Every beginning trumpet player must learn two important things. First, how to play the instrument and second, how to keep the instrument in good working order so that a trip to the repair shop is not necessary. This article goes through important care and maintenance tips to keep your trumpet playing great.
There are three main parts of a trumpet that must be cared for on a regular basis. The valves, the tuning slides, and the mouthpiece. Each of these parts of the trumpet has its own care and maintenance regimen.
Cleaning and Maintenance of the Tuning Slides (Preventing Stuck Tuning Slides)
At the beginning levels not much attention is paid to the trumpet's tuning slides. It is only after a student has got some experience under his belt that the teacher will have the student begin to adjust these slides for the best trumpet intonation. If these tuning slides are ignored and not regularly cleaned and lubricated, however, they will eventually become stuck from lack of use, often requiring a trip to the repair shop to have them removed and repaired. To prevent this from happening pull out the tuning slides at least once every week or two and clean them off with a soft cloth. Reapply a thin coating of tuning slide grease to the slides, insert them back into the horn and move the tuning slide back and forth several times over its full length to distribute the grease evenly to all parts of the tuning slide.
Cleaning and maintenance of the Mouthpiece
There is a tendency for trumpet players to simply put together the trumpet and start playing without giving any thought to what little nasties could be hiding in the mouthpiece. Each time a trumpet is played dead lip cells and saliva accumulate inside the cup and shank of the mouthpiece. Aside from being unhealthy this buildup can also affect the way your trumpet plays. Your trumpet will always play better when using a clean mouthpiece.
Consider investing in a mouthpiece brush and carry it in the trumpet case with you. Before playing the instrument clean out the mouthpiece using the brush and running water. You can use soap as well, but make sure you rinse well before putting it back into the trumpet.
Take note while cleaning your mouthpiece of any discoloration in the coating of the mouthpiece. All mouthpieces are coated to prevent the lips from coming into direct contact with the bare metal that the mouthpiece is made of. In some people the bare metal can cause allergic reactions resulting in blisters or acne like irritations around the mouth. If this occurs consider purchasing a gold plated mouthpiece. The gold plating costs a bit more but it prevents these allergic reactions from occurring around the mouth.