How to hold the trumpet

Here's how to hold the trumpet with the correct left and position, right hand position, and posture, and without uneccesary tension.

In this guide, I want to go back to very beginning — how to hold a trumpet. So, if this is your first time picking up a trumpet, here's your first lesson.

The first thing we want to do when we decide to learn the trumpet is learn to hold it properly. You have to learn how to hold it properly before you learn how to play it.

This should be easy, let's go over it.

The ultimate trumpet mouthpiece guide

How to hold a trumpet (step-by-step)

#1 — Put the case down

Start by taking the trumpet case and putting it down on the floor.

If you have just bought the trumpet, and haven't even assembled it yet, here's how to assemble your trumpet step-by-step.

You should have the big flat side of the case down on the floor and the handle facing towards you. If the case is the right way up the logo on the case (if any) should be on the upper side.

If it's upside down, you'll go to open it and parts will fall out.

#2 — Take the trumpet out

There's really only two main parts of the trumpet that you'll see on the case — the mouthpiece and the trumpet itself.

We have the big bell on one end of the trumpet, and a mouthpiece receiver (where your mouthpiece goes) on the other. We have three valves; the first is the one closest to the mouthpiece, and the third is the one closest to the bell.

You will hold the trumpet with your left hand when you take it out.

parts of a trumpet

#3 — Hold the trumpet with your left hand

When you take out the trumpet, make a big C with your left hand and hold the trumpet by the valves.

Your left thumb will rest on the thumb hook on one side of the three valves. Your left index and middle fingers are going to wrap the other side of the three valves.

This three fingers alone should give you a firm grip of the trumpet. You are gripping the three valves together.

Your left third (ring) finger, should go into the ring. This is not for grip, instead it will be used for sliding the valve. Try this to get a feel of the motion.

Your left pinkie just hangs out below your third finger.

This is how you should always hold your trumpet with your left hand.

Again, you are firmly securing your trumpet the left thumb, left index and left middle finger only. The left ring finger stays loose, and mobile and your left pinkie hangs wherever comfortable.

You should hold all the weight with just your left hand.

Watch out that you do not take your index finger up and away from your middle finger to hook over the bell.

A lot of beginning players think they need to hook the bell to secure the trumpet. Not necessary.

Take your time to get used to that.

#4 — Finger the valves with your right hand

Your right hand acts like a big claw, that comes down over your trumpet.

The tips of your first three fingers (index, middle and ring of your right hand) should rest on the each of the three valves. Make sure you are not putting any other part except the tip of the fingers over the valves — that's why we used the claw analogy.

Your right pinkie goes on top the pinkie rest.

A lot of beginners think they need to hook their pinkie into the pinkie rest to held hold the trumpet, but remember what we said, only your left hand is securing the trumpet.

Your right thumb is going to rest over the space between the first two valves. You can slide up as far up as it will go so that it sit just beneath the lead pipe.

Take your time to get used to that.

#5 — Pay attention to your posture

If you've followed each of the steps above, you are ready to bring the trumpet to your mouth start playing.

Think about where your elbows are while you do this.

Your elbows should not be flared out or be squished infront of your chest. They should assume a natural, comfortable, relaxed position whether you are sitting up or standing up straight.

You should not be lifting your shoulders.

Some beginning players think that when they bring their trumpet to their mouths they should lift their should. That creates a lot of uneccesary tension on your neck and your shoulders.

Stay nice and relaxed with proper posture and left your shoulders hang down comfortably as you bring the trumpet to your mouth.

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Sun Bantu

I usually open a small, invite-only Trumpet Course to my email subscribers a few months a year (form below).

TrumpetBeast is the music blog where I help you master the trumpet by yourself, entirely.