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Improve high register

Postby Patrase » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:41 pm

Is it more likely than not that practice on a baritone (brass band type) will improve my tuba high register playing? Anyone else do something similar and can share their experiences?
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Re: Improve high register

Postby Ken Herrick » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:46 pm

It might but, why not expand your range on tuba instead of taking on a different instrument - unless of course you really want to.

A very good way to work on expanding range is to copy scale and arpeggio excercises and etudes like Kopprasch out using a notation program like muse score. Then transpose them up and down until you have the full range covered. Taking one example at a time, practice, starting in a mid range key then work upward and downward going higher and lower until you get to the limits of your comfort zone. In a day or two you will likely find the comfort zone has expanded. An hour a day spent doing a few items this way will give results. Strive to maintain your best sound and least necessary embouchure shift. Work at varying dynamic levels. Done diligently on a daily basis for even only a couple weeks you should find your range and overall technique steadily improving. The exercises in the "Also Sprach Arnold Jacobs" book are also good material to work this way.

This approach also works with some of the riskier excerpts such as the solo line from Mahler 1. I used to practice it in all keys working down to the pedal range up to an octave above where it is written. Always strive for your best sound and musical expression.

Don't force things by trying to go too fast.

A few years ago, after many years of no playing I did this and within 3 months was back in shape to the point where, except for brushing up on some literature, I would not have been afraid to do a fairly high level orchestra audition. Probably not many jobs would be given to somebody over 65 though.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby bloke » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:56 pm

- Play some high stuff until you're too tired to do it anymore.
- Rest ten minutes, and do it some more.
- Rinse, repeat.
- Try to not suck.
- Do not mash your mouthpiece into your face, so that you will not damage skin, muscles, capillaries.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby pauvog1 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:27 am

Patrase wrote:Is it more likely than not that practice on a baritone (brass band type) will improve my tuba high register playing? Anyone else do something similar and can share their experiences?


Probably not going to change / help much with your tuba playing. I'd focus on playing in the upper range of your tuba, (trying to do so musically), and try not to use any excessive pressure. Other than that, you may want to seek out a few private lessons.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby Roger Lewis » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:45 am

Take a look at my post here:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4051&hilit=High+range


I think it will help you.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby bloke » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:29 am

Isn't "high range" the FIRST thing that comes out of the bell of a tuba when 99% of people (who ever blow into a tuba) first blow into a tuba ?

I can't help but suspect that many/most problems with this (and I'm not-at-all targeting the originator of this thread) involve overthinking.

a final set of remarks from me:

Most who have problems with this, I strongly suspect, don't have any real problems playing around-and-above middle c (which is not a high pitch range - neither in "music" nor in "lips vibrating"), but actually have problems ~hearing~ the pitches that they are being asked to play (as so many instrumentalists, seemingly, play "by feel" rather than what should be occurring, which is to be playing "by ear")...and - thus - they balk.

...I would wager that many "beginners" (who, if sung to with a "high e" by a teacher/coach) could play one...as (again) "stuff around that pitch range" (ref: what I first contended in this post) is often what first comes out, when someone first attempts to play a tuba.

bloke " [1] Hold down all 3, 4, 5, or 6 valves. [2] Play some melody that you know very-very well 'up high'. [3] Sure, (ref: the valves), it will sound crappy, but it will not be 'hard'."
Last edited by bloke on Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby swillafew » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:52 am

I have a euphonium, a trombone, an F tuba, and a BBb tuba. I top out around the F above middle C on each and every one of those horns. Careful practice on the trombone or euph. will yield a little more, but it goes away very quickly too.

