Trombone is the hardest brass to learn? [Reply information]

Trombone is a musical instrument with long roots used in choirs or symphony orchestras to create many pieces of music with a majestic or gentle sound. Are you aspiring to join your school’s marching band, or what’s more exciting? You are curious that the trombone is the hardest brass to learn. We will provide basic trombone knowledge to help you understand this instrument correctly and make the best decision.


Is the trombone the hardest brass to learn?


YES. Besides other modern trumpets that many people know, the Trombone is also a very special instrument with a completely different sound. It is one of the most difficult brass instruments to learn.

  • Trombone looks quite similar to Trumpet but usually has a lower sound and frequency. In each orchestra, there are usually 1 or 2 trombones.
  • For low frequencies, Trombone is suitable for lyrical, gentle and mellow solo songs. In particular, they possess outstanding features, completely unlike other musical instruments, so they are very popular and used in Jazz music.
  • As for the higher sounds, the stronger they are. The trombone can play epic melodies alone. Therefore, they play an important role in harmonizing melodies or pressing rhythms in climax stages. In the low tones, Trombone is often used as a background sound.
  • The trombone can be joined with other brass instruments to help emphasize the rhythm, adding drama to the piece.

Actually, trombone is the hardest brass to learn. Why?

Why is the Trombone the hardest brass instrument to learn?


Every brass instrument has its own set of challenges, which most trombone players find difficult to learn. Why is the Trombone the hardest brass instrument to learn? As a trombone beginner, here are all the challenges you will face:

#1. The trombone has no valves

The invention of the slide really revolutionized brass instruments as it allowed more than halftones to be played. In other words, the trombone is the basis for all modern brass instruments. Most other trumpets have valves so that the player can quickly push with his fingertips while playing. Slightly different, you must use a slide when playing trombone. This difference makes it confusing for new players to use. The role of the slide is to change the length of the tube in the trombone:

  • The farther the slide, the longer the tube length and therefore the lower the pitch
  • The closer the slide, the shorter the pipe length and therefore the higher the pitch.
  • Now, contrary to any other wind instrument, the trombone doesn’t show any indication of where exactly you should pull or push the slide.

That’s the first reason why trombone is the hardest brass to learn

#2. Playing the trombone takes a lot of breath

Playing the Trombone takes a lot of breath, moreover, when using it, it takes a lot of time to pull the auxiliary pipe in and out. However, thanks to this, the sound of the trumpet has a low frequency, usually about a note deeper than the trumpet. This is also one of the reasons why trombone is the hardest brass to learn.

#3. It’s difficult to memorize all positions on the slide

Basically, a trombone is a metal tube that is bent into an S shape. The pressure on the column of air in this tube is what creates the unique sounds. The special slide allows the musician to expand the air column and lower the timbre. Variations in tube diameter, length, and air pressure all allow the trombone to produce a variety of sounds.

As you can see, with the slides, the trombone is a unique instrument. It makes the trombone the only brass instrument that can play glissandi, and goes from note to note gradually. Just as you need to know the exact position of your fingers on a violin, for example, you need to know exactly where all the slides are in order to move the slide on the trombone. There are 7 positions on the slide, the 7th position is the “farthest” position. And of course, it’s difficult to memorize all positions on the slide.

Don’t worry too much, you won’t have to learn everything at once. You will practice each position on the slide according to the teacher’s instructions. One of the best ways to memorize positions is to use resources like tuners.

#4. Being in Tune is hard

In the extremely low range, the trombone is quite heavy, used as a background sound. The higher you go, the brighter and stronger the trombone becomes. The mid-range is the best, soft or intense. With professional players, they have no trouble sliding the slides. But for beginners to play trombone, being in tune is hard. As you play a lot, the intonation will get better. But it takes quite a while to adjust and play correctly. 

It requires special tonguing skills

The trombone produces a smooth and gentle sound. It can also produce a high-pitched, punchy sound that’s not too intense. It can be used to keep the harmony very well for long breaks in the piece. Because it is controlled by a steam pipe, the trombone cannot be as flexible as other instruments. Therefore, it requires special tonguing skills. Now you understand why trombone is the hardest brass to learn.

#5. It is not very lightweight

Trombone is manufactured entirely from fine metal. From design, shape to material of trombone, all exude a delicate and luxurious beauty. It has excellent impact resistance, even if it is hit by sharp objects or dropped to the ground, there is no worry that the trombone will be deformed or damaged. Unfortunately, it’s not light at all. If you have a small body, you will have to try and persevere a lot to perform for a long time.

Which is harder to learn: trumpet or trombone?


What is a Trumpet? What is Trombone?

In the brass family, the trumpet is the highest-pitched instrument. The trumpet is a brass instrument whose holder has a cylindrical tube. It is played by blowing on the embouchure. There are three valves on the trumpet to change the pitch. Trumpets are often used in classical music and jazz ensembles.

The trombone is a classical instrument and is derived from the trompette or the cor. In fact, the name “trombone” means “big trumpet” (translated from Italian). The trombone is a brass instrument containing a long cylindrical metal tube with two passages and a movable slide. Trombone is used in orchestras, jazz ensembles, marching bands, brass bands.

Is the trombone harder than the trumpet? 

Trumpet and Trombone are two instruments of the brass family. Trumpet and Trombone have many similarities, however, they still have differences in size, pitch or timbre.

The main difference between trumpet and trombone is their size and the mechanism of pitch change. The trumpet is one of the smallest brass instruments and features a valve that can be pushed to change the pitch. The trombone is larger than a trumpet and has sliders that can be pushed and pulled to change the pitch.

The trombone is usually bulkier than the trumpet, so it is not as easy to play as the trumpet, especially for someone who has never played a brass instrument before. Instead of using the keyboard or keys, Trombone uses a slide to change the pitch. The player must push and pull on the slide to change the length of the tube and change the pitch.


#1. Can you play the Trombone yourself?

Nowadays, online learning is a relatively effective and economical way of learning. You can play Trombone yourself based on online tutorials. However, this is quite difficult. As part of the learning process, beginners will struggle with pitch and intonation. You need a live instructor with specific lessons if you want to play fast and sure. This can be challenging for someone on a tight budget, but it’s a good investment.

#2. Is the trombone easy to learn?

Trombone is a completely unique instrument. Many people wonder if the trombone is easy to learn? It is not easy to learn for most beginners. It will be difficult to play fast notes because it has no valves or keys. Strangely, if you like this instrument, it’s very easy to play. You just need to practice hard and methodically, you will definitely be a trombone expert.

#3. How long does it take to learn the trombone?

To get to the professional level, you’ll have to spend 10,000 hours practicing trombone. Is the number too big? Don’t be too confused, because there are many people who only take a few months to play in small or medium bands. 

Learning to play an instrument has always been a great hobby. In fact, music is one of the tools to help express and share one’s innermost thoughts and feelings. Music is always appealing in any genre or culture. However, learning an instrument is never easy, and mastering a certain instrument is even more difficult. The same goes for playing the trombone! As long as you work hard every day, you can reach the desired level.


The brass industry is often divided into different fields of activity, which are playing in academic symphony orchestras, military orchestras serving national ceremonies, jazz orchestras, big bands and light orchestras for the entertainment of music lovers. Trombone is a brass instrument that is used quite a lot today because it can create sounds with many different expressions and nuances, suitable for many genres from easy to difficult. 


Every instrument is difficult in its own way and of course no instrument is easy to learn. After our sharing, surely you understand the reason why Trombone is the hardest brass to learn, right? Once you have an overview of Trombone, are you interested and want to try playing this instrument?

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