【Important】How to Play Trumpet: Basic Lessons For Beginner

How To Play Trumpet – What You Need To Know

By Jack Pound | Trumpet

Last Updated on

The trumpet is commonly considered as an outstanding and hard-to-play musical instrument in the brass family.

If you are interested with this type of instrument and are seeking the way to play it yourself before asking for the help of a teacher, you’re right to be here.  

Our post will show you how to play trumpet in the right ways based on the full and comprehensive guideline. Now, let’s begin!

Getting Ready 

As mentioned before, playing trumpet is not an easy task. Thus, it is necessary for beginners to prepare themselves when they decide to learn how to play trumpet.

Particularly, becoming fluent instrument players, including trumpet ones, will take time and effort to practice and improve skills. This process of each individual is different but requires your right attitude, truehearted desire, high attempt and even your patience to pursue it.

Even when you don’t own natural abilities like some those of talents, you will be able to become a good instrument player with the above characteristics and a 30-minute practice session daily.

After getting yourself ready for discovering the attractive trumpet, you should learn to know its main parts. This will surely help you in choosing a good trumpet in the next step and when using it.

See also: The important parts of a trumpet

how to play trumpet notes

via musicpartnership.com.au

Select an Appropriate Trumpet

This is surely an important step before starting beginner trumpet lessons. To choose the right trumpet, you should consider these following issues:

- Your available budget: in case you have a tight budget, a used trumpet is a good choice.

- Which one will you need? Beginner, intermediate or professional trumpets have different features.

- What you need to check when buying:

+ Slides and valves should have a looser tolerance.

+ Other parts should move freely.

+ Valves should spring back up fast and easily when being pushed down.

+ Choose a proper mouthpiece and the horn's compression.

+ Trumpet should have no leaks, corrosion or dents.

+ Ask for its warranty.

Select an Appropriate Trumpet

Be sure you purchase a trumpet but not a cornet. In a few cases, some customers have no clear knowledge of these two types and purchase the wrong one online.

See also: The differences between trumpet and cornet

Furthermore, when owning a trumpet, you should carefully take care of it by keeping it dry, clean, safe and properly lubricated for a long time of use.

See also: How to clean your trumpet

Now, let’s start to learn how to play trumpet to enjoy its warm sensuality yourself soon.

How to Play Trumpet?: Key Steps to Practice

Step 1: Practice The Basic Lip Position

- Pronounce the sound "M" and keep the lips stop at the "mmm" position.

- Blow through that position and make such a buzzing sound.

Step 2: Practice Blowing With Your Trumpet

- Practice buzzing into the mouthpiece.

- Insert the mouthpiece into your trumpet and practice buzzing again without pressing valves.

play high notes on trumpet

Step 3: Hold Your Trumpet In The Right Ways

This is the next important step which will let you feel relaxed, easier and natural when practicing with the trumpet.

Allow your instrument to be held firm thanks to the smooth coordination of your left hand, right hand and fingers without applying any force. You may consult our link below to know how to hold the trumpet properly.

See also: How to hold the trumpet in a perfect way

Remember that while playing trumpet, whether standing or sitting, you should always:

+ Let the shoulders relax for deeper breaths.

+ Let your back straight without slouching; otherwise, the air flow, sustained trumpet notes or a steady volume will be affected.

+ Let your trumpet point straight ahead and up, so that the sound will travel well and notes will be played more accurately.

+ Let your elbows slightly out from but not into both sides of your body for no pressure.

Step 4: Learn How to Blow Basically 

Learn How to Blow Trumpet Basically

If you think to blow into a trumpet is only blowing into it together with your blown-up cheeks, you are following the wrong way. It even makes your practicing harder.

The better way is allowing your upper lip bend a little bit downwards while starting. At this time, the air is let out and the sound released is the note. Moreover, you should not press the mouthpiece too firmly to the lips.

Besides, the consonants such as "T", "K", "D" are normally used to start the tone. Anyway, the vowel is the main factor that determines the sound. Thus, we are highly recommended to focus on it.

Particularly, the three most common syllables that show the changing of the size and shape of your oral cavity on the trumpet are "ah", "ay", "ee". The details of this use are shown in the following table:



Lip Vibration







In a word, you can change the sound by noticing at these things:

+ Bend your tongue’s surface upwards and vibrate your lips more quickly to play high notes on trumpet.

