Since this is a beginner’s guide, we will start by briefly describing the history and development of trumpets.
Basic Background Information for beginners
The word “Trumpet” takes its root from the French word “trompette” which means a long, tube-like musical wind instrument. Well, you haven’t heard the last of “Trump” if you think it’s only for the United States 45th President because it’s actually the short form of trumpet which in actual fact first came to the fore in the English vocabulary in the 13th century.
The earliest trumpet dated back to as far as 1500BC. The Silver trumpets found beneath the ground in Egypt and likewise the metal trumpets found in China validates the pre-historical facts underlying the Genesis of the wonderful story of “Trumpets” and it’s invaluable existence till date.
Here you can learn more about the history of trumpets.
Knowing your Trumpets
This long cylindrical piece of instrument is simply a brass wind instrument which is credited for its potency in producing sounds powered by lip vibration against its cup-like mouthpiece. A trumpet originally comprises a rod-like tube shaped into an ellipsoidal loop that flares into a bell. The trumpet represents the group with the highest register within the brass community.
Over time, trumpets have been used more profoundly in the area of communication and signals strategy in warring times by military organizations. Its usage as a musical instrument started around the 14th and 15th centuries. They are now readily used for music art production especially in live-band performances and orchestras and of course not to mention; in popular trending music.
Trumpets are played by blowing air through the almost-enclosed narrow opening majorly with the lips which would, in turn, produce a magical but “buzzing” sound that welcomes you to the reality of music play or the concert you have in mind. Sometimes, it can tremble you off your feet if blown accidentally without prior notice or preparedness.
Classification of Trumpets
As other musical pieces have generic classifications so also do Trumpets. Unique classification can be found to include according to research over the years, but not limited to Brass, Wind and Aerophone. Other common musical instruments with almost direct semblance with trumpets under the above-named classifications are Flumpet, Cornett, shofar, Russian horns, pocket trumpet etc. Here you can find more info and pictures on the different trumpet types.
In the olden days trumpet did not provide much in terms of dynamics of the length of tubing segment of the trumpet whereas the modern ones do. Generally, most modern trumpet possesses an average of three valves which enables for seamless change in their pitches. Most have the piston type valves while others have the rotary ones. The use of valves is occasioned by the special preferences of countries which of course vary accordingly.
Material Make-up of Trumpets
Barring any preamble, of course, the average person already knows trumpets are made wholly from brass. Nevertheless, other equally credible if not costlier materials like silver and gold can also be used for its production although for special purposes either for royal service or government functions.
The brass amalgam used is notably 70% copper and 30% Zinc. The brass is usually yellow in color. There is also the gold brass amalgam which consists of 80% Copper and 20% Zinc; and likewise, silver brass comprising Copper, Zinc and Nickel.
The relatively small amount of zinc present in the alloy is intended to allow for cold workability on the brass. Some special manufacturing processes entail that Ambronze (85% copper, 2% Tin and 13% Zinc ) can be used in making special components of the trumpet like the bell part which is responsible for the loud, sound and vibrating features characteristic of a good trumpet.
In standard practice of modern production, the electrolysis of the brass materials is advised such as silver-plating or gold-plating although it could cost a fortune.
Only few parts of the trumpet are not made of brass. All the screws used on it are steel-made, the water key is usually laced with cork; the rubbing surfaces on the valves must be greased against friction or according to the quality desired, may be electroplated with finely prepared metallic materials of standard quality.
How the Design of Trumpet could Ignite Your Passion
Majority of brass wind instruments produced today are produced for a purpose either of social status, climatic consideration, hierarchical designation, class etc.
It is noteworthy that while some are specially made for beginners which come readily under-priced or fairly-priced, others are intended for the professionals and the importantly placed eminent personalities in the society. While some are based on how audible they would sound during harsh weather conditions, others are based on the fact that ranking is huge in the considerations given to items different climes of the world.
In order to satisfy your custom-made requirements, manufacturers would most certainly ask you basic questions like:
- What genre of music do you want to use it for?
- What particular ensemble will the trumpet be played in?
- How loud do you want it?
- What’s your budget for it?
In going forward, the manufacturer would then provide basic clues like the tuning slides, the bell’s uniqueness, the shapes, plated or alloyed ones of different classes. You then have a chance to test the equipment and ask him or her questions too, either in trying to understand more or in asking for little adjustments to be made.
Playing Your Ideal Brass-Made Trumpet Instrument
Now to some more theoretical insights useful for trumpet beginners.
On the Musical equipment, there’s the need to master the valve numbers written on it. “Open” means all valves in the instruments be in the upward direction. “1” means the first valve, “1-2” means the first and second valves and so on in that order. The way the pitch sounds is dependent on the transposition of the trumpet.
The person playing the trumpet rolls the tip of his tongue to produce a ‘growling -like’ tonality. This is done as if one is to pronounce ‘R’ in Spanish.
It can also be played spontaneously using the back tip of the tongue to resonate the uvula thus creating a noticeably different sound.
Trumpets could also be maintained undergoing repairs occasionally. Dents on the trumpets can be removed by hammering and also worn out pistons can be replaced.
Major Tips and Tricks for successful Trumpet lesson
There are basic things you need to know before you start aiming at displacing that genius of a guy in your church or music group. We have gone out of the way in compiling these steps to be taken.
However, you must note that the steps and tips are not limited to these alone, which means you must try to make sufficient researches in other spheres if you indeed want to become an enigma in playing this highly revered musical instrument.
Buy or rent a trumpet
That’s the first thing to do i.e. owning one or at least getting one available. Ensure to ask or demand that it be set to B flat (the easiest one).
It is possible it doesn’t come with labeling. Don’t worry, most students’ instruments don’t come branded but ensure it has all the following:
· The valve cover is free of dents.
· The valves move up and down with seamless transition and unhindered sliding.
After you get your hands on the trumpet you need to know how to store it. Ensure your trumpet is kept in its case!
You can begin by mouthing the letter “M” but stop after the “mmm” part. Note the actual position you made the pronunciation in order to keep your lips there.
Blow via this position with a loud sound, avoiding whatever sound note produced at first. It’s going to regularize with time and persistent effort.
Practice on the buzzing sound
Here are a few tricks to doing that:
· Pretend as if you have a piece of paper on the tip of your tongue.
· Allow the top of your tongue protrudes slightly.
· Your lips must touch each other to create a sound that sounds like ‘raspberry’.
Get out to start with your Trumpet
After you’re done assembling your trumpet, inhale through your mouth. Set your lips to the proper orientation position. You can then start vibrating into your trumpet with a buzzing sound.
Avoid the temptation of pushing any valves for now because you need to feel your lips change its tightness and grip. Push your valves gently on one and two. BOOM!!! You’ve successfully played the first two notes on your trumpet.
Habits of a professional trumpeter
A professional player is one way or the other going to be readily sensitive to his instrument in a way an amateur may consider absurd. That’s exactly where the professionalism lies.
The practice time also distinguishes a professional from an amateur in that the professional works more irrespective of his attainment. The professionals go for the costlier instruments because they see it as a challenge to their existing knowledge about the instrument.
They also hang out with cerebral and great musicians who inspire them to a newer level and heights. They also listen to different jazz music and read transcripts too.
Practice makes perfect
It is hard starting any music instrument on one’s own. You can use our app to learn and practice the trumpet, but we still suggest that you get yourself a couple of hours in the beginning with a music teacher. Starting something new is one of the hardest things.
Hint: This beginner’s guide on trumpets is a work-in-progress. We will be adding more content when we find time between the coding-breaks 🙂