Ways To Learn To Play Trumpet

History in Trumpets

Trumpets are a very Historic instrument. They go way back to ancient China about 5200 B.C. They were mainly bugles, but they had no shape. They were long, straight brass tubes, with mouth pieces and a bellshape, (referred the bell) at the end of it. They were mainly used for War cries, or messages, and have since then developed quite a bit.

Developments, Old and New

Before the valve used in present day trumpets, they had bugles, which were then nown as trumpets, then, trumpets were played the same way as a recorder. They had a shorter length, with the same shape, but, with holes in the sound tube. In the mid to late 1800's, the finger valve was developed. This, in many ways, enhanced the efficiency of how trumpets were played. It was much easier to get the tones needed for the right notes, and might it be added, it was much easier to higher notes, because all you needed to do was tighten your lips, not blow as hard into the trumpet.

My Experiences

As a 14 year old boy living in a Rural area, there isn't much to do, so instead of being bored and causing trouble, I usually turn to my trumpet for a way to have fun. I've been playing for about 3 years now, and I've really come a long way, which is why I am writing this Hub.

What You Need To Know

Allright, here are somethings that are needed in order to learn to play correctly.

1.)Trumpet Maintenence

2.)What is needed for Maintenence

3.)Why its crutial for maintenence

4.)Ways to improve your sound

5.)Tuning Your Trumpet

Trumpet Maintenence

Sounds simple, right? WRONG! This is one of the most important and bye far most difficult to keep track of, necessities in playing trumpet. Basically, what you need to do is keep your valves oiled, and your slides greased, and your mouthpiece clean. Some of these things can be quite hard to keep track of, others, a mere routine.

What You Need For Maintenence

To keep your instrument in tip top shape, your going to need some things, some expeniv, some inexpensive. One of the most important things you need is Valve Oil. This is one of the most important things you'll ever need. Another thing you're gonna need is slide grease, you need to keep you slides greased so you can tune your trumpet. You'll need a cleaning kit that comes with a "snake" and some other things so you can clean the inside of your trumpet. Your also going to need a polishing cloth. Can't have a gritty looking instument.

Why it's Crutial for Maintenence and What To Do

Maintenence, its VERY IMPORTANT! Almost as important as practice, if not more, because if you don't take care of it, then how are you going to play it? Here is what you need to do to take care of your instrument.

1.) YOU NEED TO OIL THE VALVES! One thing my music teacher will always stress to me, is to oil my vavles, they get sticky and very hard to play, and sometimes get damaged, my parents have spent over $200.00 in repairs so far for them. Oiling the valves aer simple, just grip the trumpet so its facing away from you, the vavle closest to you, is valve 1, the middle is valve 2, and the farthest valve from you is valve 3. Unscrew the three valves, and take them out of the trumpet about 3/4 of the way. Then take your bottle of oil, and squirt a few drops onto the valves, then, tightly screw them back on, and press down on them in a random order quickly for a few seconds. If you discover that you can't blow air into the trumpet, twist the top of all of your vavles gently, not unscrewing them, until they stop moving and you hear a click.

2.) Keeping it greased, or as the band calls it, Lubed Up. It's a simple thing to take care of, you only have to do it about 2-3 times a month, and is easy to do. Takes out your slides, and put them onto a soft hand towel, (be sure to keep them DRY). Once you have them laid out, take out your slide grease or cork grease as it is referred to, and rub some on your slides with your finger. Onece they have a nice even coat on the out side them, put them back in the trumpet. Slide them in and out a fraction of the way and make sure that they aren't sticking, if they do, re-grease them.

3.) Something that my friends and I always do before a concert, is give our trumpets a "bath". Yes, I said it, bath. What you do is, fill your bathtub, unless you don't have one because you have a shower, about 1/4-1/2 full, (I use lukewarm to hot temperature water). Take out ALL the slides and the valves, along with the caps at the end of the valve tubes, and put them on a dry hand towel. Take your empty trumpet and put it in the water. Be sure that it is submerged. Next, take your snake, and gently put it through the valve tubes, and push it in and pull it out roughly, so you get that dirt and grime out, if you see black in the water, don't freek its a good thing. Do this for all of your valves and do it for you slide tubes as well, make sure that your trumpet is dry before greasing your slides and oiling your valves and putting them back in.

