15 Reasons Why the Trumpet is The Most Difficult Instrument to play

Some may question the validity of this statement but those that do most often are wrong.

I will list my reasons and give a light hearted account of why this is the case.

1. Trumpets most often play the melody so everyone knows if we play the wrong notes. Unlike the Bassoon, which plays notes that only Canada geese can hear, the trumpet is expected to play every note the way it was intended.

2. Trumpets are loud. When was the last time a conductor requested that a triangle player play louder?

3. Trumpets are pointed directly towards the listener. If you are in the back row of an orchestra and have a tambourine solo, 90% of what you play ends up in the ceiling or on the person next to you.

4. Trumpet players rely on their air to sustain a long slow, painful phrase, while an organist could place a book on the keys and go out for lunch and no one would know the difference.

5. To play a trumpet, the person must have strong lip muscles in order to execute the high, loud and ugly passages required of them. How much strength does it take to drop a stick on a tympani head?

6. The fingering of a trumpet is very complex. For a clarinet player to play a corresponding scale, the clarinet fingerings are simplified because of their use of nine fingers. The trumpet play is limited to only three and is expected to be able to play the same notes.

7. Trumpet players are constantly adjusting their intonation to fit the musical surroundings. At the same time the piano player is more concerned about what you place on their instrument. Get real! It’s a table with only three legs!

8. Trumpet players get more tired than most other instrumentalist. If a violinist becomes tired, they break a string and are able to rest for several minutes.

9. When trumpet players are expected to perform with mutes, it demands much more preparation than the other instruments. Watch next time when a viola adds a mute. They merely reach down to slide it onto the strings.

10. Trumpets have a much more difficult time working within their section. Nowhere in music is this more challenging for every trumpet player has to put up with other trumpet players and we all know what that requires.

11. When performing on a trumpet, half of your view of the music is blocked by the trumpet’s bell. Have you ever heard a snare drummer complain for not being able to see his/her music?

12. And speaking of singers! Trumpet players again are expected to play in tune. Intonation is not that important to most would be singers.

13. And speaking of other singers. If we trumpet players have a split lip, we play anyway. If a singer has a runny nose, out comes the understudy.

14. And speaking of additional singers, if they forget their lyrics, they think “Doobe Doobe Doo” fits every occasion.

15. The environment in which trumpet players perform is very dangerous for by the end of a concert or rehearsal, the chance of slipping on all the condensation around them is greater than most people realize.

These are only fifteen reasons the trumpet is without question (or not) the most difficult instrument to play. For these reasons I beg everyone to cut the next trumpet player some slack for you may be called to play trumpet and you would find it extremely difficult as we have found it to play..

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.

83 thoughts on “15 Reasons Why the Trumpet is The Most Difficult Instrument to play

  1. melody Reply

    Why are people scared of playing the trumpet?

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      I don’t think we are actually scared as much as couscous of it’s exposed parts and Uncertainty of performance outcomes.

      • DoubleReedsDoItBetter Reply

        Please listen to these:

        http://youtu.be/97O2x8Mk5Hg
        http://youtu.be/DLTHkGUyzms
        http://youtu.be/rq-HHwmnvIg
        I would just like you to give the bassoon and chance and understand how beautiful and expressive it is. It can play in many different manners. I’m sure all of the experience you have had with bassoon players are terrible because it is hard to come across a good bassoon player. I am not here to attack you or the trumpet, but I would like you to be open minded and realize how irrelevant and ignorant this whole post is.

        2.) “All I remember having to do with a double reed is pucker and blow.”

        I would like to actually think about this question instead of coming up with a cliche attack just to make your point sound valid. It may seem like that- but that’s only to get a sound. That is not to get a constant sound, that has good intonation and and correct articulation. I can guarantee that playing a double reed for 20 minutes (for the first time) is going to make your lips more sore than playing 2 hours of experienced trumpet.

        3.) Half of your “valid” reasons don’t have any comparison with any other ensemble instrument: you’re comparing to vocalists. How is that going to falsely convince people that the trumpet is the hardest instrument to play?

        4.) Do some research on instruments, not only the bassoon.
        But mostly bassoon, as it seems to are open to attacking it. Here are some simple facts: the bassoon is the only instrument that requires every single finger in order to play it. The left thumb alone has 10 different keys to pay attention to and right and left pinkies have 3-4 each. It takes a lot to strengthen your pinkies to be able to do this with efficiency. Thank you for your time and not-so-consideration.

