The trumpet is the highest pitched instrument in the brass family. They are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BC and are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound. The sound then travels through the brass tubing of the instrument with notes changing through the use of valves. Earlier trumpets did not have valves, but modern instruments generally have either three piston valves. Each valve increases the length of tubing when engaged, consequently lowering the pitch.

Whilst there are several types of trumpet set at different pitches (F, C, D, E♭, E, G and A), the most common is pitched in B♭ with a tubing length of about 148 cm.


The trumpet origins lie in the signaling calls of the military - the trumpet players were often among the most heavily guarded members of a troop, as they were relied upon to relay instructions to other sections of the army. Today, the trumpet is most commonly found in the jazz and orchestral music scenes across the world.

Here are a few examples where you can hear the flexibility of the trumpet in action...

Haydn Trumpet Concerto
Orchestral Trumpets - Star Wars Theme

Massed Band of the Royal Marines

Jazz Trumpet

FUN FACT: The trumpet has been around since around 1,500 BC although there is artwork dating back to 300BC that showcase the trumpet. Modern trumpets are made from brass, but the earliest trumpets were made out of conch shells and sometimes wood.

Getting Started


The trumpet can be purchased or put on a hire/purchase scheme. If you choose to buy your own, it is worth investing a few pounds to ensure a good start

The Prelude Bb Trumpet by Vincent Bach is excellent for beginners and will take you up to the grade 6 level. It produces a bright and crisp tone but it relatively easy to play and affordable for beginners. It comes complete with a case and mouthpiece.


Although most beginner trumpets do not require essential accessories, below are some examples of accessories that you may need/want to maintain the playability and comfort of your new trumpet…

This is perhaps the most important accessory to your new trumpet. Trumpet valve oil has three purposes: it cleans, lubricates, and it fills air space.

An un-oiled piston will wear faster than a regularly oiled piston. Oil also flushes out any small debris and dirt that gets in between the valve and walls of the valve casing. A layer of oil will also fill the small gap between the valve and the casing, reducing any air leakage, making your trumpet more efficient. Blue Juice Valve Oil is very affordable and a bottle will last you a long time. Alternatively we also stock Vincent Bach Valve Oil which is a similar quality.

Trumpet Stand

We recommend the investment in a trumpet stand which will ensure your new trumpet is not accidentally knocked over which could damage it and require specialist repair. The K&M Trumpet Stand is well made and usually fits inside your trumpets bell in your case (legs easily screw off and fit inside the stand).

Displaying your instrument on a stand also encourages you to play it more frequently as you pass by it every day.

Trumpet Mute

As you progress to playing more complex pieces on your trumpet, you will soon realise that you may need a mute for create unique sounds and special effects.

There are various types of trumpet mutes available including, Cup, Plunger and 'Wow' mute. The Straight mute is recommended to start with.

Cleaning and Care

Like most instruments, the care and maintenance of your trumpet is hugely important in order to keep it working efficiently and minimizing repair costs. Here are some tools we recommend to ensure the maintenance of your instrument:

Over time, your saliva will build up inside your trumpet and eventually deteriorate the main body - a snake cleaner used frequently will remove any excess that is left behind after playing. We recommend the Helin Trumpet Snake Cleaner.
A mouthpiece brush works in the same way as the snake cleaner but is small enough in size to clean the inside of the mouthpiece after use. The brush scrubs the corrosive saliva from the inside of the mouthpiece, preventing corrosion and deterioration. We recommend the Helin Mouthpiece Brush.

A mouthpiece brush is a vital investment to reduce the frequency of replacing your mouthpiece.

'Spitballs' Cleaner

On a metal instrument, it is important to frequently polish the exterior in order to prevent corrosion from saliva and sweat build up.

Herco Spitballs have 18 specially treated foam 'Spitballs' in a jar that are specially designed for Brass Instruments and clean where other products cannot reach. It is important to use a specialist cleaning substance rather than a household polisher, so not to damage the coating of your instrument and cause deterioration.

Beginner Books

Here are the best selling trumpet tutor books for beginners:

Abracadabra Trumpet guides a complete beginner from the earliest stages of musical education to become a competent and self-confident trumpet player. It is full of exciting musical styles and popular short songs. There is a CD included with certain editions of the book. Performed by professional musicians, the tracks demonstrate each piece, enabling you to hear how the pieces should sound. CD's like this are invaluable for building ensemble experience, offering all the fun of playing with other musicians in the comfort of your own home.

Team Brass Trumpet begins with a step by step guide that talks you through the instrument and basic music theory. It moves through the notes of the trumpet, gradually building up your ability to play the variety of short pieces included towards the end of the book. The book contains a wide variety of musical styles with which you can play along with the CD, from the Classical eras to film, folk, jazz and Latin American. The variety makes it fun to learn and shows you how flexible the trumpet is and the opportunities that are available.

Finding a Trumpet Teacher

It is highly recommended when starting an instrument to employ a qualified teacher to make the learning process interesting and fun. Teachers can be found across the UK at schools, local music services and musicteachers.co.uk or if you live in our locality please do not hesitate to contact us for details of suitable teachers.

Music Centres - playing in orchestras & ensembles

Music centres are set up in many towns to give students an opportunity to meet like-minded people whilst putting their playing into practice. The centres often have a wide variety of ensembles which you can join if you wish. It provides great opportunities to perform in concert situations across the UK and even sometimes Europe. Here is a list of Music Centres/Services in the UK.

This resource was written by:

Sarah Hayward

Sarah Hayward Bmus (hons), MA

Sarah is a sprightly coloratura soprano and active violin and viola player who enjoys interacting with other musicians and teaching her students. Sarah is part of DS Music’s Education Outreach & Marketing Team and is passionate about the expansion and Educational Outreach of the company in order to help give everyone the opportunity to access music. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Music has the power to change people so help me use it to change the world!! :)

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