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Student Vs Intermediate Trumpet? (5 Main Differences)

Getting the right trumpet is vital, so consider if you should choose a student or intermediate model.

That way, you can enjoy learning the instrument!

Here’s How Student and Intermediate Trumpets Differ:

Student trumpets tend to be cheaper, and machines tend to produce them in mass. Intermediate models have some amount of handcrafting and are a bit more expensive. They also might use other materials besides brass.

What Is the Difference Between Student and Intermediate Trumpets?

The main differences between student and intermediate trumpets involve the materials and the craftsmanship. A student trumpet is usually machine-made, whereas intermediate models may have some handmade parts.

Student trumpets almost always use brass with a standard lacquer. When you reach the intermediate range, you can see silver-plated models or gold lacquer.

Assuming you have some skills, you can get a better response on an intermediate trumpet. Student models are made to be easy to play as a beginner, but they can hold you back after you improve your playing.

Are Student Trumpets Really Worth It?

Student trumpets are worth it for beginners. They’re more forgiving when making a sound, so you can start learning the basics more easily.

A beginner model is also worth it if you aren’t sure if you’ll want to play the trumpet long-term.

These instruments are usually cheaper and may even be available for rent from your local music store. That way, you can get an affordable model to see if you want to continue playing.

Beginner-level trumpets can also be worth keeping around when you upgrade. You can use your student model as a backup when you play outside or if your trumpet needs maintenance.

What’s the Price Difference Between Student and Intermediate Trumpets?

The specific pricing for student and intermediate trumpets will vary by brand and model.

However, when you buy them new, most student trumpets cost between $400 and $1,200. Used models can cost a bit less.

When shopping for an intermediate trumpet, you can expect to spend about $1,200 to $2,300. Some models may cost a bit more, and used instruments tend to be cheaper at this level.

There may be some pricing overlap between the two levels of trumpets. Some brands, like Yamaha, cost more, so certain Yamaha models may exceed the main price range.

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Upgrade Your Trumpet?

You will know it’s time to upgrade when you no longer get the sound you want on your current trumpet. As you get better, you might need something with a better response.

If you feel like your trumpet is holding you back somehow, that’s another sign it’s time to upgrade. Sometimes, you may get a gut feeling based on your playing. In other cases, you might have a private teacher who thinks you need a different instrument to keep progressing.

When you play in a band, you can also compare your sound to that of your section mates. If you find others sound better than you, it’s worth thinking about an upgrade.

Consider Upgrading the Mouthpiece

You might not always need to upgrade your entire trumpet. Upgrading just the mouthpiece can be a good option if you’re on a tight budget but want to get a better sound.

Some mouthpieces are affordable, so it’s much more cost-effective than a whole instrument. If a new mouthpiece doesn’t cut it, that’s another sign you should look into a more advanced trumpet.

However, you might also consider taking your trumpet to a repair technician. They can ensure there aren’t any mechanical problems causing you not to sound your best.

When Should You Exchange a Beginner Trumpet for an Intermediate Model?

It’s nice to know the signs that you’re ready for an upgrade. But there are other times when an upgrade can come in handy, even if you don’t have any issues with your current trumpet.

If you need a time-based answer, consider upgrading after a year or two of playing. In many cases, though, other factors come into play than the amount of time you’ve studied the trumpet.

Here are a few scenarios when you might need to buy an intermediate instrument:

When You Go to Music School

Starting music school as a trumpet player is exciting. However, you’ll probably need to upgrade if you’re still playing on your student model.

As a music major, you can expect to play a more demanding repertoire. You’ll also play a lot and need a trumpet to handle that.

If you find your current trumpet isn’t suiting you, you should upgrade. Your professor may even be able to help you find the right model for you.

When Starting Marching Band

If you want to join a marching band, you should upgrade to an intermediate trumpet.

Now, you shouldn’t use the intermediate model outside, but you can keep your student instrument for the band. Then, you can use it without worrying about dropping the trumpet.

You also won’t have to stress about playing in the extreme heat or cold or when it’s raining.

The intermediate trumpet will be perfect for indoor playings, such as in a jazz band or orchestra. You won’t have to risk your good trumpet on the marching field.

When You Want To

Sometimes, you might want to upgrade because you need a better sound. As long as you have the means and find a trumpet you love, there’s no reason to put off upgrading.

You don’t have to attend music school or join a marching band. If you’ve had your current trumpet for a while, it might be time for a new one.

Make sure you try a few intermediate trumpets to choose the one that suits you. Not every instrument will work for every trumpeter, which is okay.

When You Have the Money

Another thing to consider is if you can afford to upgrade to an intermediate model. Most trumpets at this level are relatively affordable, especially compared to larger brass instruments.

However, they can still be expensive. Try not to go into debt for an instrument, especially if you don’t need it right now.

Consider saving a bit of money, or you can look into instrument financing. Then, you’ll be able to choose a good trumpet, and you won’t have to settle for a model that doesn’t suit you.

Are Student Trumpets Easier to Play?

For beginners, student trumpets are much easier to play than professional models—instrument makers design student trumpets with new players in mind.

They ensure the trumpet is simple and doesn’t require unnecessary air to make a sound. The trumpet also usually comes with an average-sized mouthpiece to help respond.

However, you’ll eventually reach a point where intermediate and professional models are easier. You’ll have the skills to form a good embouchure and use your air, so you need a more advanced setup.

What Are the Best Options If You’re Serious About Learning Trumpet?

If you’re serious about learning the trumpet, the best thing you can do is to get a good model. Many cheap trumpets might work for a while, but they can hold you back from doing your best.

Fortunately, student trumpets don’t have to be expensive to be good. Here are a few models to consider to help you start playing the trumpet.

Yamaha YTR-2330

The Yamaha YTR-2330 is an excellent beginner model trumpet. It features a brass body with gold lacquer, so it looks as good as it sounds.

This model features a two-piece brass bell that helps project your sound. Meanwhile, the alloy valves are durable and can hold up to whatever you put your trumpet through.

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You’ll also get a good mouthpiece so that you have what you need to play your first few notes. The trumpet has a thumb ring and a third-finger slide to help you hold the instrument and adjust the tuning as you play.

Now, this is one of the more expensive student models. However, it’s a popular choice for kids and even adults looking to learn, so you might be able to find a used one.

Jupiter JTR700A

Another great student trumpet to consider is the Jupiter JTR700A. It uses the standard brass material for the body so that you can get the typical trumpet sound.

The trumpet has a nice design to help new players remain comfortable as they learn the trumpet. It has first and third valve slides to further help with comfort.

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Meanwhile, the stainless steel piston valves move smoothly so you can play slowly and fast. You’ll get a mouthpiece and a durable case to protect your instrument during storage and transportation.

It’s a more affordable option than the Yamaha, but it’s still of good quality. That makes it a fantastic choice if you’re on a budget.

Prelude TR711

The Prelude TR711 is another affordable beginner trumpet. It comes with a genuine Bach 7C mouthpiece to get a great sound from the beginning.

A clear lacquer finish shows off the brass, so you can blend in visually and sound-wise with other musicians. The red brass leadpipe helps offer a good sound as well.

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This trumpet has an adjustable ring for the third valve to hold it comfortably. Plus, the model isn’t as heavy as some, so that it might be better for kids or players with joint problems.

It’s an excellent value for students who want to try the trumpet without paying a ton. But you don’t have to risk getting a super low-quality trumpet.

Final Thoughts

Student and intermediate trumpets share many similarities.

However, the small differences can hugely affect the sound and response you get, so be sure you know when it’s time for you to upgrade.


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