Ways To Improve Your Sound

Now like many other instruments there are ways to improve your sound. Tuning is one of the best ways to improve your sound, keeping it in tune will shape the way you play. Giving it baths regularly, like once every month. Keepng your valves oiled and your slides greased. Most of all though, PRACTICE, on a regular basis, your lip is your key. PRACTICE!

Tuning Your Trumpet

Your Trumpet is tuned in B flat. Ironically, your tuning note is C. When played, usually your lips aren't very tense, but, that isn't the C note you need, you need to be an octave higher. Get an electronic tuner for this, and you tune it by pushing in or pulling out your tuning slide, that would be the largest of all slides.

Starting To Play

Now you have your trumpet and or Cornet, (smaller version of the trumpet) and are ready to start playing. One of the crutial keys to being able to play, is your posture. Because without proper posture, you can't fill your diafram enough to get the needed air to hit notes well.The other key, is practic, practice, and mpre practice. The first time you play, your lips will get tingly and itchy, they may even hurt a little, this is because they are not used to the vibrations given off from the mouth piece of the instument. One of the biggest reasons for practice, because you could play, every day, 4 hours a day for 5 years, not practice for 2 wweks, and your lip will start to fade away from what it was. Believe me, nothing is worse than going to a gig that you haven't practiced for in a while.

Getting into the Habbit

It is VERY hard to get into the habbit of playing every day, as said before, I have been playing for 3 years, and my music teacher will agree with me that I don't practice EVERYDAY. So, to make things easy, really, you only need to practice at least 4-5 times a week about 20+ mins each time. Like everything else, the more practice, the better you get.

Simple Scales You Can Practice

Getting a Way To Learn

Okay, now your ready to learn to play the trumpet. So, there are indeed many ways to learn to play the trumpet. You can teach yourself, (not recommended), or get an instructer, which I did, or, take a class. You can get an instructer by looking them up in the local yellow pages, or there are private instructors who will teach at a fairly high price, but it is well worth the deal. I HIGHLY recommend that you DO NOT try to teach yourself, because its quicker to get someone to teach you, and you'll definitely be better in the long run, because one of the things you will learn for sure with an instructer is how to read music.

Yamaha Trumpets (these aren't that great, check with your local music shops)

Comments 7 comments

PCaholicDotCom profile image

PCaholicDotCom 8 years ago from USA

Great article! Excellent info... Peter

sydnis 8 years ago


I think this is really good article. Seems like the trumpet is a good pass time for you. keep on playing and keep people informed. I will refer here often


peterh profile image

peterh 8 years ago from United Kingdom

As a retired professional trumpet player and teacher, I found this a useful article which I will recommend to my students. Regular practise is the key to progress with the trumpet, so keep it up!

Fred P 6 years ago

I tookup the Trumpet for a few years when I was 18 to 20 and played simple melodies. The instrument was stolen and never played since. I'm now 74 years of age is it too late to learn again to play Cornet in local Brass Band (Not very high standard) Fred P

Sherry 6 years ago

@Fred, no one is ever too old to learn (or re-learn) and instrument! I hope you do start playing again!

James 6 years ago

Hi I am 13 and have been playing for four years I am working on my grade 5. I can read music well and have written my own music but I have missed my last two lessons. My mum is very angry as she is paying £14 per lesson. She thinks i don't want to play it now and she says if I want to give up I can because they never forced me to play it, it was out of my choice. I do still want to play it I practice everyday and I have been to every school concert so far. What I want to ask is would it be okay if i taught myself from this level? or is it better to stay with my teacher? I also want to ask is that a high price for a lesson?



jtyler profile image

jtyler 5 years ago

I see some good info here. I may return when I eventually tackle this instrument.

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