        • Bruce Chidester Reply

          I am well versed with all of the double reads and the clarinet was my secondary instrument. I have owned and performed on tenor sax and have been lucky enough only to have listened to an oboe when tuning in an orchestra.I agree with many of your remarks and still hold with my original premise.

          Remember that the double reeds are always delegated to a secondary role in a band.

          Thank you for your comments

          • Miranda

            But what about Horns? We have all the same problems you do, but to play a horn muted, we have to play at fortissimo and even then, we’ll sound very quiet.

            We also have three keys to choose from in most cases. We have a fourth, but depending on the skill of the horn player, it’s unnecessary.

            We also have to deal with intonation, but instead of one tuning slide, we have 8. And then if we don’t have our hands in the right spot on our bells, then we may still end up sounding flat or sharp.

            We’re also very versatile instruments. We delve deep into the bass clef, and depending on the piece, we may end up as high as the trumpets, and I’ve never heard a trumpet go to the lowest C a horn can play. And it’s much more difficult to be as loud as trumpets when there’s a dozen of them and they all face the crowd. We end up putting out sound sideways.

            If we want to play at the dynamic you often play at, it becomes painfully obvious that we have spit in our valves. And most horns, instead of having a nice spit valve like most brass, get to figure out which side of the instrument it’s on, then figure out if that’s the only place with spit. It’s much more involved to remove water from a horn.

            And not to mention keeping the instrument well oiled and greased (Have you SEEN the rotors and strings on a horn? It’s intense)

            Anyhow, there’s a reason why horns are considered the most difficult instrument to play well, and not trumpets. Although I will concede that you DO have some of the most difficult parts in music.

          • Bruce Chidester

            I Played horn all through high school the in number of times I had an exposed solo or even the melody, you could count on both hands.

        • Stefan Reply

          Wait, what about the piano?

    • Matt Reply

      Because the trumpet in a orchestra as the lead guitar in a rock band if a guitarist messes up a solo everyone knows it same for a trumpet player. Plus temperature change can affect tuning so once you have the trumpet tuned you have to keep it the same temperature. The most hard part about playing the trumpet is vibrating your lips for a full concert that can be 2 to 4 hours. But that is for all brass instruments. Lips get numb and cheeks get cramped.

      • Bruce Chidester Reply

        ….sure sounds like fun , doesn’t it?

      • Someone special Reply

        I played a trumpet solo for the grade 8 graduation at my school. My cheeks did cramp. But what I don’t get is everyone on here saying that it takes years to master the trumpet. 😐 I started learing about a year ago, and we only had music class once a week for 1 semester. So, I’ve only played for a little while. Even so, I can play every note from a low C to a high C, without taking a breath. It is not hard to learn, people. Once you know the key patterns, it’s stupidly easy.

        • Bruce Chidester Reply

          Thank you for your comments and I am very impressed with your accomplishments so far.

          I believe that the operative word in this case is “Master” of the trumpet.

          I have been playing trumpet for over 65 years, taught trumpet for at least 50 years, performed with over one-hundred of the best entertainers around the country, performed twice on the International Trumpet Guild Festival of Trumpets concerts, fronted my own band on international jazz concerts, made dozens of recordings and jingles, have taught several of the best trumpet players and trumpet teachers in the country as well as performrd possibly thousands of concerts and even after this, I would not consider myself a “master of the trumpet”. I am not saying that you are not a master of the horn for I have not heard you, but if you would like to come to Branson and have a session with me, I would be more than happy to take a lesson from a real “master” of the instrument.

          One more thing, I would like to encourage you to continue with your instrument for you have the perfect temperament to be an outstanding lead trumpet player.

          All the best to you and yours from a “good” but not “master” trumpet player.

    • Bob Reply

      I don’t think it’s that they are scared of playing the instrument, I think they just decide it’s not a good choice because of how hard it seems. Trumpet is actually a very fun and some what easy instrument to play that I actually enjoy playing on a weekly basis. If anyone out there wants to try trumpet, but isn’t sure about how it will work for them, I would say go ahead and give it a try! I thought it would be difficult, but let me tell you: it turned out to be a lot easier than I expected! Have fun band students! 🙂

    • Jj Reply

      People are scared because I think that some trumpet players are actually just scared of their section leaders/lead players. I’m not one of those people but someone in my trumpet section is.

