Trumpet Overview and History

Trumpet made in three parts: a wood and metal mouthpiece, a bamboo tube pierced with finger holes, and an expanding wooden resonator of trumpet shape.

The trumpet can be traced back several thousands of years. The original trumpets did not have valves; the sound was made only from the player changing the air speed and adjusting their embouchure (the way your muscles take shape on the mouthpiece part of playing a wind instrument). The horn was played in the same way. Trumpets were made out of many materials (wood, bamboo, bark, clay, bone, and metal). Since trumpets have been found on every continent, they are thought to have been used for ceremonial purposes.

Where to Purchase

Local dealers are: The Music Academy of ChelmsfordUniversity Music, and Music and Arts.

Trumpet Brands and Models for Beginners

Jupiter JTR700 Series Bb Trumpet
Jupiter JTR1100S Series Bb Trumpet
Yamaha YTR2330 Series Bb Trumpet
Bach TR300H2 Series Bb Trumpet

Trumpet Brands and Models for Intermediate Players

Jupiter JTR1110S Performance Series Bb Trumpet
Yamaha YTR-8345RS Xeno Series Bb Trumpet
Bach TR200 Series Bb Trumpet


Shilke Standard Series Trumpet Mouthpiece
Shilke Standard Series Trumpet Mouthpiece

A great mouthpiece range for most young trumpeters is a 7C to a 3C. You do not have to move to something larger as you get older! Bach sizes are the standard- these are great mouthpieces!

Brands: Bach, Pickett, Marcinkiewicz, Stomvi Flex, Gary Radtke, Denis Wick, Greg Black, Shilke, Stork, and Curry


Some instruments are written in concert pitch. This means that when that specific instrument plays a “C”, a “C” comes out. To transpose means that the player is playing an instrument that sounds a different pitch (higher or lower) than the pitch they are presently reading on the staff. Trumpet players sound one step lower than written. If you play a “C”, a “B-flat” is the sounding pitch. When directed to play a “Concert B-flat”, you will play a “C” to correctly play the requested note.

Instrument Assembly

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Step 1: Locate the trumpet in its case, remove instrument.
Step 2: Insert the mouthpiece into the leadpipe (or mouthpiece receiver) with a gentle twist.

Hand Position and Posture

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Taking it apart:
Step 1: Remove any excess moisture from the instrument by blowing into the trumpet while opening the water key.
Step 2: Remove mouthpiece from instrument, place into its spot in the case.
Step 3: Wipe the instrument and mouthpiece down with a clean cloth, secure case thoroughly.

Embouchure and Sound Production

The “embouchure” (pronounced ahm-boo-sure) is the way a musician applies their mouth to the mouthpiece of their instrument. All wind musicians must work very hard to build muscle memory in the jaw and mouth so that your sound is consistently of good quality.

Step 1: Start with an open sigh breath. The the throat should feel somewhat cold. Say the syllable “ho” when exhaling from your sigh.

Step 2: This may sound silly, but say the word “banana” and focus on what your lips are doing when you start the word, on the “b”. Now, form your lips in a “B” without saying banana. The lips should be naturally together.

Step 3: “Sigh” through the “B”. The throat must be relaxed, as should the rest of the body.

To produce a sound, your lips must provide the vibration on brass instruments. The buzzing of the lips will feel strange at first; imagine a tingling of the lips.

Step 4: Use the same lip formation and bring the instrument to playing position. The mouthpiece should be in the center of both lips. “Sigh through the banana into the horn” is what I will tell you on our first in-person lesson!

Be sure that you wet the lips before you play!


The articulation that we will use on the trumpet is the syllable “Doo”. This is how your tongue will begin each note on the trumpet. There are different types of articulations that we will go through in band rehearsals. While at home, always practice beginning each note with the tongue on the roof of your mouth right where the teeth meet the gum.


Brass instruments have similar intonation issues due to the valve system, which is based on the overtone series. The following information below explains which notes will be in tune, flat (lower), or sharp (higher) based on valve combinations. Use the fingering chart below to map out which notes will most likely be flat or sharp on your instrument.

Valve Combination Pitch Tendencies

The following valve combinations will either be ok with no pitch problems, sharp (the pitch is too high), or flat (the pitch is too low). Use a tuner for a reference. If your pitch is too high or low using these combinations, we will “lip it up” or “lip it down”. This has to do with changing your embouchure and adjusting your muscles.

To correct a flat pitch: Firm corners of your lips, raise the tongue
To correct a sharp pitch: Relax corners of your lips, lower the tongue








Ok pitch

Ok pitch

Ok pitch

Slightly sharp

Slightly flat

Moderately sharp

Very sharp

Trumpet Fingering Chart

Click here to download your own Band World Brass Instrument Fingering Chart!

BandWorld Brass Instrument fingering Chart

Care and Maintenance

  1. Rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth before you play.
  2. Make sure to empty ALL the water from your instrument before putting it back into the case.
  3. Wipe dirt, fingerprints, or oil smudges off your instrument with a polishing cloth when you are done playing.
  4. Oiling valves: unscrew the valve cap, pull the valve out about halfway, and apply a few drops of valve oil.
  5. Twist the valve back and forth to spread the oil around and push valve back into its position. Tighten cap.
  6. NOTE: You must be careful of how you line up your valves when you put them back in- most valves do have a system that will click in when they are back into position. If there is a number etched into your valve, have it face towards the mouthpiece.
  7. Clean the mouthpiece with a mouthpiece brush weekly. The dishwasher also works!
  8. Check your tuning slides and grease them weekly.

Giving Your Instrument a “BATH”
Once every few months, it’s good for trumpet, trombone, and baritone players to give their instruments a bath. YEARLY: We recommend taking your instrument to a technician once per year and getting it chemically flushed and cleaned out. Ultrasonic cleaning is also an option. But, a few times a year, it’s good to give your instrument a bath. Here are the instructions:

Use a container large enough to let your instrument soak. A bathtub will work well, but put a towel down on the floor of the tub to prevent scratching.

Step 1: Carefully remove all slides, valves, valve caps. Keep them in order!
Step 2: Place all parts except for valves in warm water and let them soak for 30-60 minutes. Do NOT use hot water. You may use Dawn dish detergent.
Step 3: Run some warm water over the valves while being careful not to get the felts wet. Use a valve brush to clean through the holes and openings. Let dry.
Step 4: Use a snake brush to clean out all of the slides and tubes of the instrument.
Step 5: Rinse the entire instrument, let dry.
Step 6: Reassemble the instrument. Use a good amount of oil and slide grease. Wipe away any extra grease or oil.

Notable Trumpet Players

Louis Armstrong

Miles Davis

Wynton Marsalis

Allen Vizzutti

Doc Severinsen

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A project by Allison Lacasse: 3rd year Practical Application project for completion of a Masters Degree in Music Education at the American Band College of Central Washington University (2018).