You don’t have to choose between singing and playing trumpet to enjoy making music.
It would help to consider how the two instruments relate to each other to ensure one doesn’t hurt the other.
Here’s How Playing Trumpet Affects Your Singing Voice:
Playing the trumpet shouldn’t affect your singing voice if you use the proper technique. You can stay safe as long as you don’t accidentally use your vocal cords when playing. Playing trumpet may even help you with your air support the next time you sing.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Can Playing Brass Instruments Cause Voice Damage?
Playing brass instruments shouldn’t cause voice damage.
As long as you use the proper playing techniques, you don’t have to worry about ruining your singing voice after practicing the trumpet.
You can do both, whether you’re a singer first or a trumpet player first. Of course, you’ll need to practice to maintain your skills regularly.
If you quit singing to focus on trumpet, you may not be able to sing as well as you used to.
That doesn’t mean playing the trumpet caused you to lose your voice. It’s worth scheduling plenty of time to play and sing each week to keep up with each instrument.
The Transposition Problem
While playing the trumpet shouldn’t damage your voice, it may affect your sense of pitch.
The most common trumpet is in the key of Bb, so it sounds a whole step lower than written.
However, you sing in concert pitch, so the note you see is the note you hear. If you’re a tenor, you may see the note written an octave above, but that shouldn’t affect you too much.
When you play trumpet a lot, you may start to associate the sounding pitch of Bb with the note C. If you try to sing without a reference note from a piano, you may sing a whole step too high.
Practicing singing regularly and using a piano or another concert pitch instrument to provide the reference note.
Can Trumpet Playing Increase Your Lung Capacity?
Trumpet playing can help you learn how to use your lungs well.
It may not necessarily help you store more air in your lungs since your lungs have limits. However, you’ll be able to manage your air well so that you won’t run out of air as quickly.
Beginner trumpet players may need to take breaths more frequently. They might also take more shallow breaths since they have yet to learn how to breathe deeply.
After some practice and study, you can breathe deeper and go longer between breaths. That can give you the illusion of having greater lung capacity.
Consider a few things that can help you breathe as a trumpet player and singer.
Do Breathing Exercises
You can do some breathing exercises before and after playing the trumpet.
One of the simplest exercises is the 4-7-8 method, so you breathe in for four seconds. Hold the air for seven seconds, then take eight seconds to deplete your lungs of the air.
Another exercise to try involves the trumpet embouchure. Take a slow, deep breath, then form your embouchure as if you were holding your trumpet.
Let the air out slowly and see how long you can go before running out of air.
Do these exercises every day for a few days or weeks. For the embouchure exercise, you can track your progress to see if you can hold air for a bit longer.
Then, you’ll see how far you’ve come and if the exercises are working for you.
Take Plenty of Breaks
Next, you should pay attention to your body when practicing the trumpet.
If you feel like you can’t play for very long, take a break to let your body rest. You can work on breathing exercises or take time away from music.
Especially as a beginner, you may not be able to play for very long at once. You might have enough energy and stamina to practice a bit longer if you take a break.
Use the break for breathing freely, stretching, and doing whatever else you need to do. You can also do some lip exercises to help improve your embouchure, which is just as important as breathing.
Over time, try to go longer between practice breaks.
If you could play for 20 minutes yesterday, try to go for 21 or 22 minutes today. That may not seem like a huge difference, but it all adds up.
You can also push yourself to take bigger breaths during a practice session. Then, you may be able to play longer phrases without breathing in the middle.
This can take time and practice, so don’t expect a massive change overnight.
Focus on the small changes you can make each day, and continue to improve regularly.
Can Trumpet Playing Increase Your Vocal Range?
Playing the trumpet is quite different from singing, and there’s no evidence that it can increase your vocal range. However, you may want to compare the trumpet range to your current vocal range.
The Bb trumpet can play from an E3 to a C6. Women trumpet players may be able to use that range to build their ear and expand their vocal range accordingly.
For example, maybe you’re a mezzo-soprano, and your current vocal range is A3 to G5.
You may be able to use your trumpet to learn how the note G3 or G#3 sounds. Then, you could experiment with your voice to sing a half step or a whole step lower.
Men can also use the trumpet range to help their singing range. You might be comfortable singing from C3 to A4 if you’re a tenor.
You could practice the middle range of the trumpet to learn how those notes sound, and you may be able to sing a Bb4 or B4.
There’s no proof that this could work, but being able to play the notes can help you hear them. Then, you may be able to figure out how to open your throat to get your vocal cords to produce new pitches.
Make sure you transpose accordingly if you’re playing on a trumpet in a key other than C.
Do You Even Use the Vocal Cords When Playing Trumpet?
It would help if you didn’t use your vocal cords as long as you’re playing the trumpet using the proper technique.
Air should pass through your throat, into your mouth, and through your mouthpiece.
Then, you can buzz your lips to help get the standard trumpet sound you want. However, there are a couple of instances where you may use your vocal cords while playing the trumpet.
Consider why you might use your vocal cords and if it’s a good thing.
To Produce Multiphonics
If you want to play contemporary music, you may come across multiphonics.
Normally, the trumpet can only produce one pitch at a time. But you can sing and play simultaneously to play two notes at once.
It would be best to practice buzzing your lips without the trumpet and humming as you buzz. Then, you can add the trumpet and sing into the mouthpiece while blowing air as you would play.
This can take some practice, so don’t overdo it. Then, you could ruin your vocal cords, especially if you haven’t taken singing lessons.
After you get some practice, you can sing and play the same note or sing and play different notes.
When Tensions Occurs
Playing multiphonics is a good reason to engage your vocal cords when playing the trumpet.
However, you might accidentally use your vocal cords when you don’t mean to.
This can happen if you have a lot of tension in your throat.
Your vocal cords can feel that tension, so you may accidentally make a noise. That may be a pitch, or it could be as if you’re talking.
Either way, you want to keep your throat open to help reduce tension. Then, you’ll have a lower risk of using your vocal cords when you don’t want to.
Was Miles Davis’ Voice Damaged From Playing Trumpet?
Playing trumpet wasn’t what damaged Miles Davis’ voice.
Somehow, he developed polyps on his vocal cords, so he needed surgery. After the surgery, he was supposed to go without talking for a specific period.
He did a good job of not talking until someone angered him during that time. He then yelled at the person before his vocal cords had a chance to heal fully.
That yelling damaged his voice. Playing the trumpet had nothing to do with it.