      • Bruce Chidester Reply

        Many lead players do have an attitude problem, bot the good ones though!

    • Somebody Reply

      I really don’t know. I play the trumpet at my school band. It is not even hard at all

  2. Rob Tanzie Reply

    Playing the trumpet has not as much to do with others. I moved a tooth from over other front tooth and bought a cheep trumpet I’m playing the trumpet playing music I can play others but I feel this way. I pick it up an play my horn. It becomes music that is mine or just noise that is painful to ears. Hard is often relative to individuals is it hard for a midget to play a bass or a harp.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      To your last question…. I don’t know but when I run into one, I’ll ask him/her.

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Victoria Reply

    I play trumpet and love it….Im in marching band and yes it is quite a hassle. The lip problems, cheeks tiring out, your throat drying up, the dizzyness and out of breath feelings but…..its all worth it. The sound is so beautiful. I wouldn’t go through all this if I hadn’t had loved it. But, I do think it is important for people to understand the difficulties instead of being so quick to judge. Other band members tend to laugh at sour notes….if only they could see how hard it is, then they might understand.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      If you are having issues with fellow band members, try this……..

      Ask the troublesome ones this question when there are several people within hearing range- “Do you really like the sound you are getting”?

      another one that always works is….

      “I don’t care what everyone thinks, I think your are doing a fine job”.

  4. BassoonCat Reply

    … You just denounced the bassoon. You sir, had better check your facts:
    Trumpet has 3 valves. Only 3. Bassoon has 29, give or take a few, keys to push down, not including the difficulty in getting your not pitch-perfect, while the trumpet has a TUNING SLIDE. It’s as easy as that, and that is why you’re expected to sound good. Bassoon doesn’t sound like a canadian duck, goose, whatever. It sounds beautiful and is loved by many. The trumpet is popular because it is EASY. You get the melody a lot because of your pitch and octave, and you’ll find most high-octave instruments frequently get the melody. Bassoon has loose tone restrictions because of the rarity of its solos, but when it has one it too is expected to sound good. Bassoon is the hardest and makes the trumpet look as easy as the recorder.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Thank you for joining our group and I do appreciate your comments.

      Let’s take them one at a time.

      1. You just denounced the bassoon.
      verb (used with object), denounced, denouncing.
      to condemn or censure openly or publicly:
      to denounce a politician as morally corrupt.
      to make a formal accusation against, as to the police or in a court.
      to give formal notice of the termination or denial of (a treaty, pact,agreement, or the like).
      Archaic. to announce or proclaim, especially as something evil orcalamitous.
      Obsolete. to portend.

      I did not condemn, censure, accuse or suggest the bassoon was in any way evil (although I have heard some played in a very sinister way).

      2. Trumpet has 3 valves. Only 3. Bassoon has 29, give or take a few, keys to push down, not including the difficulty in getting your not pitch-perfect, while the trumpet has a TUNING SLIDE.

      To most people the additional number of keys would make the instrument easier to play because of the number of players. I would much prefer 29 players on my team rather than only 3.
      Acoustically a trumpet is more out of tune than a bassoon because of the tube length problems on a 3 valve instrument where the bassoon is an instrument based on where the holes are drilled.

      3. (A) Bassoon doesn’t sound like a (C)anadian duck, goose, whatever. It sounds beautiful and is loved by many.

      Mostly by bassoon players.

      4. The trumpet is popular because it is EASY.

      I assume you mean it is easy “to play”. Way off on that one! Your comment brought me back to my double reed class and as I remember, once you got a good reed, all you had to do was pucker and blow.

      5. You get the melody a lot because of your pitch and octave, and you’ll find most high-octave instruments frequently get the melody.

      Let me think now….High octave instrument like a piccolo? Stars And Stripe Forever seems to be the only tune I can remember.

      6. Bassoon has loose tone restrictions because of the rarity of its solos, but when it has one it too is expected to sound good.

      I don’t have any idea what you are talking about in the first section of this sentence but I think I understand the second section. Are you saying that when a bassoon has a solo, it is expected to sound good? Yes, the player of a bassoon is expected to sound good but unfortunately most bassoon players are too busy complaining that their reed (which they make themselves) doesn’t work right.

