Trumpet/high notes


What advice, or tips, do you have for playing high notes (as C2, D2, E2, etc)?  Are there particular things you need to do with the lip?  When I play C2, for example, I blow in the higher part of the mouthpiece, or I have seen that blowing to one side can make for clearer notes.  Is high G played on the first valve?  I see that in bugle music, but you must have to get your lips awfully tight to play it.  How do you play those higher notes?

Thanks, Joel

Range is a result of work on the muscles dealing with the corners of the mouth, tongue placement and air focus. Many teachers have different approaches and ideas about range. With you still working in the staff, your process is about the same but changes to the 3 elements won't be as severe. The key with the "right way" to go about it for you is all in your comfort level of the process you feel is best for you. I hate to give you a "non answer" but time will not permit me to go over each available process in this forum. What I can tell you is that there are 3 things you can work on that will increase your range over time: 1-play up there. While you may not hit every note every time, striving to get up there will get the musculature ready to be up there. 2-mouthpiece buzz and use your ear. I buzz with everything on the radio, what I'm listening to or just generally. The issue many times with range is that we can't hear our pitch. Practice matching tone on the mouthpiece only and go from there. 3-chords. My favorite is to start the arpeggio by playing the base, third and fifth and then stopping. When I reach the 5th I tongue it 3 times and then stop. I rest for about 5-10 seconds and then I go to the next base note up and to do the same. I'll do this until the top note doesn't speak. I'll try that top one 3 times before stopping. Once I reach my limit, I'm done for the day on range. The muscles need time to repair and build. In fact, I might not even do that exercise but once every other day.


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Gene Ramsay


PLEASE read my instructions to you as a questioner about horns and value, etc. Most of those answers can be found at

I feel confident to answer all questions regarding trumpet and brass performing, practice techniques, and equipment inquiries. We never stop being "students" in music as we strive to grow technically and musically over our lifetime. Music is something that truly individualizes people and I would treat every question based on the individual asking the question.


I have been performing on trumpet for over 30 years. I have taught privately for over 20 years and in the public schools for 5 years. I have taught and performed in drum and bugle corps, bands, ensembles, and solo.

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Bachelor's Degree from the University of Montevallo in Music Education.
Over 20 years of private instruction (various individuals).
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Alabama Assistant State Director for Bugles Across America - 2009-2010
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Principal Trumpet - University of Montevallo - 1990-1992
Nuncie Leberte Music Scholarship - 1987-1988

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