John R. Ellis

Crane School of Music



Farkas definition: "The mouth, lip, chin and cheek muscles, tensed and shaped in a precise and cooperative manner, and then blown through for the purpose of setting the air-column into vibration when these lips are placed upon the mouthpiece of a brass instrument."

Correct Embouchure position:

Mouthpiece Placement: 50/50 top and bottom lip. Center is best to start with.





Breathing is essential for tone production. The lips vibrate on a constant stream of air, like the string of a violin vibrates with the movement of the bow.




Use of the tongue, breath, and embouchure in starting, stopping, accenting and slurring of a tone on a brass instrument. Must be thought of in relation to proper embouchure and breath support and not as an entity unto itself. The tongue is used to interrupt, not stop the airstream. In order to produce as fast a tonguing stroke as possible, only the tip of the tongue should be used. The player should move the tongue in an up-and-down motion, not in and out. The tongue should remain relaxed and should return to the lower part of the mouth after the tongue stroke.


Used when a rhythmic pattern is too fast to use the same repeated syllable. Alternation between to syllables in either a duple or triple pattern. If the rhythmic pattern is grouped in twos, fours, eights and so on, the player would employ double tonguing. If the rhythms are grouped in threes, sixes, nines, and so on the player would employ triple tonguing.


Be sure that the student doesn’t force the mouthpiece into the mouthpiece reciever.

Essential for proper breath support

Get the student to use this early: D would be 1-3 with 3rd Valve slide out.

Never through bottom caps. Have the student take valve out part-way, put a few drops of oil on valve, and replace valve.

Cornet can be easier for a small player to hold. The cornet has a greater percentage of conical tubing while a trumpet has a greater percentage of cylindrical tubing.


All professional trumpet players at some time must use transposition when playing the trumpet. It is often essential for the student trumpet player to have to transpose. An example is if the player is reading from a four-part hymnal in church, or accompanying a choir, or reading a duet with a flute. The trumpet is pitched in B-flat, meaning its sounding note is a step lower than written. If you want the trumpet to play a concert pitch note you have to write that note up a whole step (i.e., concert pitch note is C, written note for trumpet would be D).



1. Rim

The rim of the mouthpiece effects comfort and flexibility. The narrower the rim the better the flexibility, but the comfort suffers. The wider the rim, the more comfortable the mouthpiece, but flexibility will suffer.

2. Cup

The cup effects tone quality. The deeper the cup, the darker the tone. The shallower the cup the brighter the tone.

3. Inner Rim Diameter

The rim diameter effects endurance and tone quality. If the diameter is too large, the player will have a difficult time with endurance. If the diameter is too small, the tone quality will suffer.

4. Throat

The throat of the mouthpiece effects endurance, range and tone quality. If it is too small it will cause tension and increased backpressure, resulting in poor tone quality and decreased range effectiveness. If it is too big it will not provide enough backpressure, resulting in a loss in endurance and range.


5. Backbore

A more cylindrical shaped backbore will aid in the upper register, while a conical backbore will help produce a bigger tone quality.

Bach Mouthpieces: Number = Rim diameter; Letter = Cup depth

largest 1 -------------14 smallest

deepest E ------------- A shallowest

Schilke: numbers and letters opposite of Bach

Recommended mouthpieces:

Bach 7C, 5C

Schilke 14, 16

Yamaha 11C4, 16C4

Choosing a Trumpet and Trumpet Equipment

There are many brands and models of trumpets and cornets from which to choose in a variety of price ranges. The B-flat trumpet is the only instrument needed through high school. Characteristics to look for in a quality beginner trumpet include:

Recommended Trumpets

Beginning trumpets:

Beginning Cornets:

Advanced Trumpets

C Trumpets

D/Eflat Trumpets

Piccolo Trumpets

Recommended Mutes

Straight Mute

Cup Mute


Cleaning and maintaining the Trumpet

The trumpet player should clean the instrument at least four times per year. It should be cleaned in a large sink or tub that is big enough to fully immerse the body of the trumpet. The following cleaning supplies are needed:

To disassemble the trumpet for cleaning, remove the tuning slide, valve slides, and bottom valve caps and soak them in warm water. Remove the three valves and set them aside on a soft towel. Place the body of the trumpet into the warm water and let it soak. Never put the entire valve assembly under water when cleaning. Dip the valves in the water far enough to cover the valve itself, making sure that the pads or felts are kept dry. Rinse with clean water and carefully dry with a soft cloth. Put the valves aside while cleaning the rest of the trumpet.