      7. Bassoon is the hardest and makes the trumpet look as easy as the recorder.

      ….interesting comparison.

      I would again thank you for your comments. We all tend to defend our own instrument for when you calculate the time, money and effort involved playing our instrument, we are very protective of any accusations or disparaging comments about our chosen instrument. I appreciate your enthusiasm and commend you on your defense.

      In closing I would like to point out a couple observations and assumptions after viewing your comments-

      1. Proof read all documents before publicizing them.
      2. Stay in school and take more English classes.

      • Bassoons are Gay Reply

        LOL!!!

      • Lindsey R. Reply

        I’m a trumpet player and I have switched from low brass and some of my friends have switched from saxophone to trumpet too. As a trumpet player, I personally think that trumpet is way easier than trombone and my band teachers thought trumpet was much easier than saxophone. Its all up to the person. You have a big ego and you think your instrument Is better and requires more skill. Maybe you should actually be less ego obsessed and write something about the pros and cons of playing trumpet. I love playing trumpet but I dont complain about it or diss other instruments. The fact that trumpets get heard more and play the melody should actually be a good thing. Grow up.

    • Luis Reply

      Bassoon Cat has the best answer.

  5. Tyler Lyon Reply

    Is this a joke? It sounds like you have a major ego problem my friend. Have you tried playing instruments such as the hammer dulcimer, an oboe, or bag pipes? These are three instruments that are harder than a trumpet. You don’t have to spend hours creating reeds. And the. Another hour adjusting them. You think you struggle keeping your instrument quiet, play the oboe! Do you have musical experience on all instruments brass, woodwind, string and percussion? Try any four mallet piece for marimba and I’m sure you will think twice about calling the trumpet the hardest instrument to play. Lets step down your ego pal, and refer to ALL instruments.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Do Dobro, Trombone and Harmonica count?

      Thank you for your comments and remember I play trumpet which means I must have a big ego as you indicated. That comes from playing the most difficult instrument.

      • Tyler Lyon Reply

        Ok so let me get this correct:

        You also think that trumpet is harder than an instrument with multiple keys because you only have three and less variety. It Would be nice to just hit a button and adjust my lips to get a desired tone. Or move my slide and lip up to go to the next note. On oboe or bassoon you are moving you fingers in difficult combinations.

        Another point to make. your instrument requires minimum care. You don’t have to worry about humidity effecting how your reed or instrument pays.

        Oh yes and you don’t have to worry about vibrato and creating a unique tone without any help. All you do is pop your mute in Nd that’s that.

        • A Trumpet Player Reply

          When you have a couple of octaves to deal with, with the same valve positioning having about 3 notes per octave, give or take, and are constantly adjusting your mouth (if you’re a beginner, without certainty of hitting the correct note) I wouldn’t quite call it very easy.

          And I’m positive that unless the 5 minutes or so (on a good day) that I spend every time I’m about to play the trumpet on just oiling my valves, as well as the 5 minutes after every practice running the snake through all of my pipes to get rid of the growing bacteria… did i mention the time it takes to give it a bath every month at the very least? I’ve heard that some people do it every week. And adding on polishing and greasing the tuning slide… yeah, if you don’5 count that as at least moderate maintenince then I’m not sure what is. I take more time cleaning my trumpet in a week than I do on my own hair right before a date.

          • Bruce Chidester

            Cut your cleaning time down and use it practicing.

            Cleaning your horn should be done about once a month.

            I’m playing two hour shows every day and I clean mine once a month.

            It is more important that you clean you mouthpiece and lead pipe more often than that. That’s where the “crud” starts to accumulate.

  6. Marcus G. Murrietta Reply

    I am a fellow trumpet player and even though I don’t exactly agree with Bruce on everything, some I find funny for the weak minded trumpet players (not saying you are so, Bruce). He is just pointing out some generalizations of OUR chosen instrument. A lot of you kids are taking this post too seriously I feel. And to the Joe Schmoe’s commenting on why reed instruments are difficult and blah blah blah I have too many keys (opposed to our 3 valves).. I challenge you to a 30 day learning session of each others instrument playing Donna Lee by Charlie Parker (or whatever tune you see fit) and I’m gonna come out on top cause ya’ll don’t understand until you put your lips on a mouthpiece.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      I don’t agree with me on many points either.
      Your comment on Donna Lee was greatly appreciated!

