Do you want to learn to play the trumpet? California Music Studios has been connecting students of all ages and trumpet teachers for over 25 years. Our students report a 97% or better satisfaction rate with their instructor and our organization, but we are happy to replace your instructor if needed.
Each of the teachers we work with is qualified through a strict evaluation process that includes an in-person screening and a background check to ensure trust and satisfaction. Students receive one-on-one instruction that is tailored to individual needs, pace, and learning style. Children, teens, and adults can choose to participate in any of the 65 yearly recitals held by California Music Studios, a great opportunity to show off new skills and practice the art of performing.
If you’re on the hunt for trumpet lessons, look no further. To learn more about the trumpet, keep reading or contact California Music Studios.
A Brief History of the Trumpet
The trumpet has existed in various forms throughout the existence of man. Early civilizations blew into conch shells or made simple horns from animal horns. The earliest known metal trumpets date all the way back to 1500 B.C. In fact, bronze and silver trumpets were found in King Tut’s grave. In medieval times, trumpeters were crucial to military units for relaying instructions over a distance.
However, these simple, natural trumpets didn’t have valves, making chromatic playing highly difficult. Trumpeters had to specialize as lower or upper register players. It wasn’t until the early nineteenth century that Heinrich Stolzel developed the first valves for brass instruments in 1814. In 1838, Francois Perinet invented the piston valve, which uses springs and has become the standard for modern trumpets. These valves readily change the amount of tubing that air has to pass through, thus changing the note value. Slide mechanisms were also added by the 20th century, allowing trumpeters to adjust pitch.
The trumpet’s relatively young chromatic abilities have led to a smaller repertoire, particularly in classical music, compared to other instruments. However, the 20th century saw a growth in the type of music written for the trumpet, turning it into a vital tool in the development of jazz.
Tips for Playing the Trumpet
Playing the trumpet is no easy feat, but don’t get discouraged during your trumpet lessons. To help you on your journey, here are a few tips you should keep in mind.
- Take time to form your embouchure. Trumpet teachers can help you get the basics of it, but it’s up to you to actually mold your embouchure so that when you put your horn to your face, you can produce a warm, welcoming tone. Fortunately, the more you play, the better your embouchure gets. A good way to familiarize yourself with your instrument and your mouth placement is to play long notes. Get used to the vibrations and learn how to form the desired notes and pitch without adjusting your slide.
- Your mouthpiece should generally be centered evenly on your upper and lower lips. However, people have individual differences in tooth, skull, and lip structure. Some trumpeters even play out the side of the mouths. During your trumpet lessons, try to find a comfortable, natural spot that can still produce a buzz without causing too much strain.
- The Bach 7C is the standard mouthpiece size that most students start out with, and it is perfectly serviceable. However, as you progress and advance in your trumpeting abilities, you may consider using a different mouthpiece with a different size, depth, or diameter to accommodate your particular play style and embouchure. Your trumpet teachers can help you make a choice or determine if you’re ready for a new mouthpiece.
- Probably the biggest hurdle for anyone trying to learn to play the trumpet is hitting high notes. You don’t have the convenience of a register or octave key like a clarinet or sax. You have to rely entirely on your own air control and embouchure to hit those notes above the staff. The key is to blow air faster through a tighter embouchure. Practice notes and scales in the upper register. Above all, don’t strain. You can actually split your lips and injure your chops from blowing too hard. If you have a lot of trouble, don’t worry. The more you play, the better your range will get.
- Always use your third valve slide when playing a low D and low C#. Both notes are notoriously sharp.
Links for Inspiration
- You can’t talk about trumpeters without mentioning Louis Armstrong. Satchmo was one of the greatest musicians alive, using his unique voice and his amazing chops to put a lot of soul into jazz. Here he performs “Hello Dolly” live.
- Miles Davis was the man who gave birth to the cool jazz movement. Ditching the fast tempos and complex chord changes of bebop, Davis favored a smoother, simpler, more relaxed feel, which is easy to hear in the song “Tenderly.”
- John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was fundamental in the development of bebop and was noted for the ease with which he could play in high registers and fast tempos. Here he is, blowing his cheeks out to “And Then She Stopped.”
- Beirut, the popular indie folk band, uses a wide range of eclectic sounds and instruments, including an impressive brass section. Zach Condon is known to play a rotary valve trumpet to quite amazing effect.