+ Lower your jaw and vibrate the lips slowly to play low notes.

+ Mainly change the fingering to get different notes on the trumpet.

trumpet scales

Step 5: Learn About Valves and Notes For Pressing Valves

A trumpet has three valves. Each of them alters the pitch. Valves are numbered one, two and three. The first valve is closest to you, and the third valve is closest to the horn's bell.

+ When pressing the first valve, the pitch is lowered one whole tone (2 semitones).

+ When pressing the second valve, the pitch is lowered half a tone (1 semitone).

+ When pressing the third valve, the pitch is lowered one and a half tones (3 semitones).

No Valves 

1st Valve

2nd Valve

1st and 2nd Valves

2nd and 3rd Valves

1st and 3rd Valves

All Valves

  • Certain Notes For Pressing Valves

- For pressing no valve: H sharp, C, G High, E High, F flat, High A sharp, High B, Higher D, Higher E sharp, Higher F.

- For pressing 1st valve: A sharp, B, E sharp, F, High Ds.

- For pressing 2nd valve: H, C flat, F sharp, High D sharp, High E flat, Higher C sharp, Higher D flat.

- For pressing 3rd valve: A, E, F flat, High C sharp, High D fla.

- For pressing 1st and 2nd valve: A, E, F flat, High C sharp, High D flat.

- For pressing 1st and 3rd valve: G, D, H, High C flat.

- For pressing 2nd and 3rd valve: G sharp, A flat, D sharp, E flat, H sharp, High C.

- For pressing all valves: F sharp, G flat, C sharp, D flat.

Step 6: Produce The Sound With Fingering

When you have mastered the technique of blowing, it's time to practice producing sound with your trumpet using the fingering following the reference below:

Remember to use fingers of your right hand to rest on three valves and hold your right pinky in the air or on top of the hook near the valve number three.

Step 7: Learn The First Scale

A scale is a collection of ascending or descending pitches proceeding by a specified intervals' scheme. Trumpet scales are important and will help you play in different pitches and keys.

Now, it's time to learn the first scale-the C major scale with the following guideline:

  • Start with Low C: (often written as a zero or an O) play this note on the trumpet by pushing no valves down
  • Play D: try pushing down valves numbered one and three. Barely tighten your lips in case you cannot play D
  • Play E: try pushing down valves numbered one and two and tighten the lips a little more
  • Play F: try pushing down valves numbered one and tighten the lips a little more
  • Play G: Push down no valves at this time, but still tighten your lips some more
  • Play A: try pushing down valves numbered one and two and tighten the lips some more
  • Play B: try pushing down valves numbered two and tighten the lips a little more
  • End with High C: let go of all three valves

Step 8: Practice More And More

After finishing playing the first C scale, so-called the "Concert B flat" scale, on your trumpet, you can practice more by moving on to higher-or lower-scales.

Below are some scales for you to consult for your practicing:

Note: Here, an open valve note is written as “ooo” or simply as “Open”. Whereas, a closed valve note is marked as “xxx” or as “123” together with numbers being attached to each valve and showing which ones are pressed down to produce a pitch. Also, “1” is the valve closest to you, while “3” is the valve furthest away.

Moreover, you can consult more in a beginner trumpet music book and keep practicing at least 15-30 minutes every day for the best progress.

Learn The First Scale - Trumpet

Small Tips For Practicing

- Practice a little daily rather than a lot once or twice a week

- Avoid holding your instrument too tightly

- Have a rest as soon as your chops become tired

- Take a full and deep breath and avoid lifting your shoulders while inhaling

- Avoid excessive mouthpiece pressure

- Keep as much lower lip as the upper one when using the mouthpiece

- Practice with someone else to have more fun, to share experiences and get a better practice pace

- Set longer-term goals to try more


After consulting this post, you may answer the question: how to play trumpet? Furthermore, you can get some needed information when deciding to learn to play this type of instrument.

Now, don’t hesitate to own a trumpet and practice it yourself. Hopefully, you will apply those steps successfully and broadly introduce the above information to people who need it.

How To Play Trumpet- What You Need To Know

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