Category Archives: Trumpet for Beginners

Trumpet Accessories for Beginners

trumpet accessories
Photo credit: brillisbeasty on flickr

Accessories which are designed and sold for the trumpet player can be as endless as fashion accessories available to women. Each is professed to be absolutely essential for a good performance. And in the same way some fashion accessories in women are useful and sometimes just stupid, so it is true in the trumpet world.

In order to simplify the many offerings, I will divide them into two categories – “must have accessories” and “nice to have accessories”.

“Must Have” Trumpet Accessories for Beginners

  • Trumpet cleaning kit- Most manufacturers include a cleaning kit with the new instrument. This kit will contain the following items- a trumpet snake (a long, metal spring with brushes attached to each end), valve oil, slide grease, a mouthpiece brush, a valve cleaning brush, instructions, and a polishing rag.
  • Trumpet Mute - The beginning student will be expected to own and use a mute which is inserted into the bell and changes the volume as well as the tone of the instrument. Composers indicate muted sections with the word “mute” and indicate the removal of the mute with the word “open”. Even though there are numerous types of mute available, only the straight mute will be required for the younger player. Most music stores will have the straight mute manufactured by the Humes & Berg company and this will work well for the beginner for it is a good, serviceable mute. Usually the more advance players will upgrade to a higher quality and more expensive mutes.

“Nice to Have” Trumpet Accessories for Beginners

  • Jo Ral Grime Gutters - If, after playing for a long period of time the oil from the valves begins to drip on your lap this will prevent it from soiling your cloths. It is an attachment that slips over the bottom of the valve section and catches the excessive oil.
  • Leather Specialties Special Trumpet Hand Guard - Hands perspire and perspiration can affect the surface of your instrument. Most people have no problems as long as the surface of the instrument is washed periodically. For those like me, the acid in the system can eat into the surface and create premature wear. This attachment is wrapped around the contact points were you hold the instrument.
  • Brasswind Silver Trumpet Protector Bag - This soft bag is used to protect silver plated trumpets from minor scratches while being stored in its case.
  • Bach Instrument Polishing Gloves - This is just an easier way to polish a trumpet
  • Yamaha Professional Cleaning Cloth - If your trumpet is silver plated, get it and use it.
  • Bach 1800B Mouthpiece Spray - This is used to keep your mouthpiece smelling fresh and clean.
  • Yamaha Lacquer Polish - A regular coat of polish will prolong the appearance of lacquered instruments. Most furniture polish will work as well.
  • Woodwind & Brasswind Leather Mouthpiece Pouches - Mouthpiece protectors do exactly what they say they do but in most cases, the young student will either have his/her mouthpiece in the horn or stored in the case so a pouch, although appealing, is not essential.
  • Herco Trumpet Spitballs - When these were first introduced, we all had to have them. The concept is this- between regular, full cleanings, you placed one of these small, barrel shaped, cleaner impregnated foam into your lead pipe and blow. In an instant, it would be forced completely through your trumpet and taking with it all of the “crud” that had accumulated since the last cleaning. Great idea! On one of our brass quintet tours, one member of our group demonstrated it to our young audience. When we returned to campus, we had threatening mail from our host director saying that at the beginning of his next rehearsal, every brass player had inserted one in their horns and on beat one of the first number, pelted him with dozens of these projectiles.

As you can see from the products I have listed, only a younger player should be interested in adding them to their collection. For my more advanced friends, I will be reviewing the newer products which would appeal to their needs such as gig bags, hard cases, weighted valve caps, pressure node enhancers, etc.

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Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions or questions about must have trumpet accessories for beginning trumpet players.

Getting Started Playing Trumpet

So you want to play trumpet/cornet!

Beginning Trumpet
Photo credit: jmorale9 on Flickr

In everyone’s life, we will eventually have to make decisions. If you are considering the possibility of starting to learn to play a trumpet/cornet, you might be interested in the following information.

“Why should I learn to play a trumpet/cornet”?

Learning any instrument has been proven to build confidence in ones self as well as add to social skills and personal pride of achievement. With that said, why would anyone decide on the trumpet?

If I learn to play the guitar or piano, I can play both melody as well as chords which sound more complete than does the sound of a trumpet/cornet which can only play one note at a time”.

This is true. The trumpet can only play one note at a time (sub tones and harmonics may be discussed at a later time). The trumpet is manly limited to melodic playing.

“I can play much louder on an electric guitar than I can on a trumpet/cornet”.

This is also true for the dynamic range of a trumpet is limited by the amount of air passing through the mouthpiece not by the power of an amplifier.

“I see more people playing drums on television than I do trumpets/cornets”.

This is also a fact.

“So why should I learn to play a trumpet/cornet”?


