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What Are the Best Tips for Playing the Trumpet?

Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden

The trumpet is a common and important instrument in many different types of bands and orchestral groups in genres as diverse as jazz, punk, and classical music. Playing the trumpet, however, can be quite difficult for beginners, as it requires finger dexterity, technical ability, and the development of various facial muscles that one would generally not otherwise use. Practice is absolutely essential for those interested in playing the trumpet well. With practice, one can develop the technical skills necessary to follow complicated musical pieces and the physical skills necessary to actually play such music. It is also important that one does not strain oneself too much while practicing, as it is possible to impair one's ability to play by striving to reach particularly high notes that require a great deal of strength and control in certain facial muscles.

For the new trumpet player, producing any sound through the instrument at all may be difficult. One must master the basics of "buzzing" his lips in the trumpet mouthpiece before he can play notes. Learning to do so does not even require the music student to have a trumpet — simply carrying a mouthpiece around and practicing when he has a spare minute can greatly help him to start playing the trumpet. Later, when he is capable of properly producing sound, practicing by playing the trumpet will be more valuable. He can attempt to play simple songs or can simply use a tuner to try to play certain notes in tune, thereby improving his ability to control the sounds produced.

A trumpet player might want to start with simple music before trying out for bands or other groups.
A trumpet player might want to start with simple music before trying out for bands or other groups.

One can only improve technical ability and finger dexterity by actually playing the trumpet and learning songs. A student should find songs or exercises that are difficult but not totally impossible to play. Through repetition, he can, over time, master the difficult parts of such songs and exercises. Doing so will help bring about improvement in his ability to play the trumpet, so he should be able to start practicing more difficult pieces of music. Though time consuming, actually playing the trumpet is the best way to improve.

Most trumpet performers are interested in playing the trumpet with a band or orchestral group. Joining such a group is a great way to practice one's personal skills and to learn the skills involved in playing the trumpet with a group. Many schools have bands that exist primarily to educate students. Someone learning to play the trumpet might benefit substantially from joining such a band.

Discussion Comments


My advice as a former trumpet player in my high school's band and concert orchestra is to practice "lip notes" as much as possible in every key combination possible. By this I mean treat the trumpet like a bugle and form notes strictly using your lips. When you have the kind of breath and facial muscle control to perform those notes with a steady tone, then you're on your way to becoming a better trumpet player in general.


I tried to learn the trumpet when I was a kid, but it seems like I didn't have the sort of muscle control you need to play it well. I switched to piano after a few months. One tip I would like to share is that a trumpet player needs to understand a trumpet is a loud instrument by design. You can eventually learn to control the dynamics and play softer, but rehearsals are going to be loud, and the tone is going to be all over the place for a while.

My advice is to accept this as a fact and not worry about what other people are going to think. One of my problems was that I was afraid to commit to the playing of a trumpet. I was trying to keep the noise down, and that meant I wasn't playing the trumpet the way it was designed to be played. If you really want to improve your technique, find a rehearsal space that is either very soundproof or isolated and play strong notes.

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    • A trumpet player might want to start with simple music before trying out for bands or other groups.
      By: Mr Twister
      A trumpet player might want to start with simple music before trying out for bands or other groups.