I’ve been working with brass students since 1982. And I have read a lot of brass pedagogy on developing range, strength and endurance. And I keep coming back to 3 Simple things you can do to improve your range, endurance and flexibility. This works for beginners of all ages and advanced players. Of course you need to have a good embouchure set up and I believe you need to use as little mouthpiece pressure as possible. A good private lesson teacher can provide instruction, guidance and coaching specifically for your needs and goals.
6 Simple Exercises that will dramatically help your playing:
- Vincent Cichowicz Flow Studies
- Lip Flexibility Drills- Frank Brown Lip Flexibilty for Lead Players
- Caruso 6 Notes
- Whistling and singing what you will play before you play it
- Scales, Arpeggios, Intervals
- Maynard Ferguson range builder
I had the opportunity to be in a master class with Vincent Cichowicz and saw him teaching and explaining his flow studies and mouthpiece buzzing. I use them all the time in every lesson with every student. The concepts logically transfer to playing music.
Lip Flexibility Drills. There are many of them out there. Max Schlossberg has an excellent book filled with them. Arban and St.Jacome have some too. I like mine because they work for me and my students. Free Brass Playing Drills, Exercises
Frank Brown-I just found another set of flexibility drills written out by Frank Brown. He was a great trumpet player from Cincinnati and started the Jazz Studies program at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. I have a write up and PDFs of these studies in my blog. Search my website for Frank Brown. Build Up Your High Range Trumpet Chops with These Exercises
The Caruso 6 Notes has helped my playing and my students (at least those who practice). It about one minute and it will change your playing in amazing ways. Send me a message and let me know what it does for you. Search my blog posts for a detailed explanation. Search Caruso. Carmine Caruso Six Notes
I heard Maynard Ferguson give an answer in a clinic that has stuck with me. Someone asked him how he developed his range. He said. Playing music. He loved the song Stella By Starlight. So he memorized it. And he played it expressively. Key word expressively. You see we are first and foremost artists / musicians. Next he began playing it a half step higher. And he kept on doing it. The rest as they say…
Scales, arpeggios and intervals. These are the foundation of western music. They help develop your ear. But they also develop strength and increase range.