Learn to play the trumpet from scratch. | Colin Jones | Skillshare

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Learn to play the trumpet from scratch.

teacher avatar Colin Jones, Musician

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Buying a trumpet - what you need to know.

    • 3. Holding the trumpet and making a sound.

    • 4. Using the tongue to start the notes,

    • 5. Using the valves and playing the note D.

    • 6. Adding the notes E and F.

    • 7. Final Task - putting it all together. (project)

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About This Class


The Trumpet is one of the most versatile instruments you will ever encounter, and it's also one of the most challenging to learn. Why? Because the instrument doesn't make any sound on its own!

In this class for totally new players, you'll get advice on choosing an instrument, learn how to create a sound, and practice creating a beautiful tone. Next, you'll be guided through the process of playing 5 different notes by using the valves and your new found magic chops!

Meet Your Teacher

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Colin Jones



I'm Colin, a musician currently working as a touring trumpet player in the UK, playing mostly pop, with experience in theatres, music venues, classical settings and recording studios.  I have studied music in great depth and breadth and continue to do so, and my aim is to teach music in a way which is interesting and fun - and accessible to those with no prior experience.

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1. Introduction: Welcome to my class. How to play the trumpet. This class is designed for people that have no musical knowledge at all, although if you have some musical knowledge, it wouldn't be a problem. It's designed for people have no experience of playing the trumpet on. In fact, you don't need any experience of playing any other musical instrument, either. First thing first, great choice. The trumpet is a fantastically versatile instrument you're finding in or casters musical fear to pick bands, recording studios, playing part, classical jazz, world music Pretty much everywhere you're gonna anywhere. There's music you're going to encounter Trumpets. They are wonderful instruments to learn breath instruments. The trumpet being one of them are uniquely difficult instruments to learn because they don't come with any sound built into them. That's right, the trump. It doesn't make a sound. Let me explain to more. So if we think about a few other instruments, I've got some examples to show you. So with a piano or a keyboard, we know that if you are able to press a key down, you're gonna get a sound. So all you need is to be able to activate the sound, which is already built into the instrument, so I won't say that's easy. But a big part of the job he's dug the instrument has sounds already. Let's look at a percussion instrument, So a drum or Cymbal, any kind of percussion We just need to be able to strike the drum on the drumhead will vibrate on, create a sound. The sound is built into the instrument on guitars, etcetera gonna acoustic bass guitar here, same principle. As long as you could make a string vibrate, you're going to get a sound because the sound is built into the instrument. That's not the case with these brass instruments. This very, very beautiful, handcrafted, wonderful piece of kit is actually useless at producing any sound at all. We know it's a wind instrument, so you'd expect we can have to blow into it. Let me show you what happens when we do that. Perhaps not the effect we were hoping for. So one of the first things will learn on this class is how to actually create a sound. So you realized already the sound doesn't come from the trumpet, but it has to come from the musician. So this is the first thing we'll look at on this class. Also, I show you what to look out for when purchasing a trumpet. You don't need to spend a lot of money. You can if you wish, but there are things you need to look out for, and I'll help you with that. First of all, so we'll look at creating a sound on getting some control over the sound. We go to learn what to do with the physical valves on some other place on the instrument. We're gonna learn to play five different notes and you'll have an opportunity to upload a short assignment to demonstrate your progress. Andi, as we work through these thieves 1st 5 notes. I wish you look. I ask of you patients. These are very difficult interest to learn. They take time because their physical we have to make changes with our muscles and the way we breathe on the things that we do for extremely rewarding on well worth the effort. Welcome aboard 2. Buying a trumpet - what you need to know.: in this clip, I'm going to share with you my tips for purchasing a trumpet on which to learn. Let's talk about new trumpets. First range of prices are huge. You can spend easily £4000 much more on a professional or a custom made trumpet. I wouldn't recommend you do that