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The trumpet is one of the most tricky instruments to play (I played trumpet all through high school and so I have that bias). Are you wondering where you are at with your trumpet skills?
If you’re a beginner learning to play the trumpet, the high notes are anything above C5, if you are intermediate, then the high notes are above G5. If you are intermediate-advanced, high notes are C6 and above, and if you are advanced to expert, G6 and above is definitely in the high range.
As you can read from that, “high notes” is a relative term. If you’re brand new to the trumpet, your “high notes” are very different from someone who has been playing for a couple of years. Let’s take a closer look.
Where Are the High Notes On the Trumpet?
It truly depends on where you are in your playing. As a way to guide where to expect where you should be, I’ll line this up to grade levels in the US.
What does it mean to be a high note? A high note is really just a note that is difficult to play. There isn’t a specific cutoff where the notes are high–it really just depends on the player.
Beginner Trumpet Players (Middle School – 10-13 years old)
Let’s say you’ve just started playing trumpet, anywhere from within the last 3-12 months–a high note can be anywhere above C5.
This means that as you play at B4 or C5, you may find yourself straining to play these notes.
Beginner-Intermediate Trumpet Players (High School – 14-15 years old )
The range of this can be pretty broad. If you are 14-15 and just starting your Freshman or Sophomore years with that much experience you should be comfortable playing all the way up to G5.
This means that you will likely be okay in 2nd, 3rd, 4th chair as many parts are often written below G5.
Intermediate-Advanced Trumpet players (High School – 16-18 years old)
If you’ve been playing for several years and if you practice regularly, you should be comfortable playing all the way up to C6 (often called “high C”).
In fact, High C is often where many trumpet players will plateau–it’s quite possible to play in a band for many years and never be able to get above High C (C6).
Many find that they have to put in really focused practice or get a private tutor to be able to push past this boundary.
With more advanced high school music, 1st chair will definitely be playing at C6 and even higher, it’s possible for 2nd chair to have parts that ask them to play at around C6.
Advanced-Expert Trumpet Players (College – Professional)
If you are in college you should expect to be able to play high C and beyond. You won’t likely be needing to be playing G6 or anything regularly, but you should be able to play C6.
If you’re a professional, G6 and above isn’t unheard of.
How To Play Higher Notes On the Trumpet?
I’m not an expert on this, to be honest. I was 1st chair through high school and have played a bit afterward. I never had a tutor that really helped me with this.
However, if you are interested in improving your range, I highly recommend Bryan Davis’s YouTube channel. This guy knows his stuff and he has very carefully organized playlists to help players improve their range.
From his Trumpet Pro Tips playlist, here is an excellent video that is a good starting place for practice so you can improve your range: