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Learning to play the trumpet for beginners - you could ask yourself these questions

The extremely distinctive sound of a trumpet can hardly be mistaken. In fact, it can be found in very different musical styles, for example in classical music, jazz and even pop music. Are you thinking about learning the trumpet but still have a few questions? Don't worry, you're not alone. Our teachers answer a few key questions about the trumpet for beginners in this article.

trumpet player
Playing the trumpet is a magical feeling

What kind of instrument is the trumpet?

It is a brass instrument and is very similar in structure and range to the flugelhorn. However, the two instruments differ from each other in terms of sound. The sound of the trumpet is less soft and more penetrating.

How long has the trumpet been around?

The first trumpets existed over 3000 years ago, as finds in Tutankhamun's tomb prove. They were often used as signaling devices for religious or military purposes. The trumpet as we know it today was only further developed in the period from the Middle Ages to the Baroque era, when the art of pipe bending was refined. Valves were added later, which enabled an accentuated sound and the production of different tones.

What material is a trumpet made of?

Today's trumpets are made of a metal alloy of copper and zinc if it is a brass trumpet. A gold brass trumpet contains more copper. The material used naturally has a significant influence on the price.

How is the trumpet constructed?

A trumpet consists of a leadpipe, the tuning slide, water keys, valves, a finger hook, mouthpiece and the funnel, which is also known as the bell. The main differences between trumpets can be found in the valves. Modern trumpets usually have three valves, which can be either pump valves or rotary valves. The latter are associated with a wider range of notes. Trumpets without valves are called natural or baroque trumpets. If your trumpet has valves, you should always take good care of these sensitive parts.

The mouthpiece should fit your lips and the shape of your teeth. It is best to get advice on the spot so that you really have the right mouthpiece. Your teacher can also give you good advice here. Optionally, you can use a mute to make the sound of your trumpet quieter.

trompete für anfänger

What types of trumpets are there?

Unlike many other instruments, the trumpet is less differentiated by pitch. Rather, it is the type of winding, i.e. how the tube is bent and the size. A distinction is made:

  • Natural trumpet

  • Baroque trumpet

  • Slide trumpet

  • Keyed trumpet

  • Valve trumpet

  • Aida trumpet

  • Piccolo trumpet

  • Pocket trumpet

Generally speaking, trumpets are so-called transposing instruments. This means that a different note sounds than the one you played. This is why transposing notation is also used for the trumpet, which makes it easier for you and ensures that you don't have to constantly convert in your head. This could otherwise become complicated, especially with faster and more demanding pieces. For very experienced and especially professional players, this is not a problem.

How do you get started playing the trumpet?

The trumpet is often wrongly described as a rather difficult instrument to learn. The fact is that the greatest difficulty that beginners might have is producing their first note. This is based on the correct technique for inhaling and exhaling. You should therefore also produce your first notes by buzzing. All you need is your lips and air. Place your lips loosely together, breathe in through your nose and blow the air out through a small gap. You should produce a soft buzzing sound, like you might hear from a bee. You should be able to hold this sound for a while.

Then it's time to move on - practise with the mouthpiece. Don't worry, the somewhat croaking sound you produce with it has little to do with the trumpet sound you can produce later. However, the trumpet should ultimately only amplify this sound.

The next small hurdle is the correct embouchure. This is the way in which you position the mouthpiece on your lips. The easiest way to do this is to ask your teacher to show you, as they can also help you what you might be doing wrong and how you should do it right.

Then it's all about posture. To get your breathing right, you should practise and play standing up at first. This will make it easier for you to breathe naturally. Stand upright and hold the trumpet with your left hand. Operate the valves with your right hand.

trompete pflegen

What are the biggest mistakes when you want to learn the trumpet?

Of course, there are also a few mistakes that can quickly prevent you from producing good sounds with your trumpet.

  • Breathing: Beginners in particular tend to underestimate the effect of a good breathing technique. Breathe as deeply as possible into your belly without pumping yourself up unnaturally. You should produce the sound less through force and more through technique. In general, you should breathe naturally when playing the trumpet. If you neglect this tip, you can quickly become dizzy while practicing the trumpet.

  • Puffy cheeks: If this happens, you haven't used your tongue and are trying to control your air with your cheeks. However, the tongue is an essential part of regulating your air supply. You can remember that the air pressure increases when your tongue goes up, which can be especially important for higher notes.

  • Slow fingers: If you want to vary the pitch, you have to press the valves down quickly. If you press too slowly, you will produce an unclean sound. In addition, you have to constantly blow against the pressure of the valves and this becomes tiring in the long run. Whether you play a slow or a fast piece has nothing to do with the tempo at which you operate the valves. You can remember that a red head is always an indication that the valves are being pressed too slowly.

  • Wrong embouchure: Your lips should only be positioned at the front of the mouthpiece. If your lips are in the mouthpiece, this produces an unpleasant sound that you can no longer control well.

  • Impatience: Probably the worst mistake you can make when learning to play the trumpet is impatience. Even if you can't produce a great tone on the first day, that doesn't mean you'll never play the trumpet. Don't put yourself under pressure, otherwise you will quickly lose the fun. Also, remember to take regular breaks so that you don't immediately overload your lips and your physical condition. Make sure that you practice for as long as you enjoy yourself and don't strain yourself.

Which trumpet is suitable for beginners and how much does it cost?

Before you decide to buy your own trumpet, you should first gain some experience with the instrument and find out whether you want to stick with the trumpet. Rental services are suitable here so that you don't have to commit yourself straight away. If necessary, you can also consider an installment plan, where the rent paid is partially offset against the purchase price if you then want to take over the instrument.

If you then want to buy your own trumpet, you should decide according to your personal feeling and also seek advice. Beginner models are priced between CHF 400 and 500. Anything above that is in the professional range. You should have the opportunity to play your favorite trumpet, and this is only possible in person. Ideally, you should get advice from your teacher who has the relevant experience. If your child plays the trumpet and you want to buy a trumpet for them, you should make sure you buy a special children's trumpet. This is easier for your child to play and, above all, it is smaller and lighter.

Don't worry: there are no problems when switching to a larger trumpet, as the playing technique is the same.

fingeransatz bei trompeten

At what age can my child start playing the trumpet?

Your child can start playing the trumpet from around primary school age, i.e. from 6 to 7 years old. In addition, your child's incisors should already be fully developed so that they can learn the correct embouchure straight away.

I've been dreaming of learning to play the trumpet for so long - am I perhaps too old for it?

Absolutely not. Even if your breathing is somewhat restricted, you can still learn to play the trumpet. On the contrary: playing the trumpet can even improve your breathing because you train it by playing. And you're never too old to learn something new. Just ask a teacher - with their experience, they can give you a good assessment.

Do I always have to play the trumpet as a soloist?

Definitely not. There are great brass ensembles and there are always trumpets in orchestras too. Just choose an ensemble for beginners so that you can have fun with it.

I would like to try out playing the trumpet first - is that possible?

Of course, it is possible. Just opt for a small package of lessons to get a feel for your teacher and the instrument. That way you'll find out for sure whether you'll enjoy it.

Do you have any questions?

Then please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions. Our teachers will also be happy to advise you so that you can make the right decision for you.


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