How to Blow Into a Trumpet

By Elizabeth Smith ; Updated September 15, 2017

Trumpets are an instrument in the brass family that consist of a mouthpiece, coiled tubing, valves and a bell. They are popular in many types of music, including concert band, orchestral, jazz and blues. Among other skills that are needed to master trumpet playing, a musician must first understand the proper way to blow into the instrument.

Form your embouchure. An embouchure is the way you set and shape your lips for use in playing the trumpet. To form a trumpet embouchure, first place your mouth as though you were saying the letter M. With your lips still closed in that position, turn the corners of your mouth up slightly. If it helps, think of making a small smile.

Practice blowing. With your mouth in the embouchure position, try to direct your air through the center of your lips. Try not to let your embouchure loosen during this process; attempt to keep the air from escaping from the sides of your mouth. To help direct your air, use a ring with the approximate width of a trumpet mouthpiece.

Learn to buzz. Once you have a strong hold on blowing air through your embouchure, start to buzz. To do so, blow your air faster and faster until your lips begin to vibrate. This is called buzzing because of the sound your lips will make. Again, practice until you can control the sound.

Move up and down the scale. When buzzing, practice making different notes with your mouth. To do so, tighten your embouchure to move up and loosen it to produce lower notes. You will find that the amount and speed of air will differ based on the notes. In general, air will move faster for higher notes and slightly slower for lower notes.

Place the mouthpiece. For best results, practice blowing through your mouthpiece before you try blowing into a trumpet. Make your embouchure and center the mouthpiece on your lips, holding it with one hand. Be careful not to push the mouthpiece into your lips with too much pressure; doing so makes it considerably harder to produce the correct buzzing sound.

Buzz into the mouthpiece. Using a comfortable amount of pressure, hold the mouthpiece to your embouchure and buzz into it. You will likely need to experiment with different pressures until you find the amount that allows you to buzz clearly. Move up and down the scale using just your mouthpiece.

Blow into the trumpet. When you are able to produce a clear sound by buzzing into the mouthpiece, attach it to the trumpet. Place your hands on the trumpet and adjust pressure. Form your embouchure and buzz into the mouthpiece. You will notice that the amount of air required to produce a sound from the trumpet may be slightly different, but the process is the same. You can make a number of pitches using an open fingering and tightening and loosening your embouchure; to produce an actual scale, you will need to learn the correct fingering patterns.

About the Author

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.