Is there a wrong way to hold the horn?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BustedChops, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. BustedChops

    BustedChops Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 1, 2011
    I tried to correct my old habits of holding the horn at extreme angle. My valves were placed upright, I had the classic pistol grip and it was certainly correct for the institution. I remember my old grade school band teacher harping on me about holding my horn properly. I started to hold my horn the "wrong" way again. I have large thumbs. They make holding the horn difficult. I play with my horn to the side. If I play to the side I am able to reduce mouthpiece pressure, I am also able to keep my mouth on the horn.

    I use my left hand to finger and my right hand to grip. The valves are slanted to the left at an angle. Doing this I feel allows me to reduce mouthpiece pressure. So if mouthpiece pressure is the enemy, it really doesn't matter right?

    I should be more specific when I say "keep my mouth on the horn." My two large front teeth are far from perfect. One is straight as arrow, the other is bent out at an extreme angle. If I hold the horn centered I fight the bent tooth. It cuts into the inner tissue of my chops. I play at an extreme angle I am reducing mouthpiece pressure and my chops are taught without slippage.

    I do know there is a video of a very young talented girl playing horn at an extreme angle...I think I am one of those that is doing it for sake of playability.

    Is there really any reason to hold the horn straight with the valve block straight up and down?
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The worst way to hold a trumpet is by the mouthpiece.
  3. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    The wrong way to hold the horn is to follow the advice of someone who does not know your playing, The RIGHT way for you is whatever is comfortable and allows you to play with minimal tension anywhere in the body and pressure on the chops.

    There is no reason why the valves should be vertical.

    Regards, Stuart.
  4. BinaryHulledIon

    BinaryHulledIon Piano User

    Nov 23, 2012
    Spartanburg, SC
    I don't play with the valve block precisely perpendicular like that. Although my grip is more traditional since I play the valves with my right hand, I tilt the valve block towards my hand much like you do.

    I'm going to assume that you're left handed and thus you prefer to actuate the valves with your left hand. The only thing I can think of that might get in the way is the second valve slide, and that thing can be sensitive on some horns.

    OTOH, nobody told Jimi Hendrix to string his guitar left-handed, and he did just fine by most accounts...
  5. revjames

    revjames Piano User

    Nov 14, 2010
    Anglesey, North Wales
    hold the small end to your face with the big end facing out and hands somewhere in the middle .... :)
  6. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    As with most things trumpet related, there's really no single right or wrong way to hold the horn. There is the fundamental position that all of our band directors or teachers gave us when starting out, but that's basically a generally-sane starter point. The only 'wrong' way to hold the horn, is to hold it in some way that adversely affects your ability to play it. Slanting the horn to the left makes perfect sense for a left hand player, you have to reach 'over' the flaring bell pipe. I'm not sure what you mean by 'extreme angle'...I presume you mean that you hold the horn at an extreme downward angle. Again, if this works for you, then it should be a problem. One thing though....make sure that the various aspects of the way you are holding the horn are not affecting your playing in ways that you are unaware. Take a lesson now and then, play with other people, get others' opinions about your sound and execution just to make sure that you're hearing what you're hearing.....

  7. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    Music is art. If everyone had to adhere to some sort of preset standard then it would be limited to the "right" way. As long as you blow into the little end to make a sound that you or some other unfortunate individual enjoys hearing, your OK. Even that rule has exceptions Im sure. As long as you dont get paid by someone else to play, your style of playing is entirely yourown so if your happy, Im happy.

    As mentioned above, I assume your left handed. It supprises me that left handed trumpets arent more readily available. Ive only heard of them in passing and never seen one in the flesh. Do most leftys play righty? I would have a real setback if I had to finger with my left hand. When I play "air" trumpet as I listen to music both hands work the same, but when I try it for would take some getting used to. Best wishes.
  8. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

    Jul 23, 2012
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    What ever way you choose to hold the horn, do not squeeze it tightly. A loving grasp is all it takes...

    (Unless you do just hold it by the mouthpiece in which case, use all the tension you can... just envision your hands around Kingtrumpet's neck)
  10. Conn-solation

    Conn-solation Pianissimo User

    Jan 22, 2011
    On my way to Bearberry Ab
    I saw a young fellow play left handed but he had no right arm below the elbow..... He played very well as he should have as a trumpet music major at MSU in Lansing.

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