Are Pocket Trumpets Easier To Play? Pocket Trumpet vs Regular

A pocket trumpet

Are Pocket Trumpets Easier-Harder To Play?
Pocket Trumpet vs. Regular Trumpet

As I’m sitting here, spending a bit of time readingin on trumpet forums, I find these questions coming up again and again…

  • Are pocket trumpets easier to play?
  • Are pocket trumpet harder to play?
  • Pocket trumpet vs. piccolo trumpet, are they the same?
  • Pocket trumpet vs normal trumpet, what are the differences?
  • Are pocket trumpets any good?
  • Are pocket trumpets real musical instruments?

…so I thought I might as well write an article, answering those questions. I hope you find it informative.

Pocket trumpets are easier to play for some people. One reason some poeple find them easier to play is because we hold them closer to our face when playing, and this gives a feeling of more control over the instrument. There are more to this though, so make sure to read the whole article…

Are Pocket Trumpets Easier To Play Than Regular Trumpets?

Some people find pocket trumpets easier to play while others find the pocket trumpet harder to play, than normal trumpets. Just like some people find the cornet easier to play than the normal trumpet.

Now, just so you know, the pocket trumpet is NOT the same as a cornet. I merely stated an example of how we tend to prefer different things. Just as this is true for life in general, the same holds true in the brass playing word as well.

Some people think that the pocket trumpet is easier to play because of the following reasons…
  • Pocket trumpets are easier to hold because you hold them closer to the body. Your arms won’t get tired as quickly because of this.
  • Some people also feel that they have better control over the whole playing mechanism because the hands are closer to the lips, as that creates a more secure feeling.
  • You can hear yourself better when playing a pocket trumpet. Again, because the trumpet is closer to your head.
Other trumpet players may think that the pocket trumpet is harder to play because of the following reasons…
  • The pocket trumpet dos not “project” the sound into a big room as well as a normal trumpet. This is also why you won’t see trumpet players playing on  a pocket trumpet in a big symphony orchestra.
  • Some people find that the pocket trumpets have a bit more resistance to the blow because they are more tightly wrapped than normal trumpets.
  • Some find that they have too big hands to comfortably hold a very small pocket trumpet. Personally I belong in this category, but my hands are also really big.

As you can see the opinions differ, and just with everything else in life, it is also a matter of taste and personal preferences.

Let’s put personal preferences aside for a while and take a look at the difference between the pocket trumpet and the regular trumpet, when it comes to facts and sheer physics.

Pocket Trumpet vs. Trumpet

So what are the differences between the pocket trumpet versus regular trumpet? Well, they might actually be more similar than you would think.

The pocket trumpet and the regular trumpet both have the exact same length of tubing. This means that they are tuned the same, and more often than not, the tuning is B-flat. So the pocket trumpet is not a higher pitched instrument even though it looks smaller.

It is the length of the tubing that determines the pitch and, as I already said, the tubing on the pocket trumpet is the exact same length. It just looks smaller because the tubing is more tightly wrapped than on the normal trumpet.

Pocket Trumpet vs. Piccolo Trumpet
Are They The Same?

piccolo trumpet
The tubing is much shorter on a piccolo trumpet

So are the pocket trumpet the same as a piccolo trumpet?

No, the pocket trumpet is not the same as a piccolo trumpet. The piccolo trumpet is pitched one octave higher than the normal trumpet and if you look closely, you will see that the piccolo trumpet has much shorter tubing than the pocket trumpet.

Does this mean that the piccolo trumpet is easier to play than the pocket trumpet?

This does not mean that the piccolo trumpet is easier to play than the pocket trumpet. In fact, the piccolo trumpet is very difficult to play as it takes a very well-developed embouchure in order to play. On top of that it is difficult to master the art of playing in tune, when it comes to piccolo trumpet playing.

The piccolo trumpet is a musical instrument that should only be attempted after several years of trumpet playing experience. A beginner should never start out on the piccolo, as their first instrument.

In what playing situations can I use the Pocket trumpet?

As the pocket trumpet is very similar to the normal, big, trumpet you can pretty much use it wherever the normal trumpet is used. Except for if you play on a professional level and are plahying in a big symphony orchestra.

The small pocket trumpet will not project the sound as well out into the big hall, and thus it’s not suitable in that situation. Other than that, you can pretty much use it wherever you want…

…that said, it’s not very common to see professional trumpeters play high note lead trumpet parts in a big band, on a pocket trumpet, but it does happen and it is possible.

You can use it in

  • Marching band
  • As a solo instrument
  • As you main trumpet, taking lessons with your teacher
  • Playing hymns in church
  • Wind orchestras and other bands
  • Brass ensembles

Should I start on a normal trumpet or a pocket trumpet?

It makes no difference. It’s completely up to you. Some people love the pocket trumpets because, let’s face it they look cool, and they are fun to play. While other want a regualr, big trumpet. The pocket trumpets are indeed 100% real musical instruments though, and they are not toys.

The normal trumpets can be a bit heavy to hold for a beginner, so I often do recommend starting on a pocket trumpet for small kids. But, again, the choice is up to you because remember, the pocket trumpet and the regular trumpet are more similar than different.

If you are thinking about starting your trumpet journey, and you think starting on a pocket trumpet would be fun, then I recommend you go and read my article, best pocket trumpet brands for beginner students.

Are pocket trumpets easier to play? Conclusion

So to sum it up, pocket trumpets are a bit easier to play for some people, while others prefer the regular, big, trumpet, and just to make sure I answer all of the questions…

Question: Are pocket trumpets real musical instruments?

Answer: Yes, pocket trumpets are real musical instruments

Question: Are pocket trumpets any good?

Answer: They are just like normal trumpets. In other words, you can find bad brands as well as good brands out there, in the brass jungle.

Question: Are pocket trumpets hard to play?

Answer: They are not any more difficult to play than the normal trumpet

Question: My friends has a pocket trumpet that is tuned in “C”. Are those better than normal pocket trumpets?

Answer: No they are not. Just like you will find C trumpets in the regular trumpet family, you can also find them in the pocket trumpet family. They are not better, just tuned in C. For the most part, the Bb trumpets are easier to play in tune so I highly recommend a Bb-flat pocket trumpet. Especially for beginners.

I hope you found this short article about pocket trumpets, and whether or not they are easier to play than normal trumpets, informative. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can do so by sending me an email or by asking in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!

-Robert Slotte-

P.S. Perhaps you also would be interested in reading the article: what is the easiest / hardest brass instrument to play?

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