Like all other musical instruments, the road to learning how to play the trombone for the first time is not an easy one. But with patience, discipline and determination, it can be a fun and rewarding experience.
The trombone belongs in the brass family of wind musical instruments. To produce a sound from a trombone, you have to buzz your lips on the mouth piece as you blow a stream of air into the horn. If there is no buzzing then there is no sound. The trombone also features a slide which allows you to vary the pitch of the tone by altering the distance the vibrations have to travel.
Aside from the common trombones that feature only three main parts, there are those designed with some additional features. For instance, the bass trombone includes extra tubing as well as a trigger while the valve trombone features three valves.
As much as learning how to play a musical instrument is exhilarating, it’s essential that you also learn how to put it together and how to take it apart without breaking any part.
Well, there are quite a number of useful videos online that demonstrate the whole process of assembling and disassembling a trombone. The only thing required is making sure you follow and master each step by heart.
Points to note, when fixing the mouthpiece into the horn, make sure not to twist it too tightly and before you place the instrument into its case, expel excess moisture from inside its tubes.
Posture and Holding the Trombone
Poor posture will always affect your ability to play well, so it’s important that you hold the trombone correctly. Follow these steps in order to hold the trombone properly.
Your left hand will be one to support most of the weight of the trombone. So, let your left thumb rest around the brace of the bell while placing the index finger over the trombone on top of the mouthpiece receiver. The other fingers should wrap around the first slide brace.
The right hand should loosely hold the slide to allow for easy movement. So, use the first two fingers and the thumb to hold the second slide brace.
Embouchure (lip position)
Your embouchure basically refers to the correct way of positioning your lips in order to play the trombone properly. Again, there are good demonstrational videos online that can help you achieve this.
Producing a Sustained Tone
Playing a note in a trombone is mostly about buzzing your lips on the mouthpiece as you blow an air stream through it. This is a wind instrument, so the air stream is what produces the sound. Here is what you should do.
Assume the proper posture and while equally holding the trombone in the right manner, bring the mouthpiece to your lips and buzz ensuring you employ the correct embouchure for playing.
With that, you should be able to produce your first note.
Parts of the Trombone
Most trombones feature three main parts, each serving a certain purpose.
1. The Mouthpiece – the air stream plus the vibrations generated by the lips go through this part into the horn.
2. The Slide – is composed of two parts, that is, an inner slide and outer slide. Its main purpose is to change the pitch of the tone.
3. The bell – works in conjunction with the tuning slide to project the sound produced.