When you start playing a new instrument, there’s going to be a learning curve.
Whether you pick up a flute or a trumpet, any beginner is going to struggle initially.
Since flutes and trumpets are so different, let’s dive into which is more difficult to play so that you can choose the best instrument to start your journey with music:
Here’s an Idea of Trumpet Vs. Flute Difficulty:
Both trumpet and flute require a specific embouchure with unique difficulties. Most beginners will need to play on each instrument before deciding. In most cases, trumpet players will say that trumpet is the most difficult instrument to play, and flute players will say the same about the flute.
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Each Instrument Will be Difficult at First:
Many people think that playing the flute is similar to blowing across the top of a bottle.
Because of this, the flute might seem easy to play, but it is much more complicated.
To play the flute well, you have to focus on embouchure, breath support, and hand position. The flute embouchure is much more relaxed, and many beginner flute players struggle with having an airy sound.
For a flute embouchure, the opening between your lips needs to be very small, which can be more difficult to learn than a trumpet embouchure. Not to say that a trumpet embouchure is easy.
Brass instruments require vibration to make sound, and this vibration comes from your lips.
Some early trumpet players struggle with buzzing. They tend to increase the pressure of the mouthpiece on their lips, which creates bad habits. This even becomes painful if you have braces.
Learning Finger Positions is Crucial:
Flutes have many more keys than trumpets.
Beginners have to learn which fingers to press down to create a note, which changes for every note. Memorizing these different finger positions can be difficult.
Since trumpets only have three valves, many people think that it’s easier to make notes. This is far from the truth.
Each hand position can create many different notes, and a beginner has to memorize what each one sounds like to make sure they’re hitting the correct note.
Both trumpet and flute present challenges for beginners, so it is difficult to say which instrument is easier.
Which of the Two Instruments is More Popular?
Both trumpet and flute are prevalent instruments that most people easily recognize.
Trumpets may be slightly more popular due to their flexibility in the different ensembles they can play. Trumpets are needed in a variety of compositions.
They are used within orchestras, jazz bands, small ensembles, marching bands, and solo performances.
Flutes are very popular as well and are just as recognizable as trumpets. The main difference is that they are used less frequently within jazz bands.
Although people of any gender can play any instrument, there is a popular stereotype that boys play brass instruments and girls play woodwind instruments. Beginners need to begin looking past social pressures when starting a new instrument because gender has no impact on a person’s playing ability.
Either flute or trumpet would make a great choice for a new musician!
How Long Does it Take to Learn Each Instrument?
No instrument is easy to learn. Each takes diligent and persistent practicing for many years to eventually be considered a good instrumentalist.
If you want to reach an expert level, it may take decades to achieve. But never fear; if you love playing your instrument, the years will fly by. The important thing is to be patient and not place too much pressure on yourself.
Here’s What to Expect When Starting to Learn Trumpet:
Playing trumpet requires specific muscles in your lips to work hard in maintaining an embouchure. Since these muscles are not used in your daily life, they will tire easily. When first starting trumpet, you will need to build stamina slowly. This requires patience and time.
Beginners are often eager to master their instrument right away. If you expect good results right away, you may become frustrated when that doesn’t happen. This could cause you to use tension to play trumpet, which is a nasty habit.
It’s important to know that it will take a few years to reach an intermediate level and many more years to reach an expert level. Beginners should frequently practice developing an extended range, better tone, better breath control, etc.
Here’s What to Expect When Starting to Learn Flute:
The timeframe to achieve a good sound on a flute is about the same as with a trumpet.
Most beginners achieve a sound fairly quickly and spend the next few months trying to get a less breathy, more controlled tone.
Within the first few years of playing, you’ll learn the fingerings for different notes, and some students find these hard to memorize. Most students are given a beginning flute book with all the basic fingerings. They should look at this daily to remember finger placements for each note.
The posture for playing flute could be difficult for a student to get used to because the hands are placed in a raised position at their right shoulder. This will become comfortable in the first year of playing.
Whether with a trumpet or a flute, the more you practice, the better you’ll be.
Remain relaxed with good posture, and you will become an intermediate player in no time.
What About the Price Differences?
Beginner flutes and trumpets are within similar price ranges.
It does vary based on brand, but most student trumpets and flutes are anywhere from $200-$1,000.
Most people choose to buy beginner flutes and trumpets in the range of $200-$500, but a lower cost implies that it will be lower quality. Once you decide which instrument to choose, you’ll need to find one that will be easy to play with a good sound.
Some of the best beginner trumpet brands are Yamaha, Allora, and Etude. Etude is the most budget-friendly, being only $264.99 brand new. Allora isn’t much more expensive, and you can get their trumpets for $499.99.
Yamaha is the most expensive of the three but the most well-known. Its student model is sold at $1,384.
For beginner flutes, the most recognized brands for their quality are Gemeinhardt, Yamaha, and Etude. Like trumpets, Etude offers a cost-effective beginner flute for only $161.99. Gemeinhardt is one of the most well-known flute brands and has great beginner flutes.
A beginner model starts at $679. Yamaha beginner flutes are around $1,015.
You always have the option of purchasing a pre-owned instrument. This could be a great solution for getting a quality beginner model for a lower price.
The one downside with pre-owned instruments is that you do not get the option of playing on the instrument before you buy it. With prominent music retailers, you can see, touch, and play a flute or trumpet to make sure that it will be the best choice for you.
It’s necessary to get a good beginner model when first starting to play, but keep in mind that most musicians transfer to an intermediate model in a few years.
Some beginner students quit altogether, so buying the most expensive model might not be the best choice.
Five Tips to Help You Choose Between Trumpet and Flutes
- Ask your band director
- Go to an instrument “petting zoo”
- Go to an instrument fitting
- Think about whether you have or will need braces
- Consider lip size
The most important thing you can do to decide which instrument to play is consulting your band director.
Since every band director has experience determining which instrument would be right for beginners, they will help you.
For beginners, band directors will have “petting zoos,” where students can play various instruments. You can try both flute and trumpet, and if you manage to make a sound right away on one of them, that might be the right choice.
After an initial instrument petting zoo, band directors will have a “fitting.” Here, they will have students blow across flute headjoints, try to free-buzz or buzz on the mouthpiece, and play on the entire instrument.
Generally, a student will be better at either buzzing a trumpet mouthpiece or blowing across a flute headjoint.
If you already have braces, playing trumpet could be painful and frustrating. It may be easier for you to play the flute, as there is no direct pressure on the front of your mouth.
Some band directors claim that lip size and thickness impact a student’s ability to play either trumpet or flute. Trumpet players generally have smaller, thinner lips, which helps when buzzing into a small mouthpiece.
For flute, some musicians say that thinner lips are more beneficial in making a good embouchure.
If you’re struggling to figure out whether trumpet or flute is the right instrument for you, you’ll ultimately need to play on both and see which one you love more.
To develop a good sound, you’ll be playing your instrument for years to come, so make sure that you’re excited about the one you choose.
Band directors are there to help you. They are experts in choosing the right instrument, finding the best model at a reasonable price, and teaching how to play it correctly. Since they have helped many other students before, don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have.
Beginning to play an instrument is the most exciting step in your journey to becoming a musician.
Whether you’re nervous about pricing or choosing an instrument, don’t let your worries get in the way of learning music!