Brass Basics

Here’s an overview of what you should already know about the trumpet before we dig into the other brass instruments.  We’re going to review 6 vocabulary words you should know before you watch the other videos.  Once you’ve watched this video, be sure to check out the Overtone Series and, if you’re not familiar with Bass Clef, you should read through that page as well.

Mouthpiece:  The part of the instrument that we buzz into.

Valves:  Most brass instruments (besides slide trombone) have valves.  Trumpet, Euphonium, and Tuba all have piston valves. Most student model instruments will have three valves.  If you get to use a professional model instrument that has a fourth valve, awesome!  Fourth valve is an alternate fingering for 1 and 3 (that is typically more in tune).  But if all you have is three valves, that is fine as well.

Home Base:  The lowest note you can play with open valves (or 1st position on trombone).  This will be a low C for trumpet, low Bb for the other low brass instruments.  This is not a word that most people use for referring to brass instruments, but I use it in my videos to help you understand where you are on the instrument.

Embouchure:  the position and use of the lips, tongue, and teeth in playing a wind instrument.

Partials:  The possible notes you can play with the same valve combination by firming up or loosening your embouchure.