8 Tips To Improve Your Trombone Tone Quality (With Examples)

tone quality on trombone
Written by Corey Morgan

Here’s how to improve your tone quality on your trombone:

Tone quality can be improved by a variety of techniques, including breathing exercises, extended tones, and mouthpiece exercises. You can also reduce the likelihood of being out of tune by singing a pitch before playing.

If you play the trombone, you may find it difficult to get a good tone quality. Worry no more, you are not the only one. The lack of knowledge on how to improve tone quality on trombone is a major source of frustration for many trombone players.

This post is geared toward beginner trombone players who are looking to improve their instrument’s tone. You may have come here because your high school music teacher commented on your tone, or because you’re hearing something about the sound you make that isn’t quite right. Hopefully one or more of these recommendations will help you.

First things first, let’s clear up some misconceptions…

Assuming you’re playing on a good trombone, we’ll presume that you’re using a quality mouthpiece. In addition, let’s imagine that you can play a few notes, but they don’t sound very good.

The time it takes to create a better sound is considerable. It’s something that a lot of top-notch, long-time players devote a lot of time and effort to.

If you don’t know what “better” sounds like, it’s almost worthless to pursue a better sound. Observe several musicians whose sound you enjoy, and then strive to achieve that sound yourself.

Every time you play, warm up. If you are not currently doing so, begin. It’s all about the same thing: tone, sound, timbre, and quality.

Trombone players can improve their tone quality in a variety of methods, which we’ve included below:

This is how to get a good tone quality on your trombone

More air, relaxation, and opening the throat are three ways trombone players can improve the quality of their tone. Long tones and mouthpiece exercises should also be performed before they begin to play. Professionals can provide players with examples of superb tone, and if necessary, they can help them upgrade to a better trombone.

  1. Use More Air

You don’t have to worry about breathing when you’re going about your regular routine. An enormous amount of air is wasted by the vast majority of trombone players, especially those who are just starting out. In the end, this will result in a bad sound.

Taking deep breaths is key to gaining muscle tone. Air intake can be improved by trombone players of all skill levels.

Before each practice session, professional trombonists commonly perform these warm-up exercises.

These exercises should be done without the aid of an instrument. Stand or sit in a proper position. You won’t be able to expand your lungs properly if you hunch your back. When the time comes for you to pick up your trombone, you’ll need to maintain this posture.

  • Breathe in and out:

In some cases, a lack of air intake might result in a weak tone. The amount of air going through a Trombone isn’t as important as the amount of air behind the sound (such as while playing quietly). You can think of the air in your lungs as “jet fuel” for the sound and treat it as such.

We’re actually causing the air in our Trombones to vibrate and produce a pleasant sound. To accomplish this, our lips flap in the breeze inside the mouthpiece. Without the breeze, nothing can happen.

Many school band teachers instruct their brass players to play loudly at all times. In order to keep the throats of their brass players open, they do this It works sometimes and doesn’t other times.

Even though you’re working hard and exhaling a lot of air, your throat may still be too tight to enable free movement of air. Perhaps the strain you’re putting on your neck is causing it to tighten, making it difficult to breathe. Breathe in and out smoothly with no tightness in your throat, allowing air to flow in and out.

  • Starting from the bottom, fill in the blanks:

Is it possible that you need to work on your breathing technique on its own if it doesn’t support the sound? You can picture that when you take a deep breath, the diaphragm beneath your lungs is lowering and moving upwards into your belly, which causes your lungs to fill up from the bottom up.

There isn’t a big empty space in your abdomen so your guts are going to have to get out of the way. Because your skin is so pliable, you’ll be glad you have this ability. Try sticking out your belly to help your diaphragm and lungs expand as you breathe in and out. It’s not uncommon for players to extend more on their sides and rear than in front. If you want a large Trombone sound, you’ll need a lot of air. In order for this filling up to be effective it must not be hindered by a closed-off back of the tongue. Breathe in a big sigh of relief. A couple times without the horn, then try it on an easy note.

Your Trombone’s sound will have a richer, fuller quality when you can breathe freely through yourself into the instrument. On a few notes, you may find it to be enjoyable. Practice every day and you’ll find that as you progress through your range, your “sweet spot” will expand to encompass more and more of your range.

Brass players can benefit from the following breathing exercises:

  • Stretching is the first step.

Keep your shoulders, neck, and face free of tension, as well as the rest of your body. Your muscles will constrict the amount of air you can intake and exhale if you are tense. Simple stretches, such as rolling your shoulders and neck in circles, are an excellent place to start.

  • It’s a six for six:

Take six breaths in and six breaths out of your mouth at the same time. Using a metronome is preferable. Keep your lips open in a “o” form while taking slow, deep breaths into your diaphragm. Do not hold your breath, but instead breathe slowly and steadily.

Raise your arm while doing this exercise to get a sense of how fast the air is traveling. As you inhale, raise your arm, and as you exhale, lower your arm.

Three in, six out.

This is the same workout, except you inhale for three counts and exhale for six in this variation.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of inhaling faster because you won’t have as much time to do so when performing in an ensemble or solo. You can choose from a variety of breathing exercises to find one that works best for you.

Yoga and meditation enthusiasts may be of use to you in your quest to improve your breathing.

  1. Long tones should be used.

Warming up with long tones is essential and should never be omitted. They free you from having to worry about things like finger placement, dynamics, and so on, so you can concentrate solely on the sound.

