Basics

I know you are excited to start with your trombone, but let’s get a few things in place before you pick up your instrument.

Posture and Breathing

In order to play properly you first have to sit up straight.  This allows you to breathe deeply and support the sound of your instrument as breath controls all of the sounds you will be making on your trombone.

One way to do this is to stand up, bend at the waist with your arms hanging loosely to the floor.  Now slowly roll up, aligning your spine so it is straight up and down all the way to your head with your arms at your side.  Think of a string pulling straight up from the top of your head stretching your body out.  Shrug your shoulders up and down, then back and forward.  Your shoulders should sit in a relaxed position at rest between each of these places.  Now, sit on the front edge of your chair and do the same thing.  This puts you in the proper position to support your sound by breathing deeply.

Posture Examples

Embouchure and Buzzing

Embouchure is basically, your lips.  The trombone relies on the vibration of the lips to produce the sound.  These videos give you some starters for playing your instrument.

Trumpet embouchure – YouTube.

Tips for Getting your First Trombone Buzz – YouTube.

Holding the Trombone

Now that you have basic breathing and embouchure, let’s make sure you can hold your instrument properly.  Watch the videos at the bottom for clearer examples if you need to.

Left Hand

Form the letter “L” with your left hand.  Rest your thumb over the top of your trombone’s trigger, if it has one.  If not, simply wrap the thumb around the bottom brace on the bell portion.  Rest your pointer finger around the curve of the mouthpiece.

Trombone Left Hand

Right Hand

Use two finger and your thumb to grip the slide bar at the bottom.

Trombone Hand Positions

Holding the Trombone

Sitting with good posture, bring the instrument to your face, not the other way around.  Rest the trombone’s bell section seated on your shoulder.  Check to make sure that your slide is parallel to the floor or slightly angled down and ensure that your head is held up straight.  Again, bring the instrument to you, not the other way around.  Elbows should be held out slightly away from your body.

Trombone Player

Trombone – Posture and playing position – YouTube.

Trombone – Proper hand position – YouTube.

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