Best Quotes About Trumpets and Trumpeters

There’s no other musical instrument like the trumpet. Its bold, fearless sound has made it a favorite in bands and orchestras around the world, in classical music, jazz music, and beyond.

Modern trumpet

Modern trumpet

Today, we’re celebrating legendary players, teachers, composers, and writers, all sharing their wit and wisdom about the trumpet.

Let’s go!

Hit it hard, and wish it well.

– Trumpeter and teacher Claude Gordon, on playing the trumpet

I know what the power of silence is. When I used to play in clubs, everybody was loud; there was a lot of noise. So I would take my mute off the microphone, and I would play something so soft that you could hardly hear it… and you talk about listening.

– Trumpeter and jazz musician Miles Davis, as quoted in Jazz-Rock Fusion: The People, the Music, by Julie Coryell and Laura Friedman

Miles Davis – So What

The majority of people who keel over dead at concerts are killed by a long trumpet passage.

– Writer and radio personality Garrison Keillor, We Are Still Married

Trumpets are a bit more adventurous; they’re drunk! Trumpeters are generally drunk. It wets their whistle.

– Singer-songwriter Paul McCartney, Playboy Magazine

Marsalis at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center Seventh Annual Jazz Festival in 2009

Marsalis at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center Seventh Annual Jazz Festival in 2009 © Wikipedia

Everything you ever had, everything you ever lost. It’s all there in the trumpet–pain and hate and trouble and peace and quiet and love.

– Novelist Ann Petry, “Solo on the Drums”

A lot of the musicians asked me if when I hit my high-Cs on the records I had a clarinet take the notes. Some [thought] I had invented some kind of gadget so I could play high register. They weren’t satisfied until they handed me a trumpet that they had with them and had me swing it. Then they cheered.

– Trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong, as quoted in The Sax & Brass Book by Tony Bacon and ‎Paul Trynka.

Louis Armstrong “When The Saints Go Marching In” on The Ed Sullivan Show

O Music! Miraculous art! A blast of thy trumpet and millions rush forward to die; a peal of thy organ and uncounted nations sink down to pray.

– Writer and British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Contarini Fleming

The nerves are a problem on the trumpet because when you mess up, everyone can hear it. Just remember most people are too polite to say anything about it. That should calm your nerves.

– Trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis

Paul McCartney in 2021

Paul McCartney © Wikipedia

Playing the trumpet is hard because it is so easy.

– Charles Schleuter, former principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony

As long as I have teeth, I’ll keep playing. You can’t play trumpet without teeth.

– Jazz trumpeter Lionel Ferbos to USA Today, 2011

I just learned my lyrics and tried not to bump into the trumpet player. That was my philosophy.

– Singer Jo Stafford

The trumpet is an extremely difficult instrument. It feels and reacts differently to the player each and every day.

– Trumpeter and composer Allen Vizzutti

Allen Vizzutti – Carnival of Venus

I love the sound of the distant bugle call in the countryside in early morning
I love to be pushed in busy crowds
I love the sound of gongs and trumpets along the streets
I love circus performances
I even wish to die in this moment of glorious encounter.

– Poet Ai Qing, “Jintian”

Trumpet players are just belligerent, and cocky, and you know, just hard-headed.

– Trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis, as quoted on

A man playing the trumpet

Playing the trumpet is such an intangible experience. The player is compelled to start from the beginning and build anew each day… It isn’t like building a house, where we resume where we left the previous accomplishments. Each new day we must rebuild the foundation of our musical structure.

– Orchestral trumpeter Armando Ghitalla

When the lip muscles are working well for you, stop! Feel them and memorize as best as you can, that feeling.

– Trumpeter Bobby Shew

Trumpeter Bobby Shew

Bobby Shew ©

My general comment again would be for a player to understand that the fundamental with which you play the instrument – how beautiful your sound is and how smooth your airflow is and how supported the sound is – is the fundamental for going up. Then you need to learn to manipulate the aperture. And also tongue placement helps: high and forward to create the quick air, like a garden hose with the nozzle open.

– Trumpeter and composer Allen Vizzutti, from this interview below:

The hardest part of playing the trumpet is the physical act of making the sound.

– Trumpeter and composer Tom Harrell

The first jazz musician was a trumpeter, Buddy Bolden, and the last will be a trumpeter, the archangel Gabriel.

– Trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis, as quoted in the Washington Post, April 1998

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