Trombone player gonna learn trumpet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by TyphoidJerry, May 13, 2012.

  1. TyphoidJerry

    TyphoidJerry New Friend

    May 10, 2012
    Hey there, I'm an adult trombonist who played throughout high school and has picked playing back up two years ago for a community band and now a jazz band. The jazz band is lacking a dedicated trumpet player (our alto sax player is pulling double duty) and so I volunteered to switch since we have a great second trombone. However, trombone is the only wind instrument I've ever played and I'm not quite sure what I'm getting in to.

    A few questions:

    - What kinds of issues can I expect trying to switch between instruments?
    - Any recommended exercises?
    - If I stick with this, I'll probably want to buy. Any advice for a mid-range jazz trumpet?
    - How good can I realistically expect to be after a few months of daily practice?

  2. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    I switched from Baritone to trumpet when I was young. Take your time and buy a Platinum edition of Arban's book. It is very helpful. It comes with a CD. It is also spiral bound. It will take several months to feel competent, but you will not regret it. I also tried trombone for a while, but trumpet is my bag!
  3. trumpetup

    trumpetup Piano User

    Jan 12, 2009
    Godley, Texas
    I messed around with a valve marching trombone for a little while. When I went back to trumpet the mouthpiece felt so small I had a hard time adjusting. I might try it again some time. You will be using different mussels of your embrasure to keep a small orifice. Your breath control will be a little different. You are used to putting a lot of air through the trombone. So air quantity won’t be a problem. You will need to focus on air control. You will need to read treble clef rather than base clef. Some people can switch back and forth with no problems. Trombone Shorty is great at it. Trombone Shorty - YouTube
    Good Luck
  4. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    You need to check with KingTrumpet on this site. He plays both and is very nice; as well as, knowledgeable with a great sense of humor. Feel free to PM him. He is "da man" on this subject.
  5. AndrewL

    AndrewL New Friend

    Jan 14, 2011
    I used to play trombone and took up the cornet after many years off. The biggest Lesson I learnt was that it takes a long time to develop a good sound. It is always easier to play high on lower brass so don't be surprised if it takes you a long time to develop the same range as your trombone. There were quite a few times in the early days when I thought I would never be any good and nearly gave up. Now I'm glad I stuck at it.

    The material you practice depends on the problems you encounter. As you can already play you will find that some aspects come easily whereas other areas will feel like you are beginning again. For me tone quality was a big area that I needed to work on so I played lots of long notes and slow melodies. The Arban is a good pace to start as recommended above.

    Your rate of progress is something that is difficult to answer. For me It took me about 2 months before I felt my playing was good enough to join a band and about 6 months to feel as if I'd reached a similar standard to most of the other band members.
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  6. AndrewL

    AndrewL New Friend

    Jan 14, 2011
    Yes that's the one.
  7. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    - After a few years playing trumpet my community band needed a Euphonium player so I did that for a couple of years during which time I greatly reduced my trumpet playing time. When I returned to trumpet full time the issues I faced were mainly mental but partly physical; getting used to the smaller mouthpiece again and thinking about my tone, and using much less air compared to the Euph.
    - Recommended practice: essentially the same as the good recommendations you can find on TM, or from your teacher. Pay attention to lip slurs which are probably a bit different coming from trombone. And gaining dexterity with the keys.
    - Advice for a horn: Search through TM! Or if you see a curiously over-priced silver Bach Stradivarius 43G from Australia just bag it! I personally play an Olds Recording and a Shires Severinsen Destino III both of which are great, but you will find there are many many other good horns and you should really try them yourself.
    - I can't say for sure, not knowing how good you already are on Trombone -- but I would think you'd have the trumpet tone quality down, with possibly some work needed on fast fingering...

    Good luck!


    P.S. Thanks to Kingtrumpet for reminding me: You will also have to get used to reading treble clef, being aware that the Bb trumpet plays a whole tone lower than what you read (i.e. notes are written one whole tone higher than what they sound like on trumpet), unlike trombone bass-clef parts which are written as they sound. In practice this shouldn't be a problem except when you're trying to play along with a flute part, or transcribing something from a trombone score to the treble clef.
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  8. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    I took up trumpet when I was 18, having played trombone from age 10. One advantage I had was having played baritone and tuba in high school, so I was familiar with valves.

