean VERY few, who were born “gifted” with high chops (Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Adrian Bolt are “gifted” in their sport), developing high range requires:

  • Careful thought
  • Consistent practice
  • Airspeed and air compression development
  • Embouchure strength development
  • Perfecting fundamentals
  • Balancing the mechanics daily
  • You still have to learn to read, count, make a great sound, have good people skills, etc.
  • Tracking progress using a measurement system, could be written or could be RECORDING YOURSELF (HINT HINT!!) EVERYDAY!!
  • Patience! There will be great days and bad days
  • Recording yourself every day (purposefully redundant!)
  • A “Killer Instinct” – persistence  – for …? We won’t know how long until you do it!
Is it worth it? Is it worth it to follow a plan consistently to play Double High C’s, whether it takes 6 months or 6 years? Maybe not. Not everyone gets to be an astronaut. (Double entendre’ intended.)
Research Peyton Manning. As an active player in the NFL, he is already ranked #8 on the all-time greatest football players list. He has the DNA (his dad was a great pro quarterback, as is his little brother Eli), but he also studies the game and practices more than anyone on record. And he’s at #8 not because he’s a great passer, but because he controls the entire game! He sees things others miss. He knows when to to throw, when to run, when to fold if a play goes wrong. Sure, he has great physical skills, but it’s what he’s done with those skills, how he has learned to use them, is what makes him in the ALL-TIME Top Ten.
Few young people have the strength of will. It’s like earning a black belt. (Hmmmm? Seems I know a few students with Black Belts!)
Having been there, yea, it’s worth it! As I look back on my life, even at my age, after not playing for 10 years, and now having played for almost 2 years again, I’m going to do it. Unless I die first, which could happen. But if not: I am planning on having a consistent Double C by Christmas 2012. Just in time for the End of the Age!!
Join me! I don’t want to be the only 7th Trumpet  (See Revelation)!
UPDATE July 4, 2013: I didn’t die, but I still can’t play.  Dental issues mostly. $4,000 in bridge work says ” Do NOT break this tooth!” But can I help you play….duh! Knowing what, when, where and how (and even who) is easy. It’s the discipline – not punishment – that most can’t handle. Too many distractions. And they are not all bad! You can have a blast playing trumpet and never hit a high G…I guess. 😉 Or make all-state. But that’s why I do NOT teach those who aren’t all-in and doubling-down. If I’m going to live vicariously through your trumpet playing, I want to hear “awesome,” and I don’t mean that in the vernacular. I mean “phenomenal!”
UPDATE April 29, 2012:
You really never know what’s going to happen. Since making this Double C or Die pledge, I’ve had a root canal, a broken tooth (not the same tooth!), 7 cervical spine injections, MRIs, CAT Scans, and a myelogram and then a cervical laminectomy.
And this may be it for me. I may not be able to play again. So it’s up to you to carry on the lineage of
Ernest S. Williams, Don Jacoby, Ray Crisara and…me. I have “everything you need to know and do to be a fantastic player” inside my head, and am unable to do it. It’s all yours….if you want it.












If you were not born with a genetic Double C, you CAN improve your range  with consistent work, consistent meaning DAILY, and usually 2-3 times a day.

Is it worth it? Oh yea, if you’re tough enough. It’s worth it.

But – A bad sounding high note is still a BAD SOUND! There’s so much more…













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