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..