Do you find that your trumpet playing just doesn’t sound right?
No matter what you try, you can’t seem to get that beautiful tone you hear when you listen to your favorite trumpet players?
Let’s change that, shall we.
It’s not hard to do. It just takes practice.
We’ll start with the basics and then move on to the one tip technique that has helped me more than anything.
And not just with my trumpeting, but with anything else I’ve attempted to learn.
Keep reading to learn how to get a better tone on the trumpet by shoring up the basics and by doing one simple (and fun, at least to me) thing that will change how you improve at anything.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Get Better Tone On Trumpet
- 1.1 How To Create A Perfect Embouchure On The Trumpet
- 1.2 How To Breathe While Playing The Trumpet
- 1.3 Learn From Your Idols
- 2 Getting Better Tone On Trumpet: Final Thoughts
How To Get Better Tone On Trumpet
You can greatly improve your trumpet sound quality very easily with just three steps!
- Practice your embouchure.
- Practice your breathing.
- Practice your favorite player’s music.
How To Create A Perfect Embouchure On The Trumpet
Creating a perfect embouchure on the trumpet is just like everything else. It takes practice. Build your embouchure with a day-to-day practice. That is important in order to strengthen all the facial muscles.
It is especially essential to exercise the corners, or the junction between the upper and lower lip, so that air does not escape from the sides of the lips.
Why do you need to do this?
it is quite likely that you may have a day in which you need to play for several hours, either because you are recording or performing in a concert or a street band. 3 things will happen to you..
- You will gradually start to meet resistance from your lips
- Your sound will become harsh as your lips become fatigued and exhausted
- You will lose lip flexibility by the end of the performance
To create stronger muscles that can endure long playing hours and not lose flexibility over time takes a lot of exercise.
Luckily, hundreds of years have passed since the trumpet has become popular in mainstream music, and today we have so much information on how to play this instrument and how to improve.
Here is what you need to do to improve your embouchure. You can only play like this once, twice, or at most three times a day.
Your breathing should be nasal. Don’t take air through your mouth, just through your nose.
The mouthpiece should rest gently on your lips as you inhale through your nose.
Use your diaphragm to emit a continuous stream of air. The airflow has to be fast, which will help you have compact notes and focus on the sound.
No volume is needed, just focus on a clear, good-sounding note. Stay relaxed, from your shoulders, your arms, and your hands. Just keep the embouchure firm, especially in the corners of the mouth.
- Do the exercises as much as you can at one time
- When tired, lower the trumpet and rest for a couple of minutes
- Continue from where you left off to where you can
- End the exercise as planned
Muscle Strengthening Exercises
Use exercises to strengthen the muscles you use to play.
Put a pencil between your lips.
Pucker your lips so that the pencil sticks out of your mouth.
Keep the pencil in place for three to four minutes.
Do this exercise every day for four weeks.
Relax Your Stomach Muscles
Tight stomach muscles do not produce a clear note. If you want to use your stomach muscles to get air into your lungs, use your core muscles.
Focus on contracting your abdominal muscles toward your spine
Stand up straight when doing this so that you can fill your lungs with air. No matter where you go, you need to fulfill the objective of these studies, at least initially.
How To Breathe While Playing The Trumpet
Playing the trumpet is a rewarding experience but requires practice and knowledge in order to achieve the correct techniques.
Two of the most important skills to master when playing the trumpet are fingering and breath control. Proper breathing makes trumpet playing easier and the resulting music sound better.
Practice breathing before playing. That makes putting these techniques into practice much easier when playing the instrument.
Sit quietly and practice taking a deep breath for a count of three. Exhale evenly, also for a count of three. Maintain a pattern so that inhales and exhales take the same amount of time. This will make your tone even better when playing the trumpet.
Understand what type of breathing method maximizes your oxygen consumption so that it is easier to breathe properly when playing the trumpet.
Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your lungs and chest. Inhale and exhale deeply.
Feel how your chest expands when you inhale and how your hand moves on your stomach. This means that you are breathing from the lower part of your lungs.
Breathe from the bottom of your lungs and inhale from deep within to maximize your breathing capabilities. Breathing lightly and unevenly can make your sound uneven as well.