      Isn’t the United States a great country to share ideas with others?

      Stay well and live long……

  7. Deborah Reply

    nothing here about wanting to pass out from lightheadedness. Trumpet is a dangerous to your health

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Few would really “want” to pass out but I agree that this condition is typical with trumpet players. This is also common with oboe and young flute players.

    • A Trumpet Player Reply

      If you’43 dealing with lightheadedness, then I’d probably recommend making sure you’re drinking enough water before playing. Although I’m not positive this is the solution, I really think it may help a bit.

      • Bruce Chidester Reply

        You are correct with your suggestion. Dehydration can make you light headed. I am finding that to be true now that I have had two stints put in my heart area.

    • Lindsey R. Reply

      I’m a trumpet player. I think its important to know your limits when your playing and not try to hit the highest notes before you have warmed up. Interestingly enough, flute requires A LOT more air then trumpet when youre playing. My sisters had a masters in music education and as far as marching band goes, she says flutes are the people who usually pass out. The reason some people pass out when playing, is because they have not warmed up properly

  8. Anonymous Reply

    The hardest instrument is piano. It is so damn hard.

  9. James Reply

    I think every musician can say that their particular instrument is the hardest – or none of us would have to practice for years!

    I only play a trumpet ,so I cannot really appreciate the difficulties others face, but all I can say about the trumpet is that some days it is the most contrary instrument to enforce your will on, other days it will play perfectly. I think it all depends on my mood and attitude – sometimes I even think the thing can sense my mood !
    I think it is true that the trumpet is the one instrument that chooses its player not the other way around, then you have to find the perfect horn, mouthpiece etc.
    For a lot of people this can make them give up early, but like everything, perseverence can be bliss.

    • A Trumpet Player Reply

      I’ve found that it’s easier to play when I don’t have a sweatshirt or hat on. I’ve linked this to emotions because I know that increased body temperature can make me more agressive or irritated, and I definitely cannot play trumpet when I’m tempermental.

      • Bruce Chidester Reply

        If you are not temperamental, you shouldn’t be playing trumpet. It comes with the territory.

  10. Nick Reply

    Tough crowd! I thought the list was funny myself. Guess musicians are a serious bunch!

  11. Anony Reply

    French horn feels harder than a trumpet. Not saying it’s the hardest though.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      The horn has different challenges than the trumpet. One is the difficulty of hitting the correct harmonic on a single horn when playing C,D,and E in the staff- all the same fingering.

  12. The Supertonics Horn Reply

    *cough* French horn is harder *cough*

    I’ve played French horn for about 13 years now and then about a year ago I decided I’d dabble into a little trumpet playing and found it significantly easier to execute than the horn. That might just be me, though.

    Great list by the way, it seems like applies more to all brass instruments though, not just trumpet. Funny read!

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      It was fun to do and thanks.

      I played horn all through high school along with trumpet and found several differences.

      1. Horn was much harder to center the higher notes.
      2. Mouthpiece rims were always an issue.
      3. the air resistance was much different.
      4. even the direction and projection out the bell took getting used to.

  13. Bandunderwater Reply

    While it is debatable which instrument is the hardest, I don’t think it’s trumpet. Trumpet is not a “high octave” instrument. Flute, french horn, clarinet, saxophone all are able to play higher octaves than trumpet. High notes are harder to play, being a brass instrument but its not a extremely hard instrument. All instruments take effort people! Also, being a trumpet player, three fingers… love it. I have never envied sax or flute for all the fingering they have. Not to mention all the alternate fingering they have. Three valves is awesome!

  14. Van Reply

    So, in the orchestra (not fanfare), no matter how good you play trumpet, you’ll never be a concert master 😛

    But i always salute people who want to play instruments like french horn, tuba, trombone, trumpet. We, violinists, think differently about these instruments.

    By the way, violists, violinists, cellists, bassists attach our mute on a bridge! Not strings!

    I don’t care whether or not you think that trumpet is the most difficult instrument to play.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      no matter how good you play trumpet, you’ll never be a concert master

      True, and you will never be the principle trumpet

      i always salute people who want to play instruments like french horn, tuba, trombone, trumpet.