    Until you develop a decent trumpet embouchure, I wouldn't expect problems *switching* between horns. Trumpet will feel alien; the mouthpiece will feel tiny. Switching back to trombone will feel like coming home. As you start to develop a trumpet embouchure, the trombone mouthpiece may feel quite large after playing trumpet for a while while the trumpet mouthpiece will probably feel small after playing trombone. Trumpet also requires a lot less air than trombone, so the trumpet will probably feel stuffy, and trombone might feel quite free-blowing after playing trumpet for a while. You'll need to develop the mental knack of "shifting gears" between the two horns.

    IF you have a very good high range on trombone, and IF you don't plan on seriously pursuing trumpet, you might consider this:

    Chasons music, Innovative products for the working musician, OcToBrass, Hybrid Mouthpiece, APM - Hybrid Crossover Mouthpieces

    Here's a video of it in use:

    Chasons music, Innovative products for the working musician, OcToBrass, Hybrid Mouthpiece, APM - Hybrid Crossover Mouthpiece Page

    I don't think it produces a true trumpet sound, but it's close, and as long as you can at least squeak a high F reliably on trombone, it would probably be your fastest route to covering not-too-high trumpet parts.

    I never knew of such mouthpieces when I was starting to double, and I'm positive it's for the best. Al Cass was still making mouthpieces back then, but I never knew of his doubler's pieces until years after his death. I'm sure I would have bought one of his doubler's mouthpieces the moment I heard of it, and I probably thereafter would never have made the effort to figure out how to play a regular trumpet mouthpiece. As it was, I started on the largest trumpet mouthpiece I could get my hands on -- a Schilke 24. It was large enough that it didn't feel like I was trying to buzz into a straw, but with my undeveloped embouchure my tone quality was a lot like that video clip of the Chasons hybrid mouthpiece -- not very trumpet-like. As soon as the Schilke 24 was comfortable (which took years, for me) I switched to a Bach 1, which enabled me to almost sound like a trumpet player. From there I downsized to a Bach 1C (and sounded like a trumpet player!), then a Bach 2.5C, then a Bach 3C, and now Reeves 43 rims. This progression lasted over about 15 years, and I left out various other mouthpiece brands to concentrate on the basic progression of rim diameters.

    The Arban book is a solid choice. You'll probably be bored to tears with the rhythmic exercises (since you already know how to play rhythms), but the scale and interval studies will work your fingers and be a good introduction to treble clef. Once you get the fingerings down mix in some of the simple songs from the "Art of Phrasing" section of the book, so you don't get sick of playing nothing but exercises.

    Pretty much any Bb trumpet can be used for jazz -- there isn't the small-bore-for-jazz, large-bore-for-classical type of division like there tends to be with trombones. Asking for mid-range horn recommendations around here typically results in everybody dumping on the concept of "intermediate" trumpets, suggesting buying a used pro horn instead, and then recommending whatever they play themselves. Truth is, a decent student trumpet should serve you well for quite a few years.

    I think it'll come down to how quickly your chops come around. I only fooled around casually on trumpet when I first picked it up, and it was four years before I felt competent enough, chop-wise, to join the third cornets in a community band. But I've certainly heard of low-brass players who developed trumpet chops a lot quicker than I did, so don't get discouraged by my example. And I'm sure I could have developed faster, if I'd done more than just sit in a practice room and noodle by ear.
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    I don't know if I am the expert on this subject. I have done the reverse of TyphoidJerry --- going from trumpet -- and then picking up the trombone in January. The trumpet was on a comeback of 3 and a half years -- which is sufficient enough for community band, and perhaps good enough for another local "big band/Jazz band" -- we will see. NOW the trombone -- the only thing I can say is -- switch slowly -- trumpet for 10 minutes a day for a few weeks, at the end of your regular trombone practice --- then over the next few months --- work it in -- SWITCHING in the middle of practice (I assume you want to eventually play both).
    OK -- 5 months of the trombone, the Bass clef is a bit sketchy on what note is what (uhhm the reverse should be true -- G Cleff, and the fingerings on trumpet will probably be the hardest part.---- For now, I write the slide position over the note ----------WHERE am I at?? in 2 weeks we have a parade --- I think after 5 months with the trombone, I am "almost" competent enough to play the parade marches (Thunderer, Minute March, etc.) ---- I am going to give it a go, and if worse comes to worse --- I can always wip out the trumpet and play that (2 instruments are better than NONE) -- ROFL ROFL ROFL
    bumblebee likes this.

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