unless you have millions of pounds rolling around. Then you fancy one, in which case enjoy. I'm still saving up for a £4000 truck, but I would love one of these are probably about 2.5 £1000 mine. But this is a professional tool that served me for about 13 years so far. At the other end of the scale, when by a new you'll find trumpets for sub £100 I would definitely recommend you don't touch these with a barge pole. It's very likely they've been thrown together with little care and attention, and they'll be some key things that tend not to work on them very well, which will look at in a moment. So if you buy a new I would recommend you look for a brand name that you're familiar with. I would suggest Yamaha bark boozy and hawks best in blessing. If you can still find him, I don't know a well established brand Yamaha, for example. They make everything. They make motors, they make motorbikes, they make piano. So ah, well established. But and even then, I'll be tempted to steer away from their cheapest price point. Most manufacturers have a bottom and sort of introduction to the market instrument. I would tend to stay away from those. And if you're going to buy new Biden sort of 2nd 1 maybe in the 3rd 1 up only buy from a brand that you've heard off in some other context. That said, I will probably advise against buying a new instrument, and the reason for that is you'll find on the seconds market. E Bay is great as long as you know what you're looking for. Your find instruments that are aged pre a pre owned. They might even look a little bit tatty, but they will probably be much cheaper on fast superior to some of the new budget stuff you find on the market. And I have a student horn from the 19 eighties that I learned when I was at school. That's given my age away and it's very battered. All the lack has gone. I would struggle to sell it for £50. I wouldn't part with it for any money because it's still a great instrument. Now, back in that era, the cheapest since when she could buy were about £200 we've had 30 years inflation since then. So that puts it in perspective is only in the last 10 to 15 years that the markets being flooded with cheap rubbish. So go for something old, even if it doesn't look that nice, is probably going to be much better than the cheap new instrument. Practically, though, what are we looking for? We need the money that this is the mouthpiece. Take this out because mine is a little bit specialist. I've got an adapter thing on there, but you were expected to come with something that resembles that a bit more so the things that need to happen on your trumpet, whether you've paid a fortune for it or a little for it you need a mouthpiece on the mouthpiece should come out, and it should go in again. If it's stuck. There is a small repair take to get that removed. It shouldn't be stuck in. So it needs to have a mouthpiece that comes in and out freely. You're looking to check the construction of the instrument. Now we have these embrace ings here and here on here, on here and here on underneath here, so anywhere that the instrument is braced together. Look at those points and make sure that they are firmly attached again. They're not big repairs if they're not attached. But it's really important that it works because if there are loose bits, we get vibrations and bits. Sort of construction physical sounds that get in the way. The musical sounds, so make sure the instrument is structurally and physically held together in a lot of places that it looks like it should be. That's the first thing to look out for. The next thing to look out for. We got free. We call these valves the pistons piston valves. They need to move freely. Okay, C c A press that release it and it pops straight back up again. Okay, If they're a little bit slow, they do get dried out. We have to put oil on them. If they're stuck or you really struggled to pressing down. I will probably avoid buying that instrument. It should unscrew just on the top. Here. On the in, the valve would come out completely and go back in fairly easily. So an instrument that's in good shape, you'll find that quite easy to do. You'll also find various slide. So there's a the main tuning slight here that should move freely. Should come right off, actually, and go back on again fairly easily. A lot of older instruments or even some bad new ones. If they've been left and neglected that gets seized up on these things. Don't move again. All easy repairs. But I wouldn't want to buy a trump and then have to go get it repaired. There's another one here. Should move. Another one here should move on. This little one here should come off and go back on again. So just to recap, we want a mouthpiece that's not jammed in. We want three valves which come back up again when you press them. I mean, what the tuning slides here? Yes, here, on here, all to move freely. None of those big repairs. But if, like me. You prefer to have any instrument that just works in the offset. Then that's the best thing to do. And if you've