Music students taking Trombone Lessons can significantly benefit from the knowledge and experience our Fundamental Music Instruction teachers have to offer. Did you know the music instructors at Fundamental Music Instruction have over 200 years of experience? Throughout these years of training, our instructors learned many valuable lessons to share with our music students. Read more about each of our FMI instructors and their musical journeys HERE. Fundamental Music Instruction offers a positive and unique learning environment for kids and adults interested in playing an instrument in any of our music classes.
Fundamental Music Instruction Shares Advice for Starting Trombone Lessons
Ed Kelly, the Director of Bands for Fundamental Music Instruction, has over 40 years of music education and plays several instruments. Mr. Kelly shares his knowledge on the trombone instrument and offers useful advice for beginning trombonists. If you taking trombone lessons or want to start learning, please begin by reading the advice below – you can also look at our Lesson Book “First Songs for Band” and the instructional videos to supplement your studies
Take Your Time
Set reasonable expectations. It’s only fun if you can make a good sound and play pieces you enjoy. While music comes naturally to some, you can’t expect your child to become a master overnight. There are a few things to keep in mind throughout the process of taking trombone lessons. From proper assembly to producing a sound to posture and buzzing, taking your time will help you along the way.
Look Mom, No Hands…
Believe it or not, one of the most important techniques for playing the trombone (or any brass instrument) happens before the instrument comes out of its case. This is because the way any brass instrument gets a sound is by “Buzzing” your lips. The better control of this Buzz, the better sound you will make.
The first step in the process of playing is learning to “Buzz.” To do this, start by putting your lips in the position you use to say M or Mmm – slightly pulling the corners of your mouth back, making them thin and closed across the teeth. Make sure the teeth are slightly apart so that the air can get through. Your mouth muscles may get a bit tired after a while because you are using muscles you are not used to. To produce a Buzz sound, hold this shape and blow air from the back of your lips and through the closed front of the lips. Usually, this isn’t difficult to start learning as long as you don’t squeeze your lips closed but rather stretch them across the teeth.
A true key to success in your trombone lessons is producing this sound without trouble. Once you can do this, it’s time to try making the sound with the mouthpiece.
1.) Buzz Buzz Buzz! (With and without mouthpiece)
2.) Listen to the buzz on the mouthpiece to figure out if you are buzzing fast or slow — high or low!
The biggest problem to avoid is “Puffing the Cheeks,” otherwise known as “Chipmunk Cheeks.” Keeping the corners of the mouth pulled back will make it nearly impossible to Puff, so if you have “Chipmunk Cheeks,” it is likely the corners of your mouth are not set correctly. Likewise, if the sound is similar to the sound you might get playing in a plastic bubble, the lips are probably squeezed shut and not letting air get through.
Proper Trombone Assembly
There is very little to assemble on a trombone. Place the mouthpiece into the lead pipe, near the 1st brace, with a gentle twisting motion. Do not hit or pop the mouthpiece into place. Popping the mouthpiece can cause a vacuum and get the mouthpiece stuck. If this happens, please don’t struggle to get it out – the best way is to bring it to a music store that should have a special clamp to un-pop the vacuum. Twisting too hard will snap the braces on the instrument and cause more problems. When attaching the slide to the bell section, make sure you don’t move the bell section too close to the slide. You need room for your hand to move and to prevent the bell from hitting the slide, which can result in a dent. Always leave the slide locked when you put your horn down or in your case.
Breathing & Posture
Practicing proper breathing and posture is crucial to playing the trombone properly; learn the proper breathing process below-
1. Breath in for two beats (or 2 seconds) through the mouth.
2. Hold your breath for four beats (or 4 seconds) without locking up the throat.
3. Breath out evenly for four beats.
4. Repeat the process for a few minutes.
As far as posture, standing or sitting are both acceptable. If choosing to stand, make sure you are standing up straight and aren’t using a wall or chair for support. If deciding to sit, keep your feet flat on the floor and sit at the edge of your chair, sitting tall.
Set a Practice Schedule
This tip is essential for all musicians to keep in mind. If you’re learning a new instrument, sticking to a consistent practice routine usually produces the best results. Start with 5-10 minutes sessions to start. Consistent practice is better than “cramming” just before a lesson. Having a goal in mind is best, so practicing is focused. An example of a beginner is playing long steady tones. Listen to the tone quality and judge for yourself whether this is a pleasing, conversational tone or would it send the listener running from the room : ) After working on tone, practice at least one song or line from the lesson book, keeping a steady beat.
Start to Play a Unique Instrument Music Lessons offered by FMI
Fundamental Music Instruction is for everyone! We believe without music, our minds would be quiet. We are excited to offer music lessons at select schools or online. These lessons are for everyone, not only children but adults too. Please find out how our music lessons are making students and parents happy HERE. No matter how old you are, playing music has tremendous benefits. Schedule your complimentary music lesson HERE, and learn how beneficial music lessons can be for you or your loved one.
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