6 reasons you should learn to play a trumpet/cornet

  1. The trumpet is used in every style of musical performance.
  2. Trumpets are usually the leading or dominant instrument in most ensembles.
  3. The sound of the trumpet can range from a soft, expressive tone to the most powerful.
  4. Trumpets perform well in both classical and popular styles of music.
  5. Technically speaking the trumpet is as agile as any other musical instrument.
  6. Even though learning to play a trumpet takes regular practice, it’s worth it.

still want to play a trumpet, now what do I do?

If you have been approached by a music teacher in your school to begin study on an instrument, then that would be the person to contact. If you have always wanted to play trumpet but never got around to it, continue reading.

I have been approached by older individuals who have felt the need to learn or re-learn an instrument. The reasons for this could be many but the desire to get back into music or begin an instrument is increasing in older people. If you qualify as this type of individual, I have a few suggestions.

How do I get started learning/relearning to play the trumpet/cornet?

If you are in school, contact your music teacher and follow his/her instructions. If you want to begin learning to play trumpet/cornet on your own, I would suggest the following-

  1. Contact your local music store to set up a rental program for an instrument.
  2. Find a local trumpet/cornet teacher to schedule a private lessons.
  3. By the time your rental program has ended, you should know if you want to continue.
  4. If you still want to continue, the next step is to purchase a quality instrument.

If you have played trumpet/cornet before and still own an instrument, I suggest the following-

  1. Check to see if your instrument still works
  2. If the valves move up and down easily after oiling them, continue to suggestion 3.
  3. Check the water key (NOTE: water key, NOT SPIT VALVE) for leaks.
  4. Clean your instrument
  5. Begin regular practice

A Breathing Lesson With Don “Jake” Jacoby

jakeVoices from the past bring back wonderful recollections of people who have influenced our lives and for that reason I have posted this lecture given by one of my former trumpet teachers, Don Jacoby. The tone and mannerisms in this recording make it almost as if “Jake” were actually in the room. Only people who knew this very gifted player and teacher can really know what this recording can do to a person’s past memories.

For those who knew Mr. Jacoby, enjoy remembering those good times and for those who never had the pleasure of meeting him, enjoy his lesson on breathing.

Easy Lip Control Exercise

Army Reserve 2010 Best Warrior Competition Army Physical Fitness TestBeing able to bend notes up and down can be very beneficial to a trumpet player. Adjusting notes a little in order to play them in tune as well as having the ability to bend notes in Jazz can be improved with this exercise.

When practicing this exercise, try to land solidly on the false note and remain in the center of the pitch. With practice, this will be easier.

Download practice sheet here- Easy Lip Control Exercise

Listen to example here- easy lip control exercize

Do You Ever Suffer From Stiff Chops? Part #1

lip plateThe number of people complaining about stiff chops seems to be growing and for that reason, I thought it time to address the problem.
Symptoms of “stiff chops”-

1. Each morning when you begin to practice, your lips seem to be leathery or inflexible.

2. Many times your tone quality seems airy when you begin to play.

3. Flexibility exercises seem difficult.

4. More air is needed to start a note.

5. Playing soft tends to be difficult while playing loud is easy.

6. Low notes are a problem at the same time your high notes must be played loud in order to come out.

7. Flexibility is more of a problem than is endurance.

If any of these symptoms are common to your playing, I will try to address the problem and make a few suggestions on solving this condition.

Answer these questions-

Does it feel better to play in the afternoon or evening than early in the morning?

Most agree that starting to play in the early morning is more difficult and reasons for this would include the fact that you have not spoken much in the morning and the lack of motion of your lips could affect you lip flexibility. Another element would be the fact that you have been sleeping for several hours during which time your lips have sustained dryness through the constant exchange of air between your lips.

Do you experience more stiffness the day after a long practice session or rehearsal than when you have had a day or two off?

The heavy demand on your chops through hard practice and/or rehearsals tends to carry through to the next morning while a couple days rest gives the lips a chance to relax and regain flexibility. The problem with taking off a few days is the fact that we don’t have that luxury.

When you have been away from your horn, does it seem that your range is up but your endurance is down?

These two conditions are very common for the days of rest tent to relax the lips which in turn make high notes speak more easily and the lack of practice hinders good lip endurance. It seems as if one area is improved just as another is hindered.

So, what is the solution?

After many years of dealing with the question “how can I build my chops and at the same time sustain my flexibility and range”? I would like to make a suggestion, but first…….

Last Christmas my wife gave me a P-Bone and after the Christmas trappings were picked up and the kids and grandkids returned home, I began to practice my brand new BLUE trombone. I have been at it now for about four and one half months and have discovered a very strange development. MY TRUMPET PLAYING HAS IMPROVED”. My range, flexibility, endurance, tone and a wonderful feeling in my chops seem to be from the trombone practice. You might ask, “Could it be from practicing the trumpet”?

The last time I practiced trumpet was the week before Christmas!

Stay tuned for more on this situation and find out if I will be switching to trombone or continuing my current practice patterns.

You mat also find this page helpful- Rest as Much As You Play