How young is too young?

Here I will answer some common questions about when to begin activities with a brass instrument. I will update this post as more common questions come up.

When can my child start playing a brass instrument? (usually trumpet)

  • Whenever they have front teeth! I know it sounds funny but you cannot play a brass instrument effectively if you are missing one of your front teeth.
  • Most parent wait until the child has their adult front teeth which roughly corresponds to when brass instruments are offered in schools (about 4th grade age 9/10 years). This prevents students from having to take a break from trumpet when their teeth fall out. Additionally, their attention span is strong enough at that point that practice sessions can be highly productive and the student will progress faster and more consistently than if they began playing at younger ages.
  • That being said, I have had students as young as 5 who had an interest in the trumpet and were very successful.

When should my child start private lessons?

  • Private lessons are beneficial at any stage. However, setting up your ability to play is very important so I recommend at least 3 months of lessons at the very beginning of learning to play a brass instrument.
  • If your student is not in school music weekly private lessons are important to keep your student improving consistently and if you want to be a strong player private lessons will accelerate your learning with instrument specific and player specific knowledge.
  • Private lessons are imperative to continue to improve quickly on the instrument. If you find your progress slowing, you are unsure of what to practice to fix something, you can’t do a specific skill, or you can’t figure out what to do next find a qualified private teacher!
  • I have had students as young as 5 in private lessons and as old as 74! There is never a bad age. However, lessons are most effective when a student can focus on a task for 30 minutes or more. I have found that around age 8 students begin to have consistently highly productive lessons

When does my child need their own instrument? (Vs using the schools or renting)

  • I encourage parents to purchase students their own horn when the student has decided that an instrument will be a long term activity.
  • Purchasing a very inexpensive instrument can also be worthwhile if your student is young and the instrument total cost is below a few months of a rental cost. However, these instruments are low quality and the student will outgrow them quickly (6months – 1year of playing depending on progress and student age) so expect to replace this instrument quickly unless your student is very young. Inexpensive instruments are also harder to play due to poor construction and can hold your student back from improving.
  • Buying guide for trumpet blog post coming soon! Will be linked here.

Have any additional questions you think would go well on this list? Let me know in the comments and I will answer them!