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  • Writer's pictureAllen J. Venezio

The Octave Key Problem

You know, we all do it. That high “x” is coming up so we grab every part of the trumpet we can, take a deep breath and push the trumpet into our face. Ultimately, a big splat comes out and we don’t understand why that happened.

Well, chances are, you used “the octave key”. We all know that there isn’t a real octave key on a trumpet. You knew that, right? Good. But, the proverbial “octave key” is the pinky ring on the top of the lead pipe. It’s so very easy to wrap your little finger around that bad boy and apply pressure to your top lip by pulling back on it. Due to its location on the top of the trumpet, any pressure applied using this pinky ring will push the mouthpiece into the top lip, causing it to STOP vibrating!

Playing higher notes is always one of the biggest challenges of trumpet playing and everyone looks for easier and faster ways to play higher. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no “quick fix” and no “instant solution” to the playing higher problem. Oh, and there is no “magic mouthpiece” either!

One thing that DOES work is proper and consistent practice. It’s not easy nor quick, but practicing the right material and doing it every day will ensure that you will be able to play whatever you need to and with a good tone.

Speaking of good practice material, you can get lots of that in my book, Trumpet 101: the ULTIMATE Resource Manual for Trumpet Players! Pick up a copy now while it’s deeply discounted … just for friends of the 5 Foot High Trumpet Guy!

Keep blowin’ baby!

The "octave key" aka Pinky Ring from a Bach Stradivarius D/Eb Trumpet model 304.

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