I am a trombonist and have played in a band for almost 3 years now. I am hoping to continue on by also doubling with the trumpet, and at the same time also continue to play the trombone.

The thing is: many have told me that there will be an embouchure problem if I play two or more brass instruments, but I still want to continue to be a trombone/trumpet player at the same time.

Can someone enlighten me about the pros and cons of doing so?

6 Answers 6


Speaking as a brass doubler (trombone is my primary; I play all other brass instruments with varying proficiencies), the main difference between the embouchures for trumpet and trombone has to do with the tone concept.

The trombone itself (and current pedagogy and instrument manufacturing) allows for a very open and dark tone concept, and the fact that tuning can be adjusted easily with the slide helps to allow for this.

If I play trumpet like I play trombone, it will have a very wide open sound, but certain partials will be woefully out of tune. When I play trumpet, I need to treat the oral cavity differently to enable the correction of certain partials with the embouchure. On good instruments less correction will be required, but you still need to be generating the correct amount of tension with your embouchure.

If there are any cons, it really depends on what your level of technique is, what you're aiming for, and how much professional instruction you're getting. Any doubler just needs to remember what instrument they're playing at the time and have a different mindset for each one. If you try to play the trumpet like the trombone, you're going to run into trouble, just as if you started learning trumpet and then played trombone like you were playing trumpet. Private instruction will let you know if you're developing any bad habits on any one instrument.

On the other hand, if you're self taught and just want to play ska music with your friends, chances are your technique isn't on a level where it'll make a difference.

The pros here are pretty obvious: you learn another instrument, you start opening your ears up to that instrument, you get a different perspective on music you already know, and it's just good general music practice to read notes in a different clef and transfer generic musical knowledge from one instrument to another.

  • Nice one, very inspiring overall for me :) Anyway, I am just hoping to do continue playing the trombone (and not affect my tone) but also double with the trumpet, but this answer is quite clear, thanks!
    – Hydra
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 7:36
  • 1
    And you can get more work if you can play more than one instrument competently.
    – user1044
    Commented Oct 7, 2012 at 12:44

The brass players I know and play with all seem to double on some other brass instrument. While it may take some time to adapt, I think it benefits to be able to know the different instruments.

Think of it this way if you drive a car: In your own car you get to know the clutch and know when to shift gears, then when you drive another car you suddenly get surprised by how high the clutch is and you may be jumping all the way home. But if you drive both cars regularly, your feet will know what to do.

  • btw I am a pianist that also plays organ and whatnot, and people told me that playing organ would ruin my piano technique. I learned that the organ taught my fingers something very valuable when I transferred it to the piano. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 10:57
  • Hmm, piano/organ is using fingers to play, but brass instruments use the mouth, and the embouchure for the different instrument differs.
    – Hydra
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 12:29
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    @Hydra Even though piano and organ both use fingers to play, the techniques are very, very different. I think it's definitely a good comparison on Thomas's part. Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 12:36
  • I see. While it is indeed a good comparison, but I am hoping that someone does explain the pros and cons to me about doubling with trombone and trumpet, especially someone that tried it before. I do want to double both instruments, but I don't want it to affect my sound quality of either trombone or trumpet.
    – Hydra
    Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 12:39

I am currently trying to double high and low brass. My trumpet playing isn't great yet, but T-bone is unaffected. No problem. I've been playing T-bone for years and marched the previous season. My band no longer marches T-bone, sad, but I though why not learn high brass? So I'm learning mellophone and trumpet. It is exactly like piano and organ or piano and synth or piano and harpsichord. I play both, more piano than organ, but the non-weighted keys give my fingers a more precise attack and release. My piano playing benefits greatly. I see the same in brass but with different aspects of course. I can hit high notes easier on T-bone now. And I've leaned to lip up where it was otherwise unnecessary on T-bone. (I already read both clefs but it otherwise would have been good to do so. I can read T-bone in treble now.)


My primary instrument is tuba but I know most other brass instruments. I actually play trombone and euphonium just as well as I play tuba. The only problem I've noticed is embouchure, but it isn't too much of a problem. This past year I had to play trumpet for jazz band, and it didn't necessarily hurt my low brass playing, but I busted my chops a lot easier than a normal trumpet player would because I'm used to playing low brass instruments. However, learning trumpet has helped a lot with my high range on low brass instruments, and knowing low brass instruments made it very easy to play low notes on trumpet.


I am a trumpet player who is learning the trombone, the benefits are that I'm learning bass clef and having to think hard about what I'm doing, my brain gets a good workout as I'm working through the Arban method for Trombone. On the down side I have to make sure that that I lay off the trombone and concentrate on trumpet before a concert or rehearsal as I need to re-educate my chops to play trumpet! I don't know if the day will come when I could play a solo on one and move to the other in the same gig, I treat the trombone as an intellectual challenge and a bit of fun at the moment although I'm sure once I became reasonably proficient and given enough notice I could play reasonably well and not embarrass myself too much!


I think it's good to learn more than one instrument. It helps you understand more about creating music that works well, both rhythmically and melodically. Also to understand more the roles musicians play in making music. I started playing sousaphone but then I bought a clarinet and a guitar and a tuba, I love them all equally and aspire to make good music with all of them. As for embouchure problems I haven't really noticed any, when I started playing tuba I could already easily play in the high register but it's a bit more difficult in the low register. The choice to play multiple instruments is quite personal I think, if you have a good ear for pitch and intonation discrepancies and always try to brush up your technique I think you can maintain 2 or more instruments. It depends on what your goals are as a musician.

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