already got your trumpet, I hope all those things work, okay? 3. Holding the trumpet and making a sound.: in this clip I'm going to show you how to hold the trumpet on how to make a sound on the trumpet We hold the trumpet with the left hand Even if you're left handed we hope Trump with the left hand and we use the right hand just to operate the violence Let me show you how that works. So we take the weight of the trumpet with our left hand on We grip with a forward position around the valve block Here you may or may not have a ring or a hook here, and you may or may not have a ring or a hook here. It doesn't matter. Either way, mine does. So I'm gonna put my thumb through there and I'm gonna wrap my hands forward round there. I'm gonna put my third finger through the ring there. Let me just hold that there for a moment. You can try and see how that looks and all the weight bearing is doing on the left. And that's very important. Show you that from the other side of the trumpet. Well, that's uncomfortable. So I'm holding it like so the right hand doesn't bear any weight. at all. It's just there to operate the valves on. We'll talk more about the valves in the later clip. But for now, we can just put the tip of the little finger in this crook here we're gonna rest the firm against. They're making a little That's what is arch like that on. That leaves me three fingers free to just hover above the three valves. So that's how I hold trumpet. And then just gonna steady it then and let you just look at that from a few different angles. You might want to pause it perhaps and get an idea. So this is good posture. And if I just let go and take it again from that position, just gonna hold it around for words like that. Okay, Okay. Making a sound on the trumpet. Now we talked. Any introduction about blowing air through not working on the key thing is vibration. So all sound has to have a vibration. The guitar string vibrates. The drum's skin vibrates on with the brass player. The lips need to vibrate so well, I just blew into the trumpet and give you demonstration. That's why we didn't get any sound So how do we make the lips vibrate? We pinch them together gently, a bit like saying the letter M and then we forced the air through anyway. I mean, some people describe it is blowing a raspberry a little bit more refined than that? I like to think, but the sound we're looking for just on the lips is come in little close when you perhaps see the vibration. Ah, sounds like an angry wasps when I apply that to the mouthpiece. So the sound originates with us. Now we can change how we put the air into the trumpet. Now the first thing I said, yes, you try and do right now is paused. This clip on, Just have a moment and see if you can get that nice sound. So just take a gentle breath in fairly full but relaxed and then pinch the lips gently together on, uh, and breathe out calmly through your vibrating lips into the mouth, please. The mouthpiece is making a good seal right against my lips so that no air can leak out the sides. I'm not putting the map is in my mouth, and they're not putting it to firmly against just enough to make a seal. Uh, so you should just try that pours the clip for a moment and try that. Now we can change how we blow into the instrument and I'll demonstrate for you. And the next thing going to try and do is get a little bit of control over this. So at this stage, I'm still not pressing any of the valves or doing anything out from the instrument. Uh, now what I'm doing there is changing how I send the vibrating air into the trumpet. Now let me try and get you to do this. That first? No, I just played. I blew Very relaxed. Not too much tension have blowing quite slowly. Now we talk about blowing fast and blowing slow. We could think about blowing further away or blowing nearer for this first note that I produced. I'm gonna blow very relaxed. And I hope you managed to find that. No. And we'll we'll check that in the assignment after. So this is a C. We call out a C on the trumpet. Don't need to worry too much about this. We're going to do now is only just change one thing. I'm gonna play that See again, and I'm going to suddenly blow much faster and watch what happens to the note. Uh, so I blew faster, just so I put compression around here and it sped up the vibration. Now, I couldn't stop the note from lifting there, so the noted lifted to is called the G. So I played the C I like blue faster, and it forced the air speed to increase, which changed the note to a G on. Then I backed off and stopped blowing so fast and it fell back down to the sea again. Uh, now, in teaching students, I tend to find everyone has a different starting point. Some people might pick the instrument of, for example, tense really type like with all their might and we might get That might be the first time they ever produced other students will pick a trumpet up, very relaxed and go everyone in between. So where you are depends very much on where you started. What? I'm gonna try and get you