Playing Trumpet With a Mustache-Does Facial Hair Help or Hurt?

a man with facial hair having problem playing brass instruments

Playing Trumpet With a Mustache Is Facial Hair a Problem?

Can I play a brass instrument with facial hair? Is playing trumpet with a mustache going to be a problem? …or…

…could it even be an advantage?

In this blog post I’m going to share my thoughts about this.

Hair Under The Mouthpiece
Good or Bad?

When asking around, thinking about myself, and doing online research I find that this is something that is very individual. For some trumpet players it makes no difference at all, while for others it is an absolute no go…

…and then we have an interesting camp that says playing trumpet with a mustache actually helps them. Some even say that it helps them significantly…

…how can this be?

Playing Trumpet With A Mustache Can Force You To Play Correctly

Playing trumpet with a beard and a mustache can actually force you to play correctly. Well, correctly is perhaps not the best word to use here but some trumpet players swear it makes them play with less mouthpiece pressure.

I will share a few thoughts from different trumpet players here…

Trumpet player #1

“A couple of years back during my vacation I went for a short trip to our summer house and I didn’t shave for a couple of weeks. When coming home, instead of shaving it off I thought, what the heck I’ll see how my trumpet playing works with some facial hair. Well, it felt very uncomfortable but for some reason I kept going a few days…

…I quickly noticed how it forced my to reduce my mouthpiece pressure significantly and, I kid you not, after about 5-6 weeks I had tripled my endurance. Since then I always want some hair under my mouthpiece”

Does Playing A Brass Instrument With Facial Hair Help Blood Flow?

Then there are trumpet players who speculates that having your mouthpiece rest on a mustache could actually be really good for the blood circulation in your upper lip. That the hair itself acts as a cushion between the two hard surfaces i.e. the teeth and the metal mouthpiece.

Trumpet player #2

“I definitely notice that I have better endurance when I play on a mustache. I’m perfectly able to play without one as well but why not use all the tools we can find to our advantage?”

For Others Fresh Shaved Is The Only Option

I personally belong in this camp. Well, I don’t have to play on fresh shaved chops but I have found that this is when I have the most sensitivity in my upper lip, and thus, it helps me with control. And if I let the hair grow for many days, it really messes my playing up. I have tried but…

…I simply can not do it.

And I’m not alone in this…

Trumpet player #3

“There’s noway in hell I can play on a mustache. I just loos all the feeling and “connection” with the upper lip. Those tiny microscopic muscles need to be in direct contact with the mouthpiece…for me anyway”

Of Course, A Well Trimmed Beard Don’t Have To Get In The Way

Of course it’s possible to trim the hair on your upper lips so it never even get’s under the mouthpiece, should you be in the camp that can’t play with facial hair but still want to have a mustache. Well, for some people it might be a bit harder if they have a really high mouthpiece placement but even then it’s possible to get some kind of mustache going…

…this is how Rafael Mendez did it. He had a very thin mustache and his mouthpiece never touched it. Oh and by the way, that guy could really play the trumpet.

Some Trumpeters Say It Makes No Difference

Then we of course have the camp that say that it makes no difference whatsoever and this is, according to my small research, perhaps the most common answer as most trumpeters belong in this camp.

Trumpet player #4

“I don’t experience anything different in my trumpet playing if I play on a mustache. I’ve done it for many years and it did not make a difference. Right now I don’t have one but that’s just because I like the clean shaved looks”

Playing Trumpet With Facial Hair Conclusion

So there you have it. We are all different. Of course I gathered the info from more than 4 trumpet players but I find it unnecessary to quote everyone as they are all pretty similar. There are basically three camps out there…

  1. It can’t be done
  2. It improves my trumpet playing
  3. It makes no difference at all

…with the third and last one being the most common. I would say that the second one, “it improves my playing” was the smallest camp, but then again, this was not a very big “research” so don’t quote me too hard on that.

So, mustache or not? …

…we all have to find our own way, just like with everything else in life!

Thank you for reading.

Now I have to go shave my face!

-Robert Slotte-

P.S. In which cam do you belong? Can you play your trumpet if you don’t shave? Please feel free to leave a few words in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.



2 thoughts on “Playing Trumpet With a Mustache-Does Facial Hair Help or Hurt?”

  1. Excellent. Thank you. Love it.
    Perhaps you can do another one and take the mystery out of the embouchure for beginners, too.
    Like I find it a damn sight easier to make a sound with my lips kinda shaped as when you say ‘pooh’.
    But that’s all kinda slack and though I get a sound out of the horn and I expect it could get better and better as time goes on I still worry I’m off on entirely the wrong direction.
    So I try to do it with a mouth shaped as though to say ‘M’ – as they all tell to do.
    And that’s bloody hard and I really am not getting anywhere as yet.
    And I’m beginning to think maybe the truth is somewhere between the two?
    Because there’s ‘M’ shapes and ‘M’ shapes. You can do an ‘Mmmm’ like when you’re thinking something over happily maybe or an ‘M!’ when you’re disapproving. You know?
    One kinda soft and comfortable. The other hard and stressful.
    The way I read it right now I feel I have to keep trying to do this hard and stressful ‘M’.
    You might be able to throw some light on that aspect, which I would think I share with a lot of other people. 🙂

  2. It’s so funny to read an article on this topic. I am a long term beard person, I can’t even remember when was the last time I got an actual shave. I’m also a trumpet student, and I don’t think I ever played without facial hair. Sometimes, if my moustache is particularly long, I feel it messes up with my position, more particularly it takes more time than usual to position my lips. Then is when I know it’s time to trim – exactly the same thing when your lover tell you “you need to trim that thing.

    But as long my moustache doesn’t get into the “red” of my upper lip, it feels ok. Sometimes I wondered if I’m choosing the wrong way to learn, but then I remember that one of the teachers I had years ago was a Venezuelan musician with a massive moustache and he was just a badass trumpet player and his moustache didn’t ever seem to get in the way.

    I love your website! I have learned a lot of things, I find the article on pencil exercise VS P.E.T.E. very revealing!

    Thanks from a Spaniard living in the US!


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