Instrument of the Month: The Trumpet
Fun Facts about the Trumpet
- The trumpet plays the highest notes of the brass family.
- The sound of the trumpet is bright, brilliant, and exciting.
- A standard modern trumpet is a long, slender metal tube with three valves. It’s bent into a paper clip shape, but if it were stretched out, it would be 6.5 feet long.
- The trumpet is played by holding it horizontally and buzzing into the mouthpiece. When the buzz sound travels down the tube, the valves can be pressed in various combinations. This sends the air into different parts of the tube, which creates different notes.
- There are usually 2-4 trumpets in an orchestra.
- Various types of trumpets have been around for thousands of years! They have been made from conch shells, animal horns, wood, or metal.
- Early trumpets were played to send signals across distances, alerting everyone of news or calling everyone to attention.
- Trumpets were also used to announce the presence of kings and queens. For a long time, the trumpet was regarded as a “royal” instrument, not to be used for anything commonplace.
- The trumpet is very versatile and is used in all types of music ensembles—symphony orchestras, marching bands, jazz combos, Mexican mariachi bands, and many more.
About the Brass Family
All members of the brass family:
- are made of long brass tubes curled up into different shapes.
- have cup-shaped mouthpieces that are buzzed into to create sound.
- have a bell—that’s the flared end of the brass tube where the sound comes out!
Where do you find trumpets in an orchestra?
Trumpets are usually seated in the back row of the orchestra. Even though it’s at the back of the stage, the trumpet’s sound can be easily heard throughout the concert hall. There are usually 2, 3, or 4 trumpets in the orchestra. Some music may call for only one trumpet, while some “special occasion” music might call for a half-dozen or more!
Listen to the Trumpet
Here are two wonderful pieces of music that feature the trumpet. Each is a fanfare, which is a kind of music written to announce an important event or honor a special person. Trumpets, with their brilliant sounds, play a leading role in fanfares, along with the rest of the brass instruments. Click on the links below to hear two special fanfares that put the trumpet in the spotlight!
Mahler – Music from Symphony No. 5, first movement
Mahler – Music from Symphony No. 5, first movement (1:04)
A solo trumpet calls everyone to attention with a solemn fanfare. Then, the rest of the instruments join in with a great crash of sound. This is music for a very grand and serious occasion. Imagine a big event where this music could be played. Maybe it honors a special person, like a superhero or a king or queen, or announces some very important news.
After you listen, draw a picture of what you think the music is about. Play the music again while you draw! Send it to us using the button below.
Janáček – Fanfare from Sinfonietta
Janáček – Fanfare from Sinfonietta (1:54)
This fanfare uses a group of trumpets—as well as the other brass instruments and drums—to create magnificent and exciting sounds. The music was written for a big sports festival. Imagine a large arena or playing field, with lots of people seated all around and flags flying in the breeze. The big game is about to begin!
After you listen, make up a fun story about the music and write it down. Play the music as many times as you like while you create your story. Send it to us using the button below.
Click the button below to send us your story!
Connect the Dots
Be an Artist!
Color in the trumpet and add a fun background, or draw your own trumpet. You are the artist and can use whatever colors or designs you like to make it special!
Click the photo to print and draw
Click the button below to send us your art! We will add it to our online KIDS’ GALLERY,
along with these other fine examples of kids’ art:
Lesson Plan for Teachers
My News Story about the Trumpet
You are a famous news reporter who has been given an important assignment:
You have just discovered a new instrument—the trumpet! Write a report or make a short video about the trumpet, describing it to someone who has never seen or heard it before.
Click the button below to send us your report or short video!
More Music for Trumpet
Here is a wonderful piece of orchestral music in which the trumpet plays a leading role!
Mussorgsky – Promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition (1:45)
You’re in a wonderful museum, taking a nice walk and looking at all the great paintings. That’s what this music is about. It’s a promenade—a nice stroll. The trumpet at the start sets the walking pace, and soon other instruments join in. The more pictures you see on your stroll, the more magnificent the music becomes! Try walking to the trumpet’s music.