If you find that you are breathing rapidly and unevenly when playing, take a break and do breathing exercises to bring your breathing back under control.
Maintain good posture. Slouching decreases the ability to get oxygen to your lungs and can also reduce your playing skills.
Sit up straight, hold your head high and keep your elbows out to the side for proper breathing and good trumpet playing posture.
Stay calm even if you are frustrated by mistakes or difficult passages. Only when you are calm can you practice proper breathing.
If you find yourself feeling down or frustrated, rest, do some breathing exercises and continue playing when you’re calm.
Some people like to do practice exercises like this on a plastic trumpet, since they are lighter. They are also much cheaper to buy. We have an article reviewing the best plastic trumpet models, if you are interested in getting one.
Learn From Your Idols
If you are in a situation where you need to build a good foundation on the instrument but don’t know how, simply try and copy other professional trumpeters! It will work, I guarantee it! But only if you know how to observe and you have discipline, of course.
To copy the musical tones of your favorite trumpet artists, go to live performances or listen to good quality recordings and copy the tones you hear.
Pick easy pieces to start with so you can have a sense of accomplishment when you are able to master them. Don’t try to master the best solos on the trumpet right off the bat. That takes years.
Listen carefully to the original and try to reproduce the sound.
Make adaptations to your mouth.
Mimic breathing and posture to achieve perfect results.
Do exercises daily to strengthen the muscles you need to play the trumpet and practice one piece each day.
Practicing like this, even for short periods each day, will your trumpet playing sound like that of a pro in no time.
Believe it or not, I got this frantic need to learn from a comic book movie!
Although I don’t usually go to the movies a lot, I recently went to see the new Joker movie. Which by the way, if you haven’t seen it yet for some strange reason, I highly recommend.
I’m not particularly a fan of Batman. But there is a great learning technique courtesy of the Joker in the movie. It is actually a great secret that can help any trumpeter advance twice, or even three times, as fast.
In fact, it has been something that I have been instinctively using since I started playing at the age of 10. It has allowed me to reach the level I wanted, since I began to dedicate myself professionally to the trumpet 3 years ago.
If you haven’t seen the movie I’m going to screw it up for you a bit, because I’m going to do some spoiling. So stop reading, if you want to watch the movie first.
The Joker is a person with a mental illness that prevents him from relating normally to others. He also has other personality disorders.
In the movie, his dream is to be a comedian, in order to make people laugh. In one scene, he is in a bar where comedians are performing live. He has always wanted to perform there. And since he has such a big personality problem, he uses a resource that I loved.
He watches the other comedians and writes down everything he sees that makes people laugh in a notebook. Their humorous resources, types of jokes, and even when and how they interacted with the public. Then he rehearsed them until it came out naturally (which was not the case before).
In other words, he was learning through observation, which is also known as reverse engineering.
Well, the key to the story is this: one of the factors that can help you improve by leaps and bounds is watching all the trumpeters you admire. And not just them, but also anyone who plays better than you.
It does not matter if you have conservatory training, or if you are self-taught like me. In fact, if you are self-taught, it will serve you even more.
Throughout my life I have been watching all the trumpeters who inspire me, some of them live and others on YouTube. You have no ides how many concepts and techniques I have been able to improve by simply trying to copy what they do.
It really is amazing that we can learn just about anything simply through videos on YouTube these days. But you have to do it right. It is not about simply watching them. It is about analyzing, down to the last detail, the way of playing, the sound, the posture, the hands… everything.
So get out the best trumpet you have and start imitating! Or just get your best pocket trumpet, if that’s what you practice with. The instrument does not matter as much for this exercise.
Getting Better Tone On Trumpet: Final Thoughts
Getting a better tone on the trumpet is not rocket science. In fact, it is quite simple. You need to practice.
First, practice the fundamentals. That means breathing. Then, learn from the best. Watch and analyze professional trumpeters you admire. Or just anyone better than you.
Then try to mimic them. It will be hard at first, but keep at it. If you start with easier pieces, you will see more success faster, which can help motivate you. I’m sure this sounds far too simple, but it really works!
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