Trombone beginner

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Hman1, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Hman1

    Hman1 Member

    My son, who is 7 years old, (although as tall as a 9/10 year old) has been learning the cornet for about a year. He has said that he would like to play the trombone, and from a physical point of view he would certainly seem to have the chops and the lungs for it. My only concern is that he might have trouble reaching 7th position and how this might affect embochure.

    Does anyone have any experience/advice at what age it is possible/advisable to start learning the trombone ?
  2. Tam O Shanter

    Tam O Shanter Member

    Most cornet players moving onto trombone wait until after they've had the lobotomy.
  3. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Simple solution.

    The Yamaha Compact trombone which has been designed specially for this instance.

    The trombone is pitched in Bb but the slide is only long enough for 5 positions.
    What they have done is put a trigger on the trombone to put it into C which negates the use of 6th and 7th positions.

    Now, I know that this isn't what you ideally want but it is brilliant if you have a starter whose arms just aren't long enough!

    Although, I'd say get them onto a straight trombone as soon as their arms are sufficiently long!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
  4. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    I think you'll find that the people staying on cornet would be in that situation, not after moving away! ;)
  5. jrshimmon

    jrshimmon Member

    You can buy a handle to attach to the slide to help reach 7th. Like the ones seen on the original G Trombones. I've seen one for sale new on the net but can't remeber where. I think it may well be Ebay.
  6. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    Oo that might help save my poor neck! *goes to look*
  7. jrshimmon

    jrshimmon Member

  8. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    tell him to bluff 7th untill they get him a proper tromwith a trigger - and with the good sense that has seen him want to move to trom, bass trom is only a short time coming :)
  9. Boneman

    Boneman Member

    Had the same thought when my eldest son asked to take up trombone at age of 7.

    To be honest it has not been a problem, he has now progressed to grade 3 and plays in the local youth band and a local brass band, and in all this he rarely has to play a note in 7th position. My personal opinion would be that as log as he can comfortably reach 6th then I wouldn't worry, as the very occasional stretch to 7th won't really have much affect on embochure

    If it is a problem then I would recommend simply buying or borrowing a Bb/F trombone. that way he'll never have to go past 5th position!
  10. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I'd agree with this. The number of low Bs you get in most trombone pieces for beginners is probably small enough that you'll very rarely have any issue at all. I certainly don't think it would ever harm his development as a trombonist.
  11. wagger-g

    wagger-g Member

    There is a device that provides a cross bar (not a handle) that is closer to the young player's face. I have seen this used very effectively. But I agree with others that it's not really a big deal until you get on advanced grades where the exercises seem to specialise on long positions.

    However my inclination would be to go onto Bb/F from the off if the slight extra weight is not a problem.
  12. DocFox

    DocFox Supporting Member

    So Kind :hammer

    The Yamaha is a good solution. There are two problems. First, they are hard to find, especially second hand. Second they are expensive, even second hand.

    A small F-attachment bone (.525 bore) is a better answer. But at age 7, even that would be a very large bone. But they make nice trombone holders that work well. See


    Also, a cornet player is easy to convert to a euph or a baritone player. Same fingerings, just down an octave.

    A trombone is down an octave and not hard to learn, and this little table always helps (going up a concert Bb scale chromatically)

    Valves/Bone Position

    open / first position
    1,2 and 3 / 7th position or trigger and 2nd position
    1 and 3 / 6th position or trigger and 1st position
    2 and 3 / 5th position
    1 and 2 / 4th position
    1 / 3rd position
    open / first position
    2 and 3 / 5 th position
    1 and 2 / 4th position
    1 / 3rd position
    2 / 2nd position
    open / 1st position

    Above C in the staff (Bb concert) the position get closer.

    But I think even a 7 year old can learn with an inexpensive F-attachement 525 bone, and ergobone and memorizing that simple chart above. As he gets older, there are many, many books on alternate bone positions. Some say their are 7 positions. More like about 77.

  13. The quatro trombone has a doubled slide, making all of the positions half as long, but i agree with contributers in that seventh position is not an issue at this point, although there may be intonation issues in 6th. The small f attachment is a better solution. Con made a good student model in nyears past known as the 50h, and i used it with students with success, but i am not sure it is still being produced.
  14. DocFox

    DocFox Supporting Member

    Not being produced any longer BUT, there are lots in the second hand market. My personal problem with the Quatro is that you learn where the positions are in the wrong place. Same problem with the Yammie 350C. Might as will play a slide trumpet if you are going to do that.

  15. i fully concur on both points!
  16. Despot

    Despot Member

    Got handles before with kids in mind, but I found they have to be screwed on and off each time, slide wouldn't fit in the box, came loose after a time, in the way for normal playing etc.

    Eventually found the best idea was to wait until they were tall enough or for older players, get a trombone with a trigger.
  17. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    My teacher told me to move it slightly to the right to make the distance shorter, which works, but not when you have a teeny space between your stand and the next guy's stand. He's making me use 6th and 7th as much as poss, rather than triggering them all the time, which makes sense from fitting notes together point of view. Also I need to be able to play bottom B Natural in 2 of the pieces next week!
  18. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I thought the idea of the Yammy compact was that the trombone slide would have the same general positions as a full sized Bb but is only long enough for 5th position.

    My old teacher says it is good in that respect and got one for his son.

    Although I won't say the Ergobone doesn't work, I don't see how it would be useful in this situation. The question was about reaching 7th position, not supporting the weight of the trombone.

    Personally, I don't like giving kids trombones with triggers because they become too dependent on the trigger.

    That's why I would put them onto a straight tenor when their arms are long enough.
    And if they came to me with a triggered trombone, I'd do what my teacher did to me for a while. Confiscate the F slide so that they actually learn where bottom B nat, E, C and F are on the slide.

    I know far too many trombone players who don't know where "6th" and "7th" positions are on the slide.
  19. reelbigtrombone

    reelbigtrombone New Member

    Go for it, at that age there's no need to worry about the embochure and seventh position is rarely used. That kid who won the BBC Young Musician was small for his age, and he was about twelve!
  20. I started my son on the alto trombone at about the same age. This is light and easy to hold. This stops early posture problems. The problem with a trigger trombone is that young players end up playing to the floor and taking some weight with the slide hand which is obviously damaging to technique.
    He is now 13 and BBC Musician of the year so it certainly worked for him. His early grades were taken on the Alto with me transposing the piano accompaniments to suit.
    Grenville Moore

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