Strengthening your embouchure is another benefit of this workout. As you practice appropriate breathing and sound stability, you’ll get better at producing high-quality tones.

Every time you pick up your trombones, you should practice your long tones. Long tones are played as expected. The exercises are flexible and can be tailored to the individual. Make sure your breath sustains your tone by holding a steady pitch for an extended period of time.

  1. Listen to Professional Trombone players Performances

A good trombone tone can only be heard by listening to an expert. Especially for beginners, it’s critical to hear superb trombone playing on a regular basis so that you can aspire to sound like this. ”

Listen to a fantastic trombone performer before you begin your at-home practice session. This won’t immediately improve your tone, but it will give you a boost of motivation.

A positive role model cannot be overstated. Aspire to sound like trombone legends like Curtis Fuller or Slide Hampton by working on your technique and tone.

The best way to improve your tone quality is to practice more frequently, and having a mentor to look up to will motivate you to do so. Having a role model and a goal to aim for will help you to succeed. It’s possible to sound like the greats if you listen to them enough!

  1. Remain Calm.

Resonance is the key to getting a good tone. The sound waves need to vibrate appropriately if your mouth and tone are open and relaxed.

Take a few deep breaths or put your horn down for a bit if you start to feel tense or stressed during a practicing session. More time spent playing with a relaxed embouchure is preferable to playing for long periods of time while tensed.

  1. Open your mouth.

It is most likely that the back of your tongue is blocking off your throat and preventing much air from reaching the mouthpiece if your sound is strained, weak, brittle, or any other comparable description. Tightness in the back of your throat could be the source of a bad tone quality. Keep your throat open and relaxed to improve the quality of your tone.

It’s a common sensation for musicians to have to inhale so much air. Playing the trombone with a lot of air can be difficult because we all naturally take short breaths on a daily basis.

It’s natural for your body to stiffen up when you inhale a large amount of air, this happens automatically. Naturally, your throat tightens even more when you take a deep breath. This is something you, as a trombone player, have to contend with.

Focus on the location of your tongue when you inhale and exhale during your practice session and focus on lowering the rear of your tongue, which will allow more air to travel through your horn.

Blow, but keep your throat open.

Instead of simply breathing, consider blowing the air out instead of simply inhaling. As Trombone players, we need to be in charge of how much air we’re blowing out and how fast that air is traveling. That’s how we adjust the volume and the notes we’re playing (in any given combination).

Make a Trombone-like embouchure using your lips and play around with varied air flow rates. If you place your palm in front of the opening, you can feel them. Slow, warm air and cool, quick air are the best bets. This might cause hyperventilation (breathing too much), which can lead to dizziness and even a fall if done for an extended period of time. Take a break if this is making you dizzy.

  1. Playing with Only the Mouthpiece Is Essential.

Buzzing on the mouthpiece might sometimes boost your performance. You can’t rely on your trombone to assist you hit a specific note, therefore you must know how to move your embouchure properly and efficiently.

Five minutes of buzzing a day can make a huge difference in your ability to play. After your breathing exercises, you can add this to your practice time. You can warm up your embouchure with mouthpiece exercises.

It is possible to train the ears through buzzing. You won’t be able to take notes with your fingers if you buzz. Breath support can be used to help you create the proper pitches in this procedure.

Your trombone will sound better if you can produce a full, rich tone from your mouthpiece. You’ll be able to distinguish between distinct tones even though buzzing sounds different from playing. Each note should be made as clear as possible.

Your embouchure is the starting point for all sound. The more control you have over the mouthpiece, the better your tone will sound. Tone quality will improve as a result of the excellent buzzing.

  1. Play easy notes

Plan to play the most comfortable and easy note that you know how to play. That could be an open G, a low C, or any other note you’re most comfortable with playing.  Let it go with a deep breath. Take another breath and blow into the Trombone.

It doesn’t matter if a completely unexpected note comes out; just let it go. Take a few tries at this until you become used to not holding your breath. With an open throat, you should be able to hear a larger sound than before when playing a simple note. It may be louder, or it may not, but it is likely to have a fuller sound. To see whether it sounds better, try moving up or down another note that you know. semitone. Make it sound as excellent as possible by following the same steps.

  1. Consider an upgrade

There’s only so much you can do to improve your tone.

It’s possible that the design of your instrument imposes limitations on the quality of your sound. It may be time to invest in a better trombone if you’re not satisfied with your current model.

Most beginner trombone players begin with a basic model before upgrading to a more advanced model after a few years of playing. If you’ve attempted numerous exercises to increase your tone but have had little luck, you may want an intermediate trombone.

Try out a variety of trombones to see what works best for you. You can rent a trombone to figure out if the source of your issues is a malfunctioning piece of technology. It’s time to switch trombones if you realize that your tone improves with a different one.

We recommend going to a music store to try out several brands and types of instruments. A new trombone might be expensive, but it can have a big impact on your musical development. Consider purchasing a better trombone if you plan on playing for a long period of time as a beginner.


Your trombone tone quality will likely improve over time. Despite the fact that it won’t happen overnight, there are a number of ways to improve your voice tone

You should keep listening to some of the best trumpeters in the world. This will provide you with the motivation to continue on your path to becoming a great musician.

If you’ve done all of these exercises and are still dissatisfied with your trombone tone quality, you may want to consider purchasing a new trombone. The addition of a new instrument can have a profound effect on a musician’s tone.