A Short History of the Trombone
When you take beginner trombone lessons, it helps to know some the history of the instrument. Here is a short explanation of it’s development. Trombones have been around for more than 600 years. The original design came from an Old English instrument called the sackbut. This word came from the French words saquer, (meaning to pull), and bouter, (meaning to push).
In Italian the word sackbut is trompone. This is were we got the word Trombone.
Like other instruments, the trombone has many sizes. These are; soprano, alto, tenor and bass. Most other wind instrument have these same size names but in band class we generally start with one of these sizes. For trombone, this is the tenor.
Today the symphony orchestra usually has two tenor and one bass trombone. The trombone is heard in every style of music today but this wasn’t always the case. Until the early 1800’s the trombone was considered a sacred sound and was not used in music outside the Church.
Fundamental music has many exceptional Trombone teachers
Read more about each of our FMI instructors and their musical journeys (FMI Teachers). 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.
First Songs for Band
The unique features of the Trombone
Trombones are unique because there are no valve or keys to press. Instead, trombones have a slide that extends or retracts to change the length of the tubing. This controls the pitch. The basic premise is, the longer the tubing, the lower the pitch. The slide has seven positions, counted in order from the 1st position (toward you) to the 7th position (fully extended). The trombonist needs to develop a good sense of pitch recognition since there are no position markers on the tubing.Trombone players learn the positions by feel. Although guitars have positions (frets) on their necks, trombones are more like violins, which do not.
Take Your Time
A common question students ask is about how many notes the instrument can play. Just because there are seven slide positions doesn’t mean that trombones can only play seven notes. A trombone can produce as many as seven sounds in each position. This means there is the potential to play 36 notes (I know 7 x7 = 49 but there will be some duplicate sounds so there really is the potential to play 36 different notes)
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. By far, this is the most useful advice for beginners taking trombone lessons that anyone can give! Buzz Buzz Buzz
Once you have some mastery over the Buzz sound, you will buzz into the mouthpiece. After this learning those 36 notes become a combination of air speed to change the pitch of your buzzing and slide control. Since each position can use up to 7 buzzing speeds, it will take some consistent practice to become adept at mastering the full range the trombone can play. To help you get started, watch this series of videos (Trombone Videos). These videos accompany the “First songs for band” book for trombone.
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In addition to beginner trombone lessons, Fundamental Music Instruction offers lessons for violin, clarinet, piano, guitar, and so much more! Learn more about the wide variety of music classes available through Fundamental Music Instruction (Trombone Lessons). Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected], call us at 908-244-4943, or Contact Us!