How to Hold a Trombone

Before you begin playing the trombone, it will always be important to learn how to properly use it first. In the beginning, it can be slightly unsettling, and knowing where to place your hands can become difficult to grasp. Also, if you pick up wrong habits, it can set you back from learning how to play.

Here, we’ll provide the steps about how to hold a trombone correctly to help you learn how to improve your playing skills more efficiently.

How to Hold a Trombone

Below are the steps you should take when learning how to hold your trombone:

Step 1) Set the trombone upright and stand it on the ground facing you.

Placing the trombone on the ground will maintain balance and allow you to work on getting your hand into the correct position for holding. Ensure that the bell is facing in the opposite direction and have the opening displayed as it rests on the floor. The slide must be pulled as far as it can backward. Grab hold of the shaft while you get ready to grip. This will keep the trombone steady and in place.

Step 2) Grip the brace near the bell tube with your left hand.

With the left hand, you’ll be allowing the weight to be taken off the trombone. First, grip the brace and the second bell tube using an ‘L’ shaped finger, shaped like a gun. Grip the brace using your middle two fingers and your pinky. The first of your middle fingers will wrap around the top, with the thumb wrapping around the bell brace for a good solid grip.

While a trombone is usually set up for right-hand play, most left-handed players use their left hand for gripping and their left hand for working the slide.

Step 3) Working the slide.

When the slide is drawn back, the length of distance that the air must travel through extends, resulting in a lower pitching sound. To work the slide properly, the second brace must be gripped, followed by drawing back your arm.

Although there are several methods for gripping your slide, there are some guidelines that should always be followed to ensure you’ll hold your trombone correctly. This is important since by holding it correctly, you’ll be able to learn skills better. They are as follows:

  • Pinch the slide brace at the bottom using your first and second fingers and your thumb.
  • Grip the slide from below to allow you to draw it back further.
  • Keep the rest of your fingers beneath the slide to take the weight off the trombone.

Step 4) Grip the slide with fingers one to four.

Ensure your pinky finger is positioned out of the way, so it doesn’t interfere with your grip. Move the slide back and forth and away from the fingers of your opposite hand that’s positioned near the bell.

Step 5) Lift the trombone onto your shoulder.

Lastly, you’ll want to lift the trombone onto the opposite shoulder of your playing hand. For example, if you’re a right-handed player, you’ll be lifting the trombone and setting it onto your left shoulder. Make any adjustments as needed to ensure you have a proper grip. Now, you’re ready to play.