      And I solute you also.

      We, violinists, think differently about these instruments.

      In what way? Positively I hope.

      violists, violinists, cellists, bassists attach our mute on a bridge! Not strings!

      If I mentioned this, I am very sorry and appreciate the correction.

      I don’t care whether or not you think that trumpet is the most difficult instrument to play.

      OK…..

  15. Van Reply

    And oh, when violinists/violists/cellists/bassists are tired, we are not going to break string! But to take our violins in its case and sleep/drink coffee/tea, etc LOL obvioussssss

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      when violinists/violists/cellists/bassists are tired, we are not going to break string!

      Did I miss something here?

      But to take our violins in its case and sleep/drink coffee/tea, etc LOL obvioussssss

      Thank you for your comments and in many ways I also feel that the nonfretted string instrument is also one of the most difficult instrument to play……. (in tune).

  16. Robert Wyckoff Reply

    What a wonderful thread of comments and replies! I found your little list of 15 reasons very amusing. All of the contention about whose instrument is the most difficult to play reminds me of a movement some years ago in European orchestras to have the members paid based upon how many notes they play. The reasoning was that some instruments usually have much thicker parts (violins in particular) than others (trumpets for one) and so they work that much harder. I don’t think it went anywhere but I can remember sitting through more than one concerto in which I had only one or two notes to play in the middle movement. But if I got them wrong or fell asleep and missed my entrance, well ….
    P.S. I too have played trumpet (and several other reed and stringed instruments) for more than 60 years, and I can’t figure musicians out either. We are a crazy bunch!

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Very interest read. Thanks for sharing.

      The “Pay as you play” concept should be applied to conductors also. One dollar for every helpful cue and one dollar less for poor taste.

      Thanks or your comment about musicians. Lawyers get paid for practicing law, doctors get paid for practicing medicine but musicians……

  17. Gary Reply

    I honestly have to disagree. I would have to say that the French Horn is much more difficult to play. All of the above reasons you stated also apply to French Horn. Plus, you need to have precise notes, and a good ear. A C, D, and E all have the same fingering, which can often be mistaken for each other.
    In order to play French Horn, you need good music sense, and also the ability to blend with other instruments, not just be obnoxiously loud.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      I played horn in our high school orchestra and know from playing both the trumpet and horn, the trumpet is more difficult.

      • Gary Reply

        And how is it any more difficult?

  18. Gary Reply

    9. When trumpet players are expected to perform with mutes, it demands much more preparation than the other instruments. Watch next time when a viola adds a mute. They merely reach down to slide it onto the strings.
    (or just watch a trumpet player shove a mute up their bell… not that hard)

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      True, unless you are playing a show like the one I’m doing now which requires a mute “change in a two beat period”.

      • Gary Reply

        And how would a violinist do that?

  19. Paul Langley Reply

    This is some really interesting insight about the trumpet and hoe difficult it is to play. As a long time tenor saxophonist, I can definitely agree that quieter or less pronounced instruments, specifically those that play the harmony, are a little easier because they aren’t heard quite as much. And I definitely agree that the fingering is complicated, I am still not sure exactly what trumpet players are doing or how the heck they pull it off most of the time. Thanks so much for writing!

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Thanks for checking in and the very best to you and yours.

      BC

  20. Neph Diaz Reply

    As a professional Trumpet player, it’s breathtaking to find your site and loved reading your 15 reasons why the Trumpet is the most difficult instrument! And LOL on your Bassoon Canada geese comment! Funniest thing I read in a long time.
    Kudos to you sir, and keep in touch. Visit my website: http://www.BughouseMaster.com

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Chess and trumpet. Now That’s a real combination and thanks for your kind words. I visited your site and was very impressed. Stay well and live long my friend.

  21. Terry Gale Reply

    Trumpet is a “funny” instrument. That’s what my teacher would say. He made the instrument sound sensual and authoritative. He possessed a 24K sound that made him one of the most sought after trumpet players. To further compliment his phenomenal trumpet skills, he was the kindest, generous, empathetic, and humble person I’ve known.

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      “he was the kindest, generous, empathetic, and humble person I’ve known”.

      Hallelujah! There is hope for us in the world!

      Your description of your teacher is something you need to share with him/her at once. Few times do grateful students ever take the time to thank their mentors before they die.

