Trombone lesson: Extend your range on mouthpiece

Trombone lesson: Extend your range on mouthpiece

trombone mouthpiece silverTrombone lesson: Extend your range on mouthpiece

Recently I had one of those days where both breathing and embouchure felt a bit off and locked in. I used this simple mouthpiece exercise to kickstart both and was impressed with the result after just a few minutes.

Before you take the ride, please read the following instructions:

  1. Play all the patterns on your mouthpiece with a smooth glissando.
  2. Do not push the air to reach the upper notes, make sure there are no dynamics involved, a steady mf or mp all the way is best.
  3. Change the pitch with your embouchure. Jaw, lips, and tongue should be used to change the shape of the airflow, thus changing the pitch. Make the SMALLEST changes possible!
  4. Do not use your body as a compressor in order to play higher notes. Think fast air, not compressed air.
  5. Try to make the intervals feel as small as possible, even the octaves.
  6. If you find it difficult to play the right notes by ear (some of the pitches are quite tricky), play them on a piano first. Or have your spouse sing them to you.

This works great as a brass warmup exercise. You can of course play this on any brass instrument mouthpiece, just transpose the exercise to make it fit your instrument and range.

Pro tip: air trombone

Intonation and finding the right note on the mouthpiece alone are quite hard. I use my right arm to play air trombone and imagine the correct slide position for each note while buzzing – it really helps me hit the correct pitch. 

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Good luck!

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PS. I use a buzzer (or mouthpiece adapter) to make the resistance when playing on the mouthpiece alone feel more like that on the trombone. It makes my mouthpiece practice make much more sense. There are a bunch of different models out there, please share your experiences. I use Warburton’s The Buzzard, it does the trick for me.


  1. Gil Estes 10 years ago

    Great stuff. I direct the Atlanta Trombone Ensemble ( and always looking for great tips to make things more efficient. Will check out more of your stuff here. Please look at, a page set up to share ideas on getting more done in less time. Come like it and share your ideas, products, etc…


    Gil Estes

  2. Hernan T. Mulet (Teddy Mulet) 10 years ago

    Excellent place to look for answers on trombone technique! Doodle tonging has always been a challenge for me. I will check this site more in depth soon!
    Greetings from Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    Teddy Mulet-musician with Miami Sound Machine, Trombone and Trumpet

  3. Hernan T. Mulet (Teddy Mulet) 10 years ago

    Please check our band on our Facebook page! Top Brassss. You might find some clips of me on YouTube under Teddy Mulet, Hernan Mulet and Blood Sweat & Tears

  4. Jake S Vandergeld 9 years ago

    As a Freshman in High School, I am always seeking to improve my skills on my instrument. I am third chair in our Wind Ensemble, which is the best ensemble in our school district. I have recently challenged a senior to “steal” his chair. The two people that sit before me are a junior and a sophomore. As they end of the year is approaching, I, again, am seeking for ways to improve my skills. Unfortunately when I started Band in 6th grade, I developed the bad habit of articulating with my jaw rather than my tongue. If there are any tips for fixing this issue please contact me at I have been working on pitch recently and find mouthpiece, exercises in general, helpful. I usually just play F, Bb, D, F going up. And then I attempt to hit that high B and recently it is coming together. Although I really need to play a high A and G (which are lower yes but I haven’t even attempted to go for them) and then continue working my way up on scales. If there are any other tips for improving range please post or contact me. Thank you guys, bye.

  5. CJ 8 years ago

    Great exercise! I haven’t played my horn in many years and am just now getting it back out. I can’t seem to hit the low notes on this exercise though. This seems strange because I thought my high range would need work. Could it be my mouthpiece? I can’t play below a low F using just the mouthpiece. With the trombone, I can go down to low b flat (below the bass staff).

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