The trumpet is one of the more difficult instruments to play, so many parents are interested in guiding their child's experience with brass instruments as early as possible. Without a strong foundation, it's harder for kids to develop musical proficiency later in their development.
Children can start playing the trumpet at around six to ten years of age, and adults of all ages can learn how to play. Children younger than six run into several challenges with the trumpet, such as lung capacity and the instrument's weight.
Kids can start playing trumpet pretty early in life, but it doesn't have to be their first exposure to musical education. Keep reading to learn more about how children and adult beginners can get a solid start learning the trumpet.
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When Should Children Start the Trumpet?
It's recommended by musicians that children start learning how to play the trumpet between six and ten years old. Here are a few reasons why trumpets aren't recommended for children younger than six:
- Weight: Brass instruments are heavy, and preschool-aged children can find them difficult to hold up for long periods. Because of their weight, trumpets are also easy to drop for small children, and this can damage them.
- Breathwork: It takes a relatively large amount of force behind your breath to effectively play the trumpet, and many children younger than six haven't developed enough strength in their lungs to get good sounds out of a trumpet.
- Difficulty: Trumpet is regarded as one of the more difficult instruments to learn how to play, and children younger than six might find the steep learning curve discouraging. This can ultimately keep them from being motivated to continue in music education as they grow older.
- Attention span: Preschool-aged children have naturally short attention spans since they are constantly distracted by the sensory world around them as they develop. This lack of attention can make it difficult to keep them focused on an in-depth music lesson for any length of time that would be beneficial for them.
Even though it isn't recommended that preschoolers play the trumpet, anyone six or above can master the instrument as long as they have the lung strength for it. And for those under the age of six, there are other musical lessons to learn that can help prepare children to take up the trouble when they get a little older.
Children's Music Lessons to Prepare for the Trumpet
Children younger than six may find it hard to learn the trumpet, but that doesn't mean that they can't be prepared in the meantime to learn how to play it. There are many foundation music lessons that children can learn to get ready to play the trouble. These are a few things that preschoolers can learn that will help them with their musical foundation later on:
- Identifying all the different classical instruments
- Identifying the different parts of the trumpet and other instruments
- Learning the different musical signs such as coda, flat, and treble clef
- Learning what pitch is and what different musical notes sound like
- Learning about different musical genres which feature the trumpet, such as classical music and jazz
- Learning the basics of reading sheet music and musical time
Musical lessons for children age five and under should focus on instilling the child with a natural love of music and some knowledge about the basics of music education that affect all musicians, no matter what instrument they ultimately play.
Children can also be exposed to basic instruments like the piano or a keyboard that are physically easier to play than trumpet until they're old enough to handle a brass instrument. There's no law that says a musician can't know how to play both piano and trumpet. The mastery of multiple musical instruments is an indicator of success in music education.
Can Preschoolers Learn the Trumpet?
It's technically possible for a child younger than six to learn the trumpet, but the chances are that the child will find it difficult to develop either the lung capacity to blow a note consistently or the mastery of embouchure (mouth shape) necessary to form different notes on the mouthpiece.
For young children, having difficulty right off the bat with an instrument may lessen their interest in pursuing music lessons and can make it harder for them to take an interest in making music later down the road. That's why many music education lessons focus on more general music education before the age of six.
Preparing a Child to Play Trumpet
Even though it's hard for preschoolers to play the trumpet, there are still many music lessons and exercises that can be incorporated into their curriculum that can help them out when they do start learning the trouble. One of the main things children can focus on is building up their lung capacity. These are a few ways that children can train their lung capacity before learning to play the trumpet:
- Bent breathing: Have the child stand upright and bend forward. While bending over, the child should exhale as much air out of their lungs as possible over a twenty-second count. When the exhale is finished, the child should sit up and inhale slowly while lifting their arms over their head. Repeat the exercise four times.
- Rib stretches: While standing upright, the child should inhale as deeply as they can and hold the breath for twenty seconds or as long as they can, then release the breath in a controlled exhale. If the child isn't able to hold their breath for twenty seconds at first, they can slowly build up their capacity over time by gradually increasing the count.
Other than keeping the child engaged with different kinds of music, the above stretches can help a preschool-aged musician prepare for the physical rigors of playing a brass instrument when they get a little bit older.
When Do Children Start Trumpet in School?
Unless parents make a special point to put their children in some kind of early music education program, most school systems don't begin to introduce musical instruments to children until around the fourth grade. This is when many students start their musical careers, but it's also where most people leave their musical aspirations too.
However, getting a child started in music at a preschool age and then starting them in lessons with the trumpet as early as six years old can give them several years of experience over other musicians when they join a band later in their school careers.
This can prepare young musicians to be the top musicians of their class, leaving them prime candidates for musical scholarships and other accolades. So even though it is hard to teach a child the trumpet at five years or younger, getting them started on the trumpet well before the third grade can give them a leg up against their peers in a competitive musical environment.
A major advantage of teaching children an instrument young other than experience is that they are able to learn an instrument when they aren't as distracted with other extracurricular activities. In elementary school, children begin having their interests pulled in other directions too, such as sports and social activities.
What Age Can You Start to Play the Trumpet? Final Thoughts
Most people aren't exposed to learning brass instruments until they're a little older, but starting children on the trumpet within a year or so of starting school can be a great way to get them involved with music from an early age. While trumpet may be one of the harder instruments to learn, getting started as early as possible puts young trumpet players ahead of the curve.