      Send a note to your teacher today and thank him/her for his/her assistance, you will feel better and he/she will have the best day of the week.

      I HATE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!

  22. Joseph Winik M.D. Reply

    I am 69 years old Doctor and contemplating learning an instrument. Is learning to play a used trumpet for about $400 , a viable choice or would you recommend another instrument?

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Good morning Dr. and thank you for visiting our site.
      What would you recommend for gout in my right great toe? Just kidding…….

      This would be similar to prescribing a medication over the phone but first let me know the reasons you want to learn an instrument first.

      If you want to learn an instrument for your own enjoyment, which means playing by yourself for yourself, I would recommend a used fluglehorn. The reason for this is that the Flugle is much easier to play, has a beautifully mellow tone, does not require the high notes to sound good to the ear and sound great as a solo instrument if you decide to play in a church setting.

      But…..

      If you eventually intend to play with an organized ensemble such as a band, church orchestra or chamber ensemble I would suggest that you begin on a trumpet or cornet for that instrument will be welcomed into that kind of setting.

      Solo work by yourself- flugel horn
      Ensemble playing- Trumpet or cornet.

      The cornet is a little easier to begin playing on because it is more forgiving than a trumpet and the tone is more gentile.

      Now you question on price.

      I just ran a check on what is available on Graigs list and Ebay and the difference among the different offerings is mind blowing.

      Recently we have had the market flooded with cheap imports from China which are for the most part, junk!

      You would be better off to look into used brand names such as Bach, Yamaha, Conn ($600-$800).

      When you decide on the instrument, let me know and I’ll check around on what brand would work in the $500- $600 price range.

      Another possibility is to check with your local music store on their rental programs. In most cases today the stores are renting some nice horns and if you find you don’t want to be a trumpet player, you’re not out much money.

      Keep me informed as you make these decissions and I’ll try to help you more.

      Now about my gout!

  23. Sonya Reply

    All instruments are hard to play. They all require hard work and practice (except for no brainers maybe, like cow bell, but that still requires beat keeping)

    Every instrument is different and has pros and cons. If any of them were truly THE BEST in each and every way then all the others would probably fall out of favor over time. (except for very niche audiences)

    Technically, we’re all biased because we don’t play every instrument or type of instrument in the world.

    Can’t we just all agree that every instrument has its pros and cons and that if they’re played well, all sound beautiful in their own way?

    I’m also not sure if all of my sentences are grammatically correct, but please don’t nit pick them and ignore the point I’m trying to get across. Thanks. 🙂

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Your sentences were beautifully constructed and you point was outstandingly presented!
      And thank you for your thoughtful comments.

      Your comment- “All instruments are hard to play” might be argued for a cowbell, piano, and bass drum are not difficult to play but “all instruments are difficult to play well”.

      Your other comment “Can’t we just all agree that every instrument has its pros and cons and that if they’re played well, all sound beautiful in their own way”?, I totally agree with you on that one.

      My comments were directed at elements such as an exposed trumpet part as compared to a cow bell or bass drum. If a trumpet player misses a note everyone can hear it but if a bass drum comes in at the wrong time, it can many times be missed.

  24. Brad Belchamber Reply

    As a trumpet player in many ensembles (having come back to the instrument decades after high school playing), I thought point #10 was laugh out loud funny because it is unquestionably true!

  25. Musician Reply

    Even my drum major(I’m an alto sax in my marching band) occasionally jokes about trumpets having a huge ego. I have a couple friends who play the trumpet and I can assure you they’re always trying to say that the trumpet is very hard, while in reality it is not much harder than any other instruments.

    Now, before you go ahead and say that the saxophone is extremely easy, let me remind you that it is only easy at the beginning; once you have been playing for a while, it starts to get harder, and the learning curve increases.

    I also noticed that you were saying that a reason why the trumpet is hard is because it is very noticeable when a trumpet player makes a mistake, yet it isn’t as noticeable when another instrument, such as a bass drum player, makes a mistake. Now, tell me this; does it really matter if others can notice your mistake? All that matters is that you notice it, and set out to fix it by practicing. Complaining about having the melody and making mistakes instead of fixing them is utterly useless.