to do that in this next simple assignment is just to play between those two notes. So if you're playing much higher than that. You're gonna have to relax. Everything blow Very calm, necessarily getting a gentle vibration. So your task is and I want you to try and upload thes so we can all share is to try and play the sea and change it to a G. So this again, uh 4. Using the tongue to start the notes,: in this clip, we're going to look at how we start the notes, something called articulation or tonguing. In this case, when we played the C in the G a moment ago, we just blew air through to get the vibration starting. Ah ah! Now, if I want to play lots of notes in succession, it's not practical to breathe and start again. It would sound something like this. So I'm huffing and puffing the sound Isn't that great? So that's know how we do it? You'll be pleased to know on what I'm looking for now is this Hey E ah, The tongue is doing the work there. The way to describe this best I find is to like it to speak. So what I was doing there was like this, so I could just say ah in speech. And we can compare that to just blowing. I can also keep producing that long vocal sound like an interrupt with a total Ridder sound like this. The now, throughout all of that is the continuous sound caused by the ah, and I'm just getting that that that that that we do the same thing with the trumpet. So what I'm doing there is I'm blowing continuously. And then I'm using that order Sound to briefly interrupt the airflow. Um, this allows me to blow continuously and smoothly on articulate or star attack each note very smoothly. The member, the alternative huffing and puffing, blowing F each night would sound more like this. We're not going to do that. So to recap is like, Ah, the that There's a continuous sort of drone of the vibrating air and and we keep the tip of the tongue on the back of the bottom teeth different like that. This is tricky to master. You might find it comes straight away. You might not be sure whether you're doing it right or not. But if you're getting a fairly clean and crisp sound ancient, you probably are what? We're gonna try and do that here for this next upload. I want to just try and play more than one note. Let's try and play. Maybe this pattern just on the sea Ah, uh uh very definite flick on each note. Oh, uh, then that's trying to do the same again on the higher note that we played before. Still not using any valves which we call G, saying idea. That's what we're looking for. When you upload your assignment, you might find you can do a lot more than that. So show us what you've got. You might find you can go. Uh, that's really difficult if you can. Well done. If you call. Of course not. We're just learning. So experiment with tonguing articulation on Try and get those clean sounds on the Sea on the G, the two notes that we've learned so far. 5. Using the valves and playing the note D.: in this clip, we're going to introduce the valves. We have three valve three pistons on for ease. We refer to them by number on the first valve is that one newest your mouthpiece, that this is my first. Well, this is my second valve on. This is my third valve. Two very important things to mention about the vowels. The first is that we never swap fingers around. So if you're holding the instrument, how I showed you so all the weight on the left hand we put the tip of the little finger through the crook. There the firm just acts like a bridge on that leavers with three fingers on three valves on, they must never swap over. So this is the first valve finger. This is for the second, and this is for the third Ondas. Long as they stay in their place, you'll always have a finger ready to operate a valve. The second important thing about the valve is they must be either fully up or fully down. You could think of them like a light switch or a plug rather than a dimmer switch. The reason for that is what the valves are doing is redirecting the reroutes the air through some extra tubing will look at that in a moment. So if the valves air only pressed halfway down, we get this strange, incomplete sound. Oh, that's fun. So the valves must be pressed all the way down or left on. Way up on. We should only ever keep the three fingers in place. Okay, what do the valve actually do? I just briefly explain there. So this is physics. A tube of a certain length will play a whole series of notes like I demonstrated before. At the moment, there's no air going through this tube, all this tube or this tube at the back here. So at the moment, the valves are bypassing thes three tubes. So those notes I just played our without these chips. So what does the valve do? I'm going to take this off here and inside the valve case, and the valves have hold in them. Only African, Linus Well enough on when we press the valve down, it diverts the air through a different route and in every getting a flight on that, you can props. Just see the movement in there. So when the valve is pressed down, the air is sent through