Sunday, March 20, 2016

How to Know the Valves of Your Trumpet

Learning the valve combinations on the trumpet can seem overwhelming at first, but there are only seven different combinations that make it possible to play all the pitches on the trumpet. Once you have learned the basic finger combinations, practicing specific exercises to increase your familiarity will not only help you memorize the fingerings, but you will also improve your technique and finger accuracy. When playing the trumpet, the valves must be synchronized to ensure that each note has a smooth transition from the previous note.

Step 1 Memorize the position of the valves on your trumpet. The valve farthest from the bell is the first valve, the second valve is in the middle and the third valve is closest to the trumpet bell.

Step 2 Play through the first few notes of a chromatic scale, starting on the note C. Play C by keeping all of the valves up and play the remaining notes by depressing the correct valves. Play C-sharp by depressing valves one, two and three. D will be played with valves one and three. D-sharp uses valves two and three. E uses valves one and two. F uses just the first valve and F-sharp uses the second valve. These are the only valve combinations you need to play the trumpet effectively.

Step 3 Practice playing major and minor scales using a fingering chart to improve your understanding of the correct fingerings for each note. Practice the scales with the fingerings until you have correlated each note with a specific fingering. Memorize the scales so you don't have to refer to the music and fingering chart.

The third valve is sometimes used by itself as a substitute for the first and second valve. However, using the third valve by itself produces an out-of-tune pitch, which the trumpeter must compensate for by tightening his embouchure. The embouchure consists of the muscles in the mouth that tense when you play.