The highest pitches sound the best when I do a lot of arpeggios, ascending and/or descending, working up chromatically. If the practice regimen is anything less than "the old college try", (as much as I can stand) then time spent above the staff is a poor investment of the time. The arpeggios in other ranges are a solid use of the time.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby opus37 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:59 am

There are two exercise books from Encore Publishing that are designed to help develop the high range. There is also an Exercise book by Oystein Baadsvik that helps with this development. They actually start by working on the low register and gradually work you higher. They involve a lot of scales and arpeggios. You can develop your own routine, but sometimes these programmed sources are easier. The important thing is to work on it every day. I don't think taking up another instrument will help. In fact, it may slow you down because you will be taking time away from your primary horn and objective.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby Donn » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:02 am

swillafew wrote:I have a euphonium, a trombone, an F tuba, and a BBb tuba. I top out around the F above middle C on each and every one of those horns. Careful practice on the trombone or euph. will yield a little more, but it goes away very quickly too.


Just for the sake of discussion, does this perhaps suggest that the answer might be "yes" - there could be some value in working with a baritone? Not a lot of value, but it depends on what you're trying to do.

The point I'm getting is that the ability to produce a certain note isn't particularly governed by the size of the instrument - but I think it's fair to say, a smaller instrument and mouthpiece is a little more supportive for high notes. One of my troubles with high range for a long time, was that I strained at it. Maybe using too much muscle instead of the right muscle, or something. If you work on the same notes on a more supportive smaller instrument, and if in that context you can play them much more efficiently, you have something you might be able to bring back to the big mouthpiece. Maybe not worth the trouble, on its own, but who knows, there may be some value in playing the baritone anyway.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby Travis99079 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:53 pm

bloke wrote:- Try to not suck.


Wise words, indeed.

:lol:
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Re: Improve high register

Postby chronolith » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:26 pm

Travis99079 wrote:
bloke wrote:- Try to not suck.


Wise words, indeed.

:lol:


Ken Herrick wrote:unless of course you really want to.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby swillafew » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:20 pm

Just for the sake of discussion, does this perhaps suggest that the answer might be "yes" - there could be some value in working with a baritone?


I had reasons for learning the doubles; I don't think there anything I would call an outright benefit to my tuba playing coming from the doubling.

I pickup up euphonium at the request of a teacher, and got a lot better parts on the euphonium in high school band. Trombone helped me to be included in a jazz band. So musical development was certainly there. It prompted some extra time getting the chops ready for the neglected instrument.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby DouglasJB » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:43 pm

I am waiting on an Eb tuba to finish so I can start playing it,until then I have been using the school owned F (I miss my 6V Strauss sometimes...) I am working on Yorkshire Ballad which reaches up to a high Ab, since I will perform this on Eb I have been learing it up a while step (same fingerings as I would use on Eb tuba) which takes me up to As and Bbs. Good practice.

Point is, transpose a piece you are working on up a step or however far it is that you need to start working on.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby Leland » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:47 pm

swillafew wrote:I have a euphonium, a trombone, an F tuba, and a BBb tuba. I top out around the F above middle C on each and every one of those horns.

To take this further, I also have the same upper limit on trumpet/fluegelhorn/alto/French horn/etc as I do on any of the low brasses. That is, it's all the same "absolute" limit, like the same note on the piano (give or take a few steps), not the same "relative" pitch (a "dubba C" on trumpet is way out of reach for me).
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Re: Improve high register

Postby k001k47 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:31 am

Pressure.

But the tight gut - which everyone says is "old school" misinformation - is resultant, not causative; all that tightness in the gut, or the vasalva maneuver, does is restrict your air supply. Feel instead that the pressure occurs in the mouth and at the lips. A good way to feel this is where you do that breathing gym exercise where you breathe in then cover your mouth with your hand for the exhalation, feel the pressure, then remove your hand.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby nworbekim » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:33 am

Good stuff here... I'm working diligently on both ends of my range on the tuba and euphonium. The upper is actually progressing better on tuba,and the lower on euphonium .

I guess I've increased by a 5th upwards with lots of playing high... Lots of scales, lip slurs, and playing (trying to play) familiar pieces up an octave. (so I can hear what the notes are supposed to sound like)

I do the same in the low.

