Types of Trumpets
Did you know that band directors can often tell which students will drop out of band by looking at the quality and condition of the instruments that they're using? Why is that?
It's because an instrument that is difficult to play or won't perform properly is a huge discouragement to beginning musicians. Like anyone learning a new skill, a beginner can find it challenging to make the first sounds. The instrument used during the first few months of study is critical in determining the success or failure of a young musician.
Beginners are learning the basics of making the notes, so beginner trumpets typically don't have the features to produce a high-quality tone. Beginner instruments are designed for early use and gratification for the student.
Qualities of a beginner trumpet:
- Doesn't require an excessive amount of air
- Plays in tune with the other instruments in the band
- Can be repaired and adjusted easily
Features & Benefits
- smaller bore - easier for beginners to learn on
- honed valves - decreases air leakage
- nickel silver solder at stress points - stronger and more durable
- clear lacquer finish - easier cleaning
Step Up Trumpets
By the end of the first year of musical study, a student is already outgrowing their beginner instrument both physically and musically. A musician's instrument should grow with them. This means it's time to step up to a more advanced, higher-quality instrument that will complement their developing music skills.
Advantages of step-up instruments:
- A larger and fuller sound
- Clearer, more pleasant tone
- Quicker response time
- More powerful resonation
- Better dynamic expression and control
You may be wondering, "How advanced of an instrument is needed at this stage of musical study?" Step-up trumpets are available in three levels: intermediate, performer, and top-line.
Most intermediate trumpets are slightly larger bore size, allowing bigger, and fuller sound production. They are usually finished in real silver for a slightly darker tone and more attractive appearance. Valves and slides are fitted to closer tolerances, minimizing leakage of air that causes a player to work harder. Mouthpieces tend to be slightly larger and more open, and features like slide rings and triggers allow intonation adjustments. Intermediate trumpets are popular with junior high and high school band students.
Performer trumpets are made by hand, especially in the hand-hammering of bells, special annealing of the brass, and hand lapping and fitting of the valves. The design and production processes focus on creating a trumpet that reproduces vibrations freely and faithfully. Bore sizes are typically medium-large and the finish is silver, although some performer trumpets are available in lacquered brass finishes as well. Performer trumpets offer some big advantages in tone over intermediate trumpets and are designed for use by students, both high school and college, who take their music seriously.
Top-line trumpets incorporate all of the manufacturer's best features and processes to create an ultimate trumpet. They are used by professionals, studio musicians, and symphony players, as well as some amateurs for whom trumpet is a serious avocation.
With routine care, step-up trumpets can be expected to last a lifetime — there is rarely a need to replace a step-up trumpet, even after completing school.
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