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How to Make a Trombone Mute

Mutes provide breath control enhancement during trombone practice.

Trombone mutes can range from $18 to $250 dollars, depending upon the brand and type. Mutes are used to quiet the sound, add pitch control and contribute tonal enrichment to the music. Trombonists often make their own practice mutes out of everyday items. It's not uncommon for a clever trombonist to create a mute from a plunger cup, soda bottle or an empty air freshener container. The key to making your own trombone mute is to ensure the safety of your trombone. Use materials that won't scratch the trombone or harm your breath in any way.

Screw off the handle from a new, soft rubber plunger.

Boil water in a saucepan on the stove.

Hold the plunger with tongs. Pour boiling water over the new plunger to sterilize it. Plungers come into contact with dirt, debris and sometimes cleaning substances during shipping and handling. Set the plunger on a dish towel or inside a dish drainer to air dry.

Insert the plunger into the trombone. Place it suction-face downward when you are ready to use it as a practice mute.

Replace the plunger with a new one if it begins to show signs of wear, such as cracking, flaking or if it begins to become sticky.

About the Author

As a former elementary school teacher, Cheryl Starr now writes full-time from Missouri. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including "Teachers of Vision," "Insight" and "Highlights." She is currently writing a novel and a devotional book. Starr studied elementary education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.