Instrument Playing: Trumpet




Are you interested in playing the trumpet. Well, it is an easy instrument to learn, and fun too!!! With this instructable, you will me playing like a pro in no time at all!!!

Look below for the parts of a trumpet!!!

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Step 1: Posture and Positioning

First off, you need to learn how to hold a trumpet. I'm pretty sure you can't play it in mid-air! O.K., you need to hold trumpet and take your first three fingers on your right hand( index, middle, and ring finger) and place them on the three valves.( and yes, with the mouthpiece holder facing you).Then, put your thumb under the pipe running along the right side. Now, for your left hand, place it along the valves, between the pipes. Wrap your them around the valves, and place your first two fingers( index and middle) on the opposite side, between the 3rd valve and the ring-thing place your ring finger through that ring, and run your pinky along the pipe directly underneath it. Now that you are comfortable in the position, it is time for posture. If you are sitting in a chair, sit on the edge of it, with your back straight, and your shoulders high. Keep your feet flat on the ground. If standing, hold shoulders high, and stand straight up.

Step 2: Sound...Buzzing

Remember when you would make that buzzing sound with your lips when you would make a helicopter sound? That one you make when you squish your lips together, out, and push air through it? Well, that is exactly how you make noise on the trumpet! Just mold your lips into the mouthpiece, and blow that air like crazy!!! To practice, you can even just use your mouthpiece and no trumpet. I think it is fairly easy, but it was very hard to explain. But, then again, I have been in the first 2 chairs. Anyway, that's it.

Step 3: Sounds...Flutter

If you did more research on the trumpet, then you might have heard of flutter tonguing. It is very difficult, and it took me a while to get even one flutter out. You start out by rolling your tongue, like rolling your R's in Spanish class. Then, try to close your mouth so you can get it into the mouthpiece. This is the hard part. Your tongue might even get tired. But keep on trying, and you will get it.

Step 4: Notes

This is the main part. The notes. What makes up the music. Well, there are actual notes, ranging from A to G, and Note notes, the things with the lines you see on sheet music. I will cover the note notes in an Instructable I plan to make later. But anyway, the first note you probably played was either G or C. G & C are both notes that are played without holding down any valve. If your note sound kinda high, it was probably G. But it was more likely C. On a staff, the things with the five lines on a piece of music, it is on a ledger line, which are extra lines above or below the staff, one below the line. The lower the note on a staff, the lower the note. Here is an example of a staff with a scale, which is the order of notes on a staff. This is the B flat scale.


Now, it would be a waste of a learning opportunity if I just told you all of the notes. So have fun doing research. Or maybe just by a book. The ones I used are called ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS 2000 1 and 2.

Step 5: Trumpet Care.

Whew! You've probably played so much your fingers must be falling off. Also, has one of your valves gotten stuck? Is a weird watery sound coming out of your trumpet? Well, this is the section to find out what to do. Let's start with the valve. Your trumpet should've came with a bottle that says " Valve Oil" If not, buy some. YOU WILL NEED IT! Anyway, you see that cap on the valve-holder-thing. Screw that off. Your valve should come out now. Take the oil and wet it down good. Then put it back in the slot it was in ( matters!) Turn the entire valve carefully until it stops and won't move without pressure. Now, the spit. Yes, that watery sound is spit. Look at the end of your trumpet, by the bell. The two little things with the part toughing the trumpet made of cork. Push down on the upper part, and blow out of your mouthpiece. Don't buzz, just blow. Spit should come out, giving you a better sound. Also, when not in use, your trumpet should be stored in a normal temperature room. And if your mouthpiece ever gets stuck, take it to an instrument or music store. They have the tools to get it unstuck .Don't try the stuff on the internet. It can damage your instruments.

Step 6: Learning Complete

Thank you for taking the time to read my instructable, and for finding a hobby in music. It is very rewarding when one can play an instrument, and good too!!!! But I hope you enjoy your time with your trumpet, don't forget to practice, and remember to empty that spit valve! And again, thanks!!!



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    19 Discussions


    Reply 2 years ago

    Twist the cap (has ridges and on top) and pull it off


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You're also about 4 years late.

