I'm in a place where even playing with a mute is too loud. I've heard some good things about silent brass devices. But I was wondering how quiet can you physically get with trumpet and still maintain a daily practice without making it too hard too play?

  • Question for those who know: If money is no object, is there a viable digital solution? I know there are midi "wind controllers," but not sure whether they can use realistic brass mouthpieces that allow you to buzz normally. In the string world, there are electric violins that are reasonably realistic practice solutions. Sep 28 at 13:07
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    @AndyBonner - when you produce a note on a brass instrument you're not just blowing; you're setting up a standing wave in the air column within the instrument. The resonant peaks (aka slots) pull any produced pitch towards one of those slots. Any wind controller that let your lips buzz freely without having those slots to dictate the pitches would not feel like a trumpet nor produce control signals that sounded trumpety. As far as I know the only way to produce the effects of a resonant air column is to actually have a resonant air column. No trumpet equivalent of a woodwind controller exists. Sep 28 at 13:50
  • Haven't played trumpet for 20 years, but apparently there is an electronic system that seems well reviewed. Sep 28 at 17:59
  • @AlexanderNied: Weird. Your link leads to an Ibanez electric guitar. Sep 28 at 19:24

A regular mute changes the colour of the sound. A silent brass mute (like the Yamaha one I've used for years) won't silence you but it substantially reduces the produced volume. The instrument does "feel" different when the mute is inserted - there's more back pressure and the intonation of some of the lower notes goes off a bit. But it still feels like a trumpet.

Using the practice mute means I can play in my car or in a very small room where the volume would otherwise be absolutely crushing, so the mute makes almost any space into a possible rehearsal space.

Provided you practise at a reasonable time of day and don't go on for hours, you should be able to play every day without reasonable complaints.

If you do use a practise mute regularly, do try to make some opportunity to play unmuted too; join a band or find a space you can play in without disturbing others. Otherwise you forget how the open instrument behaves.

Best thing to do would be to try out a practice mute for yourself. Borrow one if you can or get one on approval. Don't rely on just playing it in a shop - you really need to live with it for a bit to see how you get on with it.

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