Use the flexible snake to clean each valve slide and the main tuning slide. Take care not to force the snake around the tight bend in each of the valve slides or it may become stuck. Flush the slides with clean water and dry.

Carefully run the flexible snake brush down each of the tubes and the bell of the trumpet, taking care not to scratch the inner wall of the valve casings. The leadpipe naturally collects the most debris, and extra time should be taken in cleaning it.

Wrap a piece of cheesecloth around the cleaning rod and carefully swab out each of the valve casings. Remember that the slightest dent or scratch can cause a valve to stick.

Reassemble the trumpet, starting with the valves. Be careful not to touch the valve itself; handle it by the valve stem or cap. Coat each valve with a liberal amount of valve oil and place it back in the proper valve casing, taking care to align the valve guide with the corresponding groove in the valve casing.

Grease and reassemble the slides. To do this, place a small amount of slide grease on the slide and spread it on the slide with the fingers. Depress the appropriate valve so as not to build up any undue pressure, and put the slide into the trumpet. Wipe off any excess grease.

The mouthpiece should be cleaned regularly with a mouthpiece brush.

The exterior of a lacquer trumpet needs little maintenance Wipe off gently with warm (not hot) water. For silver of nickel-plated instruments, use a nonabrasive polish to shine the finish.


The following is a selected list of recommended etude books and solos for students from elementary to high school.





Getchell, Robert W. First Book of Practical Studies for Cornet and Trumpet. Belwin-Mills

Endresen, R.M. Rubank Supplementary Studies. Rubank Inc.


Getchell, Robert W. Second Book of Practical Studies for Cornet and Trumpet. NY: Belwin-Mills

Hering, Sigmund. Forty Progressive Etudes for Trumpet. Carl Fischer

Arban, J.B. Etudes contained on pages 28-36 of Complete Conservatory Method for Cornet. Edited by Edwin Franko Goldman and Walter M. Smith. Carl Fischer

Hering, Sigmund. Thirty-two Etudes for Trumpet or Cornet. Carl Fischer


Hering, Sigmund. Twenty-Eight Melodious and Technical Etudes for Trumpet or Cornet. Carl Fischer

Pottag, Max P., ed. Preparatory Melodies to Solo Work for B-flat Cornet. Belwin, Inc.


Goldman, Edwin Franco. Practical Studies for the Trumpet. Carl Fischer

Bousquet, N. Thirty-Six Celebrated Studies for Cornet. Revised by Edwin Franko Goldman. Carl Fischer

Clarke, Herbert L. Characteristic Studies for the Cornet. New and revised edition. Carl Fischer

Arban, J.B. "Characteristic Studies" contained in Complete Conservatory Method for Cornet. Edited by Edwin Franko Goldman and Walter M. Smith. Carl Fischer

Brandt, Vassily. Etudes for Trumpet. Edited by William Vacchiano. MCA Music



Bach, J.S./L. Smith. Chorale Melody No. 19. CPP/Belwin Grade II

Handel, G.F./Buchtel Cantilena Kjos Music. Grade II


Balay, Guillaume. Petite Piece Concertante. Southern, Grade III

Fitzgerald, B. "Call" from the Modern Suite. Carl Fischer, Grade III

VanderCook, H.A. Vega. Rubank. Grade III




Balay, Guillaume. Prelude et Ballade. CCP/Belwin, Grade IV

Corelli/Fitzgerald. Sonata VIII. CPP/Belwin, Grade V

Fitzgerald, Bernard. Rondo Capriccio. Carl Fischer, Grade V

Handel, G.F. Aria Con Variazoni. CPP/Belwin, Grade V

Ropartz, J. Guy. Andante et Allegro. Cundy-Bettoney, Grade IV


Goedicke, Alexander. Concert Etude. Brass Press, Grade V

Haydn, G.F. Concerto in E-flat. Various publishers, Grade VI

Hindemith, Paul. Sonate. Schott, Grade VI

Kennan, K. Sonata. Warner Bros. Grade VI




Bach, V. Guide to Brass Mouthpieces. Selmer Publications

Bailey, Wayne. Teaching Brass, A Resource Manual. McGraw-Hill

Ellis, J.R. SoloPro Series for Trumpet. Recording. Summit Records.

Farkas, Phillip. The Art of Brass Playing. Brass Publications

Getchell, Robert. Teacher's Guide to the Brass Instruments. Selmer Publications

Hunt, Norman. Guide to Teaching Brass Instruments. Wm. C. Brown

Mathie, G. The Trumpet Players Guide. PP Publications