The Trumpet Student Basics
The Trumpet: Of course, it makes sense that the most important item in a trumpet student’s arsenal of gear is the trumpet itself! There’s a wide array of options to choose from, and if you are not an experienced musician or music educator yourself, it can certainly be daunting to choose. One option, particularly for the first year as a trumpet student, is to rent a trumpet. Generally, your child’s school band program will offer a rental program as an alternative to purchasing an instrument. Rental options vary, but in general, you can expect to pay between $130 and $300 (or more depending on your location) per school year to rent an instrument, or perhaps monthly at $20 to $40+ per month. When you consider this expense, and weigh it against the likelihood of your child playing for more than one year (you know you kid better than anyone – so you may have a sense of whether this will be a fleeting endeavor or a more long-term pursuit…and remember: your encouragement factors into the outcome here in a major way!), you may decide that it makes more sense to purchase a student trumpet rather than starting off with a rental.
But please…buyers beware! Don’t fall for the allure of a remarkably low-priced trumpet…and there are many! The internet is loaded with them, and so are many retail stores, like department stores and wholesale clubs. The brands we recommend for student trumpets are Yamaha, Bach, and LJ Hutchen. LJ Hutchen trumpets are particularly ideal if you are shopping on a budget, as they are both reliable and affordable. Bach and Yamaha are historically exceptional brands that are leaders in the wind instrument industry, and can absolutely deliver great performance and reliability for student trumpet players. When in doubt, talk to your child’s band director or private teacher. You can also contact Paul Effman Music Store for advice.
Music Stands: Ideally, I would recommend getting two stands – a very portable folding stand, and a sturdier music stand for home practice sessions. If you are on a tight budget, certainly it would be acceptable to skip the sturdy stand for now, and opt to use the folding stand at home. The reason that I recommend a sturdy stand for home use is because it can hold more music and supplies than a folding stand can – many students opt to have a few pencils, their band lesson assignment pad, a metronome/tuner, and sometimes a mirror on their music stand during at-home practice sessions (if you’re wondering about the mirror – this is a great practice helper for students who are trying to achieve the proper embouchure when they are starting out – it helps for trumpet students, in particular, to be able to see that they are not overly puffing their cheeks out when they play and that they have their mouthpiece centered properly on their lips).
A folding stand is a must-have for any student musician. These can be easily transported for in a carrying case (you can buy them as a set, stand and case). Take a look at some of Paul Effman Music Store’s music stands by clicking HERE! You can even opt to up the excitement level by allowing your child to pick out a colored stand, as the prices are only very marginally, if at all, higher for the colors than the traditional black or nickel models.
Metronome and Tuner: You can either purchase two separate items, or purchase a combo metronome and tuner. Generally, the combo is my preference for students. Why are these items on my list of “basics” instead of with the “fun stuff”? Believe it or not, most band directors will agree that these items are not frills; they are essential tools to getting started on any instrument, and they will be essential tools as long as your child plays an instrument. The metronome, in case you are unfamiliar, helps students to maintain the proper tempo (speed) by providing them with an audible beep or tick for the beat (the speed is adjustable). The tuner allows students to make sure their instrument is sounding at the correct pitch…very important! Click HERE to check out some metronomes and tuners available from Paul Effman Music Store!
Maintenance Kit & Valve Oil: Instruments aren’t like cats – they don’t clean themselves! In order to keep your child’s instrument in good working order, maintenance is imperative. Yamaha and Paul Effman Music Store both make great kits that will cover all of your bases. Take a look at the following article for more on using your trumpet’s maintenance kit: CLICK HERE TO READ. As for valve oil, I recommend a synthetic variety, such as Yamaha’s Superior Valve Oil…I have been using this variety for years, after having tried many others, and it is my favorite by far. I recommend it to all my trumpet students. You would be surprised how much of a difference it will make to use a good, synthetic oil versus a cheap oil – and a bottle of valve oil can literally last for years, so it’s worth paying a few extra bucks for the good stuff (after all, even the good stuff is very affordable). If you buy the Yamaha Maintenance Kit, the synthetic valve oil will actually be included, so you don’t need to buy it separately until it runs out. No sound coming out of your trumpet after oiling trumpet valves? Check out this helpful guide: CLICK HERE TO READ.
Some Fun Stuff for Trumpet Students
Case: Of course your trumpet, whether rented or purchased, will come in a trumpet case. And generally, especially if you have purchased the trumpet, the case will be very protective and sturdy – and it is perfectly fine to use this case. That being said, it is fun to have options! And there are lots of them…from different colors and patterns, to increased storage space—you can really find a wide variety of styles to choose from. My one major caution here is to avoid any case that doesn’t provide protection to the instrument – there are some cases that are just basically bags…and that might be okay for adult players (although I still wouldn’t want to risk it), but for student trumpet players, protecting the instrument from damage should be priority number one. Take a look at some of Paul Effman Music Stores’s trumpet case options here.
Trumpet Stand: Not to be confused with a music stand, a trumpet stand is designed to actually hold the trumpet itself. Now, of course…this is not essential, because trumpet students also have hands that can do that, BUT a trumpet stand is a great “fun stuff” item because kids enjoy having them, and also because they are helpful in some practical ways. When students are writing something down in their music, for instance, they generally have their trumpet lying across their lap…and you can imagine that this often leads to the trumpet slipping off of their lap and falling to the ground, which can result in minor to major damage and denting. A trumpet stand is preferable to a table when it comes to putting the trumpet down as well, because sometimes students make the mistake of resting the trumpet on its lead pipe side (the side that does not have the tubing that ends as the instrument’s bell). The lead pipe is delicate and can be bent slightly when the trumpet is left resting upon it, a problem which can be eliminated by the use of a trumpet stand (when using a trumpet stand, the trumpet’s bell is placed onto the stand, so it doesn’t lean on either side, which is ideal). My favorite stand pick for students are the types that can fold up to actually be stored inside the trumpet bell…helpful because they don’t require any additional storage space – the stand legs come off, fit inside the stand, and then the stand slides right inside the bell.