How Can I Be Good at the Trombone?

To improve your trombone playing, it is necessary to practice daily and develop a consistent set of exercises to improve range, tone, flexibility and speed. These exercises should only take 20 to 40 minutes each day. By completing these exercises daily, you can drastically improve your ability. Successful players know that they must practice daily with an efficient program that touches upon all aspects of trombone technique. Eventually, you will memorize these exercises and this process will become a part of your warm-up routine.

Step 1

Begin each practice session with a proper warm-up. This will help to develop your tone. Play long tones by starting on the Bb below middle C. Slur down to A and then back to Bb. Continue this process adding a half step each time until you slur down to F. When you reach F, use the same process and continue until you hit low Bb. Finally, jump up two octaves to high Bb and start the process again.

Step 2

Continue warming up and improve flexibility by playing slurs in a sequence. Use a single position on the trombone to play the following notes: Bb2, F2, D3, Bb3, F3, D3, Bb2, and F2. Repeat this series three times and end on low Bb1. Continue this series on each slide position, moving to B, C, C# and so on. (See Tips)

Step 3

Develop your range by playing a series of half note arch exercises. Start on Bb3 slur up to B3 and then back to Bb3. Continue this series by half steps until you can’t play any higher. Take a five-minute break and then see if you can extend your range a little higher.

Step 4

Improve your speed by practicing tonguing exercises. Start on a Bb2 and play the following notes: Bb2, A2, G#2, G2, G#2, A2, and Bb2. Play this series as quickly as possible and then move up a half step and continue the series until you start on F2.

Step 5

Practice solo pieces each day. Consistently work to improve your ability to play trombone repertoire. Get a book of etudes to work on after each warm-up session in addition to your regular concert music.


The numbers refer to scientific pitch notation. Middle C is C4 and the C below middle C is C3. Using this system, you can figure out the notes in the slurring series


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