I'm quite sure playing euphonium and trombone help my tuba chops. It has forced my corners to firm up... I have always been guilty of being lazy with that.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby bloke » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:48 am

I indicated that I would not post anymore on this. That having earlier been said...

Please notice that I have written no long, complicated posts (and no bullet-point specifics) in this thread.
This is ~not~ complicated, and it is much easier (as far as the bass/contrabass tuba is concerned - simply by "doing it, resting when facial exhaustion occurs, and not mashing the instrument into the face") to improve this range than to improve the extended low range.

It's just like anything else: There are no "tricks"; there is no "app" to download. There is measured and thoughtful work that may be pursued. It's very easy (see parentheses, above) to determine what needs to be done. The required physical strength to be able to play for an extended amount of time above the staff on the tuba, (no exaggeration) can probably be built up in one to two weeks...not much time.

:arrow: :arrow: The only REAL way, though, to improve high-range ~SECURITY~ is to GREATLY improve the ability to HEAR pitches to be played PRIOR TO playing them. Without this, there is no target. Playing a brass instrument "by feel" (rather than "by ear") is epically frustrating, and requires FAR TOO MUCH practice time with FAR TOO MUCH trial-and-error to obtain the desired results.
IF :?: there is a "trick", then THIS :idea: is the "trick".

I few years ago, we performed this (not often performed Bozza) suite at Ole Miss. None of us knew the piece. Micah (a new faculty member, at that time) asked to perform "Bozza". We were weary of playing "Bozza", so we pulled out this "other relatively-unknown Bozza". I don't have much time to "practice"...I do a whole bunch of other stuff (who doesn't?). I couldn't imagine sitting down and spending hours-and-hours learning it by "rote". :( We rehearsed together three or four times (probably ran through the entire suite a total of seven or eight times), and I probably messed around at home with this piece (all movements) for a couple of hours. Again, I simply DO NOT have the time to learn gymnastic music "by rote". If I could not hear the pitches by (simply) looking at the page, there's no way I would have the time to perform pieces (admittedly: certainly NOT the "most difficult" piece in the literature, but a handy online example) such as this one.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo8kGPVirvQ
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Re: Improve high register

Postby k001k47 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:37 am

bloke is right: the best way to get good at doing something is to do it. Thinking about doing it only gets you so far. Working on the ear is a good idea too. The "slots" in the higher ranges are narrower, and the room for error is much smaller. And as discussed in the free blowing thread, the lack of pressure, or resistance, causes fatigue, which is why playing around c4 on tuba is tiring, but a breeze on Euph.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby Mark » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:57 pm

Adding to bloke's advice...

You can buy some beginner to intermediate trombone books with fun songs you know, e.g. movie themes. Play them a couple of times down a octave, in the tuba range. Then, once you have those tunes in you ear, play them as written.
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Re: Improve high register

Postby anonymous4 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:55 pm

bloke wrote: :arrow: :arrow: The only REAL way, though, to improve high-range ~SECURITY~ is to GREATLY improve the ability to HEAR pitches to be played PRIOR TO playing them. Without this, there is no target. Playing a brass instrument "by feel" (rather than "by ear") is epically frustrating, and requires FAR TOO MUCH practice time with FAR TOO MUCH trial-and-error to obtain the desired results.
IF :?: there is a "trick", then THIS :idea: is the "trick".

This isn't just a beginner problem, as I knew many music majors that could only play by feel. They would log looooooong hours in the practice room, but their recitals were pretty so-so for all that time. Private teachers, it is of critical importance that you figure out which of your students can actually read/hear music, and which ones learn their lesson materials by rote every week. Believe me, college students have a lot of time on their hands, and some of them can "fake it" for years. Also, always ask what grade they get in aural skills. Of course, everyone always passes, but if your student has a C, it probably means they can't hear jack.
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