a longer route around the trumpet. So when this valve press down, it sends the air through this extra bit. Here. The effect of that is the trumpet is now longer. So we get a whole different set of notes. So before, without any valve, press that down. Ah, get a slightly different set of notes. If I press this valve down, the first fell on get in the air diverted through this extra bitter tubing which gives me another set way. When I pressed the third valve down theory gets sent through this longer extra bit of tubing around this side Here We could also press the valves down in combination so we don't just have to press one down. So, for example, if I press one aunt to the air will get sent through this one on this one. So with this combined with how weak we blow on, how we change the air supply and the vibration, the instrument is called fully chromatic. So in the same way, that piano will play all of the half steps once we know what we're doing. So with a trumpet uh And so Okay, first thing I'm going to get you to do is to play the note one step higher than C, which is then that we started with. So we played here. See? Ah to play d, which is one step. I it we need the first valve on the third valve pressed down at the same time. We just spin around. So we should just have the middle valve raised on the middle finger just sat on top. So we got the first valve on the third valve down on its sound Just slightly higher than the see. Here's the day. Ah, see? Ah, Andi. And again, remember the violence of press down fully away. Ah, see, Ah Di So if your practice on this, I suggest you just try and just move freely between those two notes. Maybe we try something like this and you can upload this is an assignment. When you can share and compare with each other, I suggest you try something like this. We're gonna play five, seize, and we're gonna make the last one longer. Uh and then we'll do the same with the day. Uh, put those two together and we'll try and have this. Ah, good luck. 6. Adding the notes E and F.: in this case, we're going to add two more notes to the collection. So we've learned how to play. See, uh, on a date. Uh, we also learn how to play g which was no valves again. So we're gonna fill in the gap is gonna It's too inside on here. So the next night hopes we've played C d. Next, we're gonna look at how to play. So another step higher to play. You will use the first valve on the second valve at the same time again just to remind her the first valve is the one nearest the mouthpiece. So he is first and second. Now, it's important as we play higher that we blow a little faster. Okay, on. As we're blowing faster, we need to just hold the corners of the mouth here a little bit firmer. Okay, so C d and our new no e should sound like this. Ah, ah ah. Now coming back to the point about blowing faster and holding the corners firmer. If we don't do that, we can put the right valves down to play. I e but not get any watch. So see? Ah, So do you see what happened? I press wall in two down, but I didn't go up to the, uh because I failed to blow faster and tighten the cones up. Um failed to do that, I'm sure. So c d on e you may notice as I change from D to E I left the first valve down. We need we need first foul for both D on foot e So rather than clumsily taking it off Uh huh, Uh huh. We just leave it down and change the other finger. Ah, all right. One more note. F f just requires the first file on its own. Okay, On again, it's a little bit highest. We could have to blow a little bit faster, faster air through the mouthpiece on just like these corners, tighter in place. So that's here. F So let's walk through from C to D E and F ah ah! One more time. Ah ah ah! That's bridge the gap fully from the two notes that we started with because the note after f is of course, G. Now let's try and play all five of those notes and succession. Here we go. See Ah di ah e ah uh G 7. Final Task - putting it all together. (project): I hope you've enjoyed working through these steps and not found it too frustrating. It certainly does take a lot of time. And sometimes we have to listen to some quite unpleasant sounds which were trying to get to grips with playing the trumpet by way of consolidation. I'm gonna just suggest the final project for you, which will just bring all of these things together. Very, very simple pattern we're gonna play. We're just gonna walk up through the five notes that we've learned, and then we're gonna just at that, we call it the slur. Like we started with changing from the state of J. Ah. So when we just change the note from one to another, that's called a slur. So Well, I suggest you do by waiver. A summary and conclusion of the five minutes we've looked at is trying Copy this pattern here and upload your results. Thanks very much for taking part in learning to play the trumpet for complete beginners. Ah, Uh huh. I'm sure that one more time from a different angle so you can watch the valves better. So I played C d E f G C g. One more time. Ah, Okay.