Learn to play Trumpet. The trumpet is a great beginners instrument if your child is looking to play brass. The trumpet is small, inexpensive, and relatively easy to learn.

What is the Trumpet?

The trumpet is a member of the brass family of instruments. It is the highest pitched or register among the brass range. The trumpet is a transposing instrument. This means that when a trumpet player reads a middle C on their music, it will sound as a B flat note on a piano.

The trumpet is made of brass tubing bent into a spiral, usually silver-plated or lacquered. Notes are produced through the addition of a mouthpiece, which a player blows through. Mouthpieces vary slightly in size and shape, which correspondingly produce varying tones on the trumpet. Players will use different mouthpieces depending on the type of music they are playing e.g. jazz, classical, brass band.

The first trumpets originated in China and later Egypt, and were used for military purposes – conveying messages to different sections of an army. They were similar to a bugle.

The first musical use of the trumpet was in the late 1300’s, when it acquired the folded shape similar to today’s trumpet. It was during the 1500’s that the first music for trumpets was written.

By the mid 1830s the valve was invented and added to the instrument, allowing the trumpet to play any note of the scale. Subsequently the trumpet became the musical instrument as we know it today.

Today the trumpet features in all types of music, including classical, jazz, rock, blues, pop, funk, ska and polka.

For any child wishing to learn a brass instrument, the trumpet is the best instrument with which to start. It’s small, practical and in many ways the least expensive instrument to learn, and can lead onto other brass instruments such as the trombone, euphonium or tuba.

Where do you learn the Trumpet?

There are several places a would-be trumpeter can learn to play. For the youngsters, most schools – primary and secondary – offer music tuition as an extracurricular activity. The student is able to hire an instrument for a minimal cost, which includes tuition plus the opportunity to perform in the school’s brass band, orchestra or music group.

Most centres around New Zealand are home to a brass or silver band. Always encouraging new and younger players, these bands also provide instruments and offer tuition, and provide a platform for developing players to eventually perform with the group.

Other options are music academies and private tuition. With these options, the trumpet is generally not supplied and the student is required to provide his or her own instrument.

What age can your child start learning the Trumpet?

A trumpet requires the student to have fully developed front teeth, plus reasonably well developed lip and jaw muscles. Hence, the instrument is not suitable for preschoolers.

The recommended age for a youngster to begin playing trumpet is 9 – 10 years.

However a budding trumpet player does not have to start at such a young age. Many well-known players have taken up the instrument in their teens or even early adulthood – often switching to the trumpet after having played another instrument for several years.

How do you progress over time?

By joining the likes of a brass or silver band, the developing trumpet player can progress ‘through the band’s ranks’, moving from third trumpet, through to second then first or lead trumpet as their ability on the instrument improves.

They may also choose to move onto another brass instrument, choosing to either master the second instrument or become experienced on both.

As a trumpet player becomes more proficient on their instrument, there may be opportunities to join an orchestra, rock or jazz band. Many local operatic or musical societies are also on the lookout for up-and-coming musicians to play in shows.

What equipment do you need to learn the Trumpet?

When you purchase your first trumpet, the instrument should include the mouthpiece and case – this is standard, even for second hand models.

You may also wish to purchase valve lubricants, which keep the trumpet’s valves in good condition and prevent them seizing up. The other consideration is a mute; this fits in the end of the instrument and reduces the sound, enabling a quieter practice session around the home.

There are examinations available for trumpet players should they choose to follow the grading pathway to learning. Further information is available through your local training academy or tutor.

How much does it cost to learn the Trumpet?

Many music retail stores in New Zealand offer a rental or hire option for several instruments, including trumpet.

Most hire plans include the option to buy the instrument with a portion of fees paid deducted off the retail price. There are several hire plans available and it’s worth checking around to see which plan offers the best price and hire-to-buy option.

Generally the cost of hiring a trumpet is around $30 per month (minimum of three months hire).

Should you choose to purchase an instrument rather then hire, there are several model ranges to choose from:

  • Student – $595 – $895
  • Intermediate – $1200 – $1500
  • Professional – $2500 – $5000

For the beginning player, a student model is more than adequate and will last for many years. It also pays to check around for second-hand instruments. Often you can pick up an excellent quality intermediate model, which has been well looked after, for the price of a student instrument.

How much time does it take to learn the Trumpet?

Most tutors will recommend their students practice a minimum of 30 minutes each day.

In the initial stages, the budding trumpet player will find he or she has sore lips, jaw and cheek muscles as those muscles are being used in a different manner to normal. However, with constant practice these muscles will strengthen and the student will find their playing becoming more fluent.

Any seasoned professional will always tell you daily practice is the key. Persistence pays off in the long run.

Great Trumpet Websites


Trumpet Studio is a great resource site for all trumpet players, including a variety of articles and tips to help with your playing, practicing and performing


A great site with free trumpet sheet music, online lessons and resources. Includes links to other trumpet-related websites on the net

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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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