Learning how to play trombone is a great activity for students of all skill levels. Part of the brass family of instruments, the trombone is used in a wide variety of music including classical orchestral pieces, wind bands, military bands, brass bands, jazz, swing, and salsa among others. Therefore students have many different options when it comes to repertoire they can explore with a Musika teacher!
The trombone is played by blowing air into the mouthpiece through closed lips. This causes a buzzing sensation for the player and sends vibrations through the instrument to create a low, brassy sound. The instrument also features a slide that the player moves in and out to create individual notes. The most common trombones are the tenor and bass, both pitched in Bb, but several other sizes exist, including the alto and soprano trombone.
The modern trombone developed from an instrument called the sackbut which was popular in the Baroque and Renaissance eras. The sackbut was also a brass instrument with a slide, but it was slightly smaller with a less flared bell and it lacked the water key, sliding lock, and tuning slide on the bell curve that modern trombones possess. The sackbut had a softer sound than the modern instrument and a wide variety of music was written for it. As the centuries progressed, the trombone morphed gradually into the instrument we are familiar with today and it was used in new ways. During the French Revolution (1791) it became an important feature in the wind band and it was first used in a symphony in 1807 by Joachim Nicolas Eggert, followed closely in 1808 by Beethoven. To read more about the history of the trombone, check out this summary here.
Due to the large amount of lung capacity and lip strength it takes to play the instrument, we do not recommend that students begin to learn how to play trombone any earlier than age nine or ten. Students must also have long enough arms to operate the slide comfortably. It can be possible for younger children to begin to learn to play trombone if they are physically advanced for their age, but it can be frustrating for younger children if they have difficulty blowing into the instrument which may discourage them from continuing when they are old enough to play. Older students can always start lessons as it is never too late to learn a new skill!
Trombones can be purchased or even rented at a reasonable price from local music stores or online instrument catalogs. This guide offers some pointers on what to look for in a used trombone which is a great option for students. Used instruments are fairly easy to come by, however when purchasing a used trombone t is best to buy a new mouthpiece for the student. Your Musika teacher can also help decide what the best route for you is based on what you would like to accomplish.
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