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..

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

    1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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”.

  3. … 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.

    1. 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.

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