Are Trumpets Hard to Learn?

Written by: Ian Moore

Trumpets are not an easy instrument to learn initially and are one of the difficult instruments to learn, but with lots of time and practice, they can be mastered. For beginners, trumpets might not seem intimidating at first. But the story is quite different once they start to play it for extended periods of time. They realize just how hard learning to play the trumpet is. The main reason is that the trumpet requires you to use a muscle you do not regularly use for a long time.

It requires an immense amount of daily practice so you can build up the lung power required to play the instrument properly. Always remember that there is no shortcut. Only constant vigilance and practice will get you results.

Keep in mind that you may not love the trumpet once you start; you may do better with another wind instrument. This is why we highly recommend that you rent it before investing the money in a new one. Borrowing or renting helps you evaluate whether you can sustain a tone with the instrument or not. You can also look into buying one of the best beginner trumpets available to help you get started before investing in a more expensive one.

Forget about playing songs; it might be hard for you to even play certain tones and a range of notes. Unlike violins and pianos, it requires your body to perform uniquely. It may take up to a year before you can play an octave on the trumpet.

Why Are Trumpets Hard to Learn?

Why exactly is the trumpet so hard to learn? Here are our top reasons why:

No Constant Practice

When you play the piano or violin, you can try grinding and constantly training for 6 hours straight. This might tire you out but will not affect your health. With the trumpet, constantly training for a long time can do you more harm than good.

Firstly, it might be impossible for you to practice for a long time for consecutive days of practice. Your stamina can only be built up with due time. If you try, your lung muscles might protest angrily against this. In fact, you can even end up pulling a muscle or causing too much tension.

If this happens, you could end up losing days of practice — just because of a few more hours of “pushing through.” Remember to rest as much as you play.

Hard to Learn from Tutorials

You can almost always take online classes or learn from thousands of video clips on YouTube with other musical instruments, but trumpets require you to take proper lessons and learn practice pieces. A piano tutorial video might explain what keys to press and how much pressure you need to exert. A guitar tutorial video clip may explain to you the mechanics of the string instrument. But only a professional trumpet player can help you learn the right lip movements and watch your breathing. A teacher can catch you if you’re exerting too much or too little air.

Extremely Loud

If you’re playing in a band, the trumpets are more likely to blast over every other instrument. Most composers might ask you to play an octave lower than other instruments. This can result in you having to hold back and control your breath. Needless to say, controlling your breath and volume is much harder than just letting it all out.

Also, the trumpet is so loud that everyone can hear all the mistakes you make or hit a wrong note. Nobody would even notice if the guy on the tambourine messed up.

A Lot of Factors Manipulate the Melody

Unlike the piano, where the keys and the pressure applied determine the tunes, the trumpet actually involves many different aspects. Firstly, three buttons give rise to several finger combinations. Next, the lip vibrations, the shape of your mouth, lip tension, and airspeed, etc., all contribute to the tones you play out of a trumpet.

Difficult to Tune

For those starting, tuning the trumpet can be a whole other mountain to conquer. You need to ensure that the trumpet doesn’t sound too flat or too sharp. Of course, modern tools such as electronic tuners have made it easier for players.

Tips for Learning the Trumpet


Learning the trumpet might be intimidating for beginners, especially if they have started very late. Not to worry! These few tips can help you and make your life easier.

Practice Without the Instrument

It might sound strange, but playing the trumpet right off the bat is a bad idea. Instead, you can try starting with lip exercises. This way, you can build up your strong lip muscles by humming sounds and locking the lips in certain positions. Next, you can try blowing and humming at the same time. This is a fun way to start.

Practice with the Instrument

Next, try performing the same techniques through the trumpet. Refrain from using the valves at this point. Simply learn to make the proper sounds by blowing on the mouthpiece. You can try hitting notes by changes in your embouchure.

After you’ve practiced hitting different notes with the embouchure, you can try changing the notes through the valves. Try out different combinations of both to hit the perfect notes.


Take breathing exercises to learn how to inhale and blow air in tune with the music. Also, find out which posture works best for you. The best posture, according to experts, is standing up because it allows you to inhale more air.

Wet Lips or Dry Lips

A common debate amongst players is regarding playing with dry lips or wet lips. Both sides have their own pros and cons. Dry lips won’t slip off the mouthpiece, whereas wet lips slip more easily and allow for freer movement. In the end, it’s all a matter of your preference.

Parting Notes

All in all, trumpets might be a bit harder to learn, especially if you’re starting late. But that’s not to say that constant vigilance and practice over the years can make you a true master. Warming up and practicing daily while taking frequent rests is absolutely crucial. With some hard work, you can go from being a beginner to playing one of the more difficult and top professional trumpets on the market and continue to improve your skills. Are you up for the challenge?

Written By:
Having been a musician for over 20 years and teaching for over 10, Ian plays the trumpet, trombone, and tuba. His other hobbies include skiing and woodworking.

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