How to Teach the Trumpet

Standard teaching pedagogy requires that a trumpet player learns fundamentals and techniques crucial to the proper performance of the trumpet. Teachers must present material in a logical and sequential way that focuses on the student’s strengths and weaknesses and improves their ability. Competent teachers know how to address breathing issues, intonation problems and provide motivational support to encourage while helping the student improve.

Step 1: Begin teaching a new student to be addressing breathing problems. Before playing a single note, teach the student to breathe from the diaphragm and not the chest by expanding the stomach. The simple act of expanding the stomach brings in plenty of air.

Step 2: Concentrate on tone production by providing the student with a warm-up. Explain that the warm-up is not just to get ready to play, but to increase their tone quality. Long tones, tonguing, flexibility exercises involving slurs and high-range exercises should part of the warm-up.

Step 3: Instruct the trumpet player on the proper method of playing scales. A scale should start at a mezzo piano crescendo to forte on the top note, and decrescendo back to a mezzo piano at the end.

Step 4: Provide the player with etudes that help work on specific problems. “Melodious Etudes for Trumpet” is an etude book with each exercise focusing on specific trumpet performance issues.

Step 5: Give the trumpet student repertoire from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern periods of music. Provide the student with jazz performance pieces, as well. The repertoire should provide the student with a well-rounded education in music.

Use a metronome for all scales and tonguing exercises. Etudes consist of musical studies designed to focus on specific issues. It is best to teach with techniques with musical pieces in the form of etudes of repertoire whenever possible. The trumpet should develop musicality above all else.


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