Brass-instrumentsAs a brass player one of the most common sentences I hear is “I want to learn a brass instrument but which is the easiest to play?”

When I started many years ago, I really wanted to play the Trumpet. However, when the brass teacher asked me to blow a raspberry sounding noise called a buzz, the teacher said “Your lips are too big and fat to play a trumpet so you need to pick a lower brass instrument.”  From that day I have played the trombone.

I’m going to explore which instruments are the easiest to play. All brass instruments are played the same way – by creating a vibration of the lips when blowing air through them (called a buzz). The thing to remember is that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another.

Things to consider when picking the right instrument:


Mouthpiece size

MouthpieceThis is the most important factor when picking a brass instrument to learn. If you blow a raspberry and it sounds quite high then you would possibly find playing a Trumpet or Cornet easier than playing an instrument with a larger mouthpiece for an example like a Trombone or Baritone.  This is not a golden rule, but if you are undecided, try out a few different instruments after a couple of notes you will find the one that feels most comfortable for you.



Instrument size

Trumpet-v-CornetThis may sound a silly point to mention but a very important one.  As with all brass instruments you need to hold them up to the mouth to play them.  These can become quite heavy after a while so it’s an important thing to consider. The Trumpet and the Cornet are the lightest of the brass instruments.  The Cornet will feel slightly easier to hold due to being more compact in length and tighter wrapped meaning the weight is better distributed by the hand.

Out of the lower instruments, the easiest to be held is the Baritone as this is can be rested on the leg and is not too heavy.  If the performer is comfortable when they play they will be motivated to practice compared to a performer who gets pain from holding the instrument whilst playing.


trombone-1-300x300The Trombone is the only brass instrument that uses a slide to alter pitches (high and lower) instead of using valves. The slide makes the trombone very challenging to start on due to instruments weight when using the slide. Also learning where to put the slide is hard rather than just remembering valve combinations.  A long arm is required to play the trombone so that you can reach the end of the slide.



Pick the instrument you would like to play

Enjoyment is what every performer needs to feel when they are playing a brass instrument. When I first started I really wanted to play the trumpet. However, I couldn’t produce a sound out of it, with the size of the mouth piece being small. So it wasn’t a good idea to struggle even when I couldn’t produce a note.  If I could’ve produced a note I would have played the trumpet as this was the instrument that I wanted.

If you’re able to play the instrument of your choice then this is always recommended if you enjoy playing this instruments then the rate of succession will be greater. Over time you may be able to change instruments and play your chosen instrument.


Here is a list of the starter instruments that I recommend:


Sonata Student Bb Cornet

Sonata Student Bb trumpet

Sonata Baritone

Sonata Trombone

The Sonata brand of instruments is a leading brand of premium student instruments designed for beginners. All of the instruments are made from high quality materials resulting in a robust, well made instrument.

The cases are very stylish and provide a good level of protection for the instrument.


As you can see there is not an easy answer to which instrument is easiest – it is down to each individual. The most popular choices are the cornet and the trumpet, with the trombone and baritone most popular of the slightly lower instruments.  If you enjoy playing brass instruments then you progress.


If the Price of buying a Brass Instrument is putting you off try Normans Rental Package.






I hope you have found this blog useful and if you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our brass team.


About the author

Stephen started with Normans in 2014 after graduating from London College of Music with a BMus in tenor trombone performance. These days you'll find him gigging across the country and teaching to fill his time.