Everything you need to know about the trumpet


The trumpet is the highest-pitched instrument in the brass section. It is also one of the oldest instruments, with examples dating back to 1500BC.

Trumpet history

Trumpets were used in battles and hunting at least as far back as 1500BC. They have been used as musical instruments for more than 500 years.

Trumpet range

The standard trumpet range extends from the written F immediately below Middle C up to about three octaves higher.


How to play the trumpet

Trumpets are played by blowing air through almost-closed lips, to produce a "buzzing" sound. Say the letter M and keep your lips in the closed position. Blow through this position to make the buzzing sound. After assembling the trumpet, inhale through your mouth, assume the proper lip position, put the instrument up to your lips, and vibrate using your lips, making the buzzing sound. You should feel your lips change tightness as they lock into a note. After playing your first note, try tightening your lips slightly and pushing down the valves.

Top trumpeters

Best known trumpeters include Maurice André, Maurice Murphy (who played the blistering trumpet part for the LSO in the original Star Wars score) and Sergei Nakariakov. In recent years, highly skilled women players have moved to the fore, such as Alison Balsom and Tine Thing Helseth. The most innovative giants of the trumpet are found in jazz: Louis Armstrong; Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and the list goes on - Chet Baker, Don Cherry, Freddie Hubbard…

Introducing the trumpet