    I hope you realize that other musicians who play instruments other than the trumpet don’t have an “easy” time sitting in their chair during their band practice, sipping away at tea while trumpet players work extremely hard to fix their embouchure. Other musicians wouldn’t be relaxing, but rather fixing whatever they can as well, to make whatever they play, even if its a minimal part in the background, as perfect as possible.

  26. trumpeter's mama Reply

    This was a great post and all the comments from offended musicians and your earnest replies make it all the more hilarious!
    My 12 year old has been playing the trumpet for 5 years now- and that was holding him back, as he had started asking for it at the age of 3 having seen a picture in children’s encyclopedia. I found your site while surfing the net for advice on buying a trumpet. Our kid is very attached to his 1956 Ambassador, but the teacher thinks it’s time to upgrade. Apparently, he is playing at high school/college level ( proud mama). now that he is in the city band, he notices that his trumpet sounds “duller” than that of the others in his section and is finally open to trying a new trumpet. So far, he has tried his teacher’s horn and didn’t like it – it was silver (hm?) and too heavy ( weight wise). So… we are looking for a pro trumpet, hopefully under $1000 ( we don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse), lacquered, lightweight, with a bright sound, and not too delicate. Oh, and the kid is into jazz. Have you seen anything like it in your travels? Thank you for the laughs and the useful info!

  27. Shingoukiex Reply

    I stared learning piano at the age of ten and quit after two and a half years. Two reasons made me quit. 1: at the age of 12 or 13 I didn’t realize the importance learning an instrument like the piano and 2: piano was easy at the beginning especially within the first year but got extremely hard real fast. Then I picked up the trumpet in my third year of junior high school, and played it until high school graduation in both the concert and marching band. The trumpet is extremely hard for beginners who has had no experience playing a wind instrument. I remember the first time I tried to play my friend’s trombone and couldn’t make any sound because I had no idea that I had to use my lips. But then came a time period (after you got comfortable with playing a stable and well sounding tone), the trumpet starts get become easy to play. Of course as a melody instrument, the music was always the hardest amongst most other brass instruments, but I’d argue that playing the trumpet at the highest level is argubly easier than playing the piano at the highest level. Among all the brass instruments though I’d argue the French horn is most likely the hardest to play well because the tone is harder to control than that of a trumpet due to the length of the pipe and the smaller rim of the mouthpiece, (I’ve tried playing my friend’s horn in high school, and I couldn’t produce the mellow and round tone intented for it because I’m too used to using my lips for the trumpet mouthpiece)however, the trumpet will almost always have harder music. As for woodwinds it’s a totally different story and is very hard to compare. In my limited understanding on woodwind instruments, I’ve always heard that people say the oboe or the bassoon are the hardest instruments and the saxphone is the easiest, but that’s just what I heard and without actually playing it and understanding it, I won’t know. Cheers.

  28. Michael Zschoche Reply

    To all of the people who say it’s an easy instrument, I say you have obviously no idea what you’re talking about. Yes it’s easy to play Mary had a little lamb lol, but put some haydn trumpet concerto on your music stand, and play it all correctly with all the dynamics correct. Things l8ke the mordentsame, trills and all that fun stuff. You will change your mind very quickly. It is an insanely difficult instrument to play. I know as I’ve been playing for 20 years. I have performed the haydn trumpet concerto for a college recital. I was a music major who took theory and everything. I know what I’m talking about. ALL instruments are not easy, but don’t call the trumpet easy because you figured out how to play a few easy notes.

    • Michael Zschoche Reply

      Excuse all the typos. Mordents not mordentsame and like not l8ke

  29. cha Reply

    aw you guys whine too much, come on…I’m a singer, many gigs I’ve done with bronchitis, a fever and sinusitis. I can complain about how I can’t eat dairy, eat clean, exercise and have to hydrate weeks before and during the gig to keep a clean tone and wide range, let alone dress and look good for the gig but I don’t..it’s part of the job and career you committed to….every instrument is hard and has their challenges, no one instrument is harder to play than another.. each one has a unique way of testing your nerves when you want to sound perfect.

  30. Brontosaurus Reply

    Is playing the trumpet truly very difficult? I heard Louis Armstrong’s La Vie En Rose solo and I fell in love with this instrument. Does any prior knowledge help (like playing piano and singing) help when trying to learn the trumpet?

    • Bruce Chidester Reply

      Pops make everything sound easy.
      Thanks for your interest in our site.

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