The tuning of the instrument is more important than one first might think. When one plays exactly in tune with the instrument, it resonates the most, and the effort to play the trumpet is diminished. In this way, it adds endurance and the sound will be better.

In order to play in tune and at the same time be in tune with the instrument, the instrument should be the best quality possible. A trumpet that we have to "lip around" all the time will be exhausting to play.

The position of the tuning slide must continuously change, allowing us to play at the instrument's pitch center.

Playing in tune with the horn

Most trumpet players tend to play too high compared to the pitch center, not allowing the instrument to resonate properly. Finding the resonant spot can easily be found by bending some tones down and up until the most resonant tone is heard. There will be much overtones at this spot, sounding a bit bright to the player.

It seems like classical players have a tendency to play under the center of the instrument, assisted by a largish mouthpiece. This is likely caused by the pursuit of a dark sound.

Mark van Cleave Maximizing practice vol.I has lots of exercises with the purpose of finding the pitch center.

Tuning to your lips

The interesting thing about tuning the instrument, is that the instruments pitch center depend on the condition of your lips. Soft lips require a high tuning of the instrument, while stiff lips require pulling the tuning slide.

As the condition of the lips change during performance, this require a continuos change of the tuning slide position. Typically, for playing lead trumpet, the lips tend to stiffen a bit during performance. If the tuning slide is not pulled out gradually, the player will have to play below the instruments pitch center, reducing endurance significantly.

Copyright (c) Rune Aleksandersen 1997 - 2002