Blow your own horn with the trumpet

The trumpet is a versatile instrument, played in many types of music including jazz, chamber music and ska. Learning to play the trumpet is a wonderful hobby for those who enjoy its sound.

Choosing a Trumpet

The primary reasons for choosing a particular trumpet are its intonation, sound, response and the kind of music the musician wants to play. What does the trumpet sound like and what is its timbre? When testing the instrument's range, is the quality the same on every note? A beginner may not be familiar with these issues, which is why it is best to buy or rent a horn from a shop where the people really know their horns. You could also get a trumpet teacher to test the horn first.

The pricing of trumpets isn't that different from store to store, though a used one can be a good deal. The trumpet mouthpiece will probably be a "7c," which is standard and good for a beginner. The Yamaha trumpet model YTR2335 is typically priced around $900, but you can find them selling for $600 on sale. Its keys are made of mother of pearl and it has strong valves. It has a .459 bore, which is the opening of the mouthpiece.

The Bach trumpet is a good one for beginners, especially the Bach student trumpet Prelude at about $400. The bore is .459, it has a brass leadpipe, the pistons are nickel-plated and the mouthpiece is 7c. The piccolo trumpet in D and the Bach Trumpet is the same instrument. Victor Mahillon created it in 1890 to play the high sections of Bach and Handel's music. Getzen is a good beginner piccolo trumpet, though pricey at $2,000.

The pocket trumpet is not a standard instrument; it is a small B-flat instrument used mostly for practice, though in jazz bands it has been played to add a snazzy sound.

Trumpet Music

Free trumpet sheet music is available on the Internet. One of the popular riffs or lead note music for trumpet is the theme to The Simpsons. It is an easy song to learn. A popular jazz solo for trumpet is found in the tune "Fly Me to the Moon." Some classical pieces for the beginner are "Down by the Riverside," "Album Leaf for Elisa" and "Amboss-Polka."

Learning to Play Trumpet

A student's teacher will usually start them with the C note because it doesn't require using valves. The student will learn the embouchure (correct mouth shape), breath control and proper fingering. Warm-up books are good idea as well – they can help you set a practice schedule and exercises. For children, it's best to have them practice each piece of music three to five times. For an adult, 30 minutes to an hour a day is a good practice habit.

If you find you enjoy the trumpet, you could move on to learn some similar instruments, like the French horn, trombone or tuba.

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