    I was holding it in a way to show the parts. Not as you normally should.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work on an intro for aspiring trumpet players. :) Regarding position of the right hand... I'd been taught that the truly optimal hand position is as follows: thumb stuck between valves 1 & 2 just beneath the lead pipe, pinky NOT in the holder. When your hand is so close to the instrument (in the position you've described), you may end up pressing down on the valve buttons with the meaty part of your fingers. But with the thumb in between valves 1 and 2, you can really use your fingertips, which should be faster. Your hand will take on a more arched appearance and may give you more flexibility. Try it! :) The only time I think it ought to be really used is if you're playing in a forum where your left hand is holding sheet music or doing something else (marching band) aside from supporting your trumpet. As for cleaning and maintenance, there's much that could be said (and much that I've forgotten) but it's worth mentioning this: your valve bodies may not be stamped with numbers (for 1,2,3). if this is the case, only remove one valve at a time. You want to remember where each one came from so that after you've cleaned and oiled it, you can put it in its original place!

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I agree completely, with one exception. After a certain level of proficiency is attained and the individual no longer tries to push their horn into their face in an effort to play high notes, then placing the pinky in the ring is a better way to hold the trumpet. It can be advantageous when playing for hours on end (I've been there, and it helps with fatigue in the right hand). Just my $0.02.

    Here are my two problems; if anyone can help, I'd be grateful. 1) I press too hard. Does anyone know of a good method to fix this, or do I just have to be vigilante until it goes away? 2) When I try to reach higher notes, I find it difficult to keep my throat open. I can hit the notes if I try really hard, but my throat constricts a lot, and it hurts. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    7 replies

    Hitting high notes is properly done with faster air. NEVER move any of your mouth off of the mouthpiece. This method is for those to lazy to build up their chops. Do it right, blow faster air.

    yes, ive played trumpet 2yrs and i find it easier to hit high notes (evil high F) if only half of my mouth is on the mouthpiece. and always always always ALWAYS put your fingertips on top of the buttons. otherwise the valves will stick. and that is SOOOOO annoying.

    yeah I do that too. Pretty much the higer the note, the less of my mouth is on the mouth peice. So far all I've goten to is a high C. But I could go higher if I knew the fingerings! Playing trumet is really fun!

    1. Just rest the tips of your fingers on the valve caps.. not the rest of the finger. Make believe you are playing the piano with your fingertips. 2. Tilt the horn up (20 degrees?) so your embrochure forces the air upwards. Don't be afraid of high notes. Sometimes, it may be easier to slide the mouthpiece down so only a tine bit of the cup rests on your upper lip. Experiment! and Good luck.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    "Don't be afraid of high notes. Sometimes, it may be easier to slide the mouthpiece down so only a tine bit of the cup rests on your upper lip"

    Think twice before doing this. It actually can be really dangerous to your chops at it tends to cause swelling in the soft tissue of the upper lip, bruise it, and injure underlying muscle.  At the very least, your endurance will be a problem. 
    Also under "Playing in the red"   This is a pretty good site on general embouchure stuff.

    If youre anything like I used to be, then :
    >watch your neck, you might be pushing that back, and it can close the throat a bit. Use your diaphram - (big breathing muscle at the bottom of the lungs, not your neck)!
    >Yes, be a vigilante, and play infront of a mirror - then see what you're doing. Relax your arms a bit too. another slightly different way you could try, is buzzing on the mouthpeice only, until you feel a bit more comfortable with higher notes.

    Most of all, just keep at it! (grade 8 isnt too far off really)

    are you hitting the notes by pushing air through faster, with your lips squished together? And, about the pushing too hard, i don't know. Sorry.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, this instructable was soo helpful! I even knew how to play the trumpet before even seeing this article, thats how much it works! LOL jk but I think this article could probably teach someone how to play...probably...


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Actually flutter tonguing is different from growling, they sound similar but a growl is done with the back of the throat and not the tip of the tongue.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Sweet, I like it. I play trumpet in a marching band a Jazz band and a Symphonic band.We've been pretty successful as well.