Trombone for Beginners - Lesson 1

Trombone for Beginners - Lesson 1


This is the first in a series of tutorials designed by author for use by his students learning to play trombone.

This segment will supply the student with a definition and short explanation on what a trombone is. After viewing the video the student will be able to:

  • identify the three main parts of a trombone
  • properly assemble/disassemble the trombone
  • demonstrate correct posture while properly holding trombone
  • produce a sustained note

Ready to move on? Great!!! You now know how to assemble the trombone and produce a tone.

You have laid your foundation. Let's build on it.

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Be Courageous

Playing an instrument for the first time can be a bit intimidating for many people. With the trombone the task seems even more daunting. "What?!!! You actually want me to buzz (vibrate) my lips to produce sound while blowing through a long twisted tube that has one part that moves back and forth lacking any clear markings, to make music?" At least with the trumpet or clarinet you have specific fingerings or valve combinations.

Don't worry. In due time you will be able to "know where to put the slide" as easily as you can touch your nose with your finger without looking.

Source: Teacher

What is a trombone?

The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. The sound is produced when the player vibrates his/her lips while blowing an air stream into the horn. Most trombones have a slide that changes the distance that the vibrations must travel and therefore changes the pitch. Special variants like the bass trombone that has extra tubing and a trigger, and the valve trombone which has three valves like those on the trumpet.

Source: Teacher


The trombone has three main parts for specific purposes

  • the mouthpiece - transfers the vibration of the lips along with air stream being blown into the horn
  • the slide (actually two parts - the inner and outer slide) - changes the pitch of the tone
  • the bell (includes the tuning slide) - projects the sound

Source: Teacher


This video gives a demonstration of how to remove the parts of the trombone from the case and assemble it. As reminded in the video, be sure that you do not twist the mouthpiece into the horn too tightly. Simply reverse these steps to disassemble and store the instrument. Additionally, always clear excess moisture from inside the instrument before storing it in the case.

Source: Weston Sprott on Youtube

Posture and Holding the Trombone

Remember - If you have poor posture or hold the trombone incorrectly, it will have an effect on your playing. For example, if you slump in your chair and keep your arms tucked by your side, your breathing will be also be incorrect.

Here are the technical steps to holding the trombone:

  1. Place your left thumb around the bell brace, and your index finger on top of the mouthpiece receiver. Gently wrap your other fingers around the first slide brace.
  2. Place your right thumb and first two fingers on the second slide brace.
  3. Support the trombone with your left hand while loosely holding with the right hand to move the slide.

Source: Teacher

Source: Weston Sprott on youtube

Embouchure (lip position)

Demonstration of proper lip position for playing the trombone. This is known as your embouchure.

Source: Weston Sprott on Youtube

Producing a Sustained Tone

The time has finally come...

                    Time to play a note

To do this you must be able to make your lips buzz while blowing an air stream.

                DID YOU KNOW ????????

                     Although we generally say that the trombone is part of the "brass" family, the true name is the 

                     "brasswind" family because it requires an air stream as a part of producing sound.

First, buzz your lips using the proper embouchure (lip position) for playing.

Next, using the proper posture and holding, place trombone mouthpiece to lips and


You did it!!! The first note is the hardest one you'll ever play. Congratulations, you are on your way.

Source: Teacher