Trombone Care & Maintenance Videos

Trombone Care & Maintenance Page

The Basics


Sit on the edge of your chair, and always keep your:

  • Spine straight and tall
  • Shoulders back and relaxed
  • Feet flat on the floor

Breathing & Airstream

Breathing is a natural thing we all do constantly. To discover the correct airstream to play your instrument:

  • Place the palm of your hand near your mouth.
  • Inhale deeply through the corners of your mouth, keeping your shoulders steady. Your waist should expand like a balloon.
  • Slowly whisper "tah" as you gradually exhale air into your palm.

The air you feel is the airstream. It produces sound through the instrument. Your tongue is like a faucet or valve that releases the airstream.

Producing The Essential Tone

"Buzzing" through the mouthpiece produces your tone. The buzz is a fast vibration in the center of your lips. Your embouchure (ahm'-bah-shure) is your mouth's position on the mouthpiece of the instrument. A good embouchure takes time and effort, so carefully follow these steps for success:


  • Moisten your lips.
  • Bring your lips together as if saying the letter "m."
  • Relax your jaw to separate your upper and lower teeth.
  • Form a slightly puckered smile to firm the corners of your mouth.
  • Direct a full airstream through the center of your lips, creating a buzz.
  • Buzz frequently without your mouthpiece.


  • Form your "buzzing" embouchure.
  • Center the mouthpiece on your lips. Your teacher may suggest a slightly different mouthpiece placement.
  • Take a full breath through the corners of your mouth.
  • Start your buzz with the syllable "tah." Buzz through the center of your lips keeping a steady, even buzz. Your lips provide a cushion for the mouthpiece.

Taking Care Of Your Trombone

Before putting your instrument back in its case after playing, do the following:

  • Use the water key to empty water from the instrument. Blow air through it.
  • Remove the mouthpiece and slide assembly. Do not take the outer slide off the inner slide piece. Return the instrument to its case.
  • Once a week, wash the mouthpiece with warm tap water. Dry thoroughly.

Trombone slides occasionally need oiling. To oil your slide, simply:

  • Rest the tip of the slide on the floor and unlock the slide.
  • Exposing the inner slide, put a few drops of oil on the inner slide.
  • Rapidly move the slide back and forth. The oil will then lubricate the slide.
  • Be sure to grease the tuning slide regularly. Your director will recommend special slide oil and grease, and will help you apply them when necessary.

Getting It Together

Step 1: Lock the slide by turning the slide lock ring to the right. Carefully put the slide into the bell section at a 90 degree angle. Tighten the connector nut to hold the two sections together.

Step 2: Carefully twist the mouthpiece to the right into the mouthpiece receiver.

Step 3: Place your left thumb under the bell brace, and your index finger on top of the mouthpiece receiver. Gently wrap your other fingers around the first slide brace.

Step 4: Place your right thumb and first two fingers on the second slide brace.

Step 5: Support the trombone with your left hand only. Unlock the slide. Your right hand and wrist should be relaxed to move the slide comfortably. Hold the trombone as shown above.

Information above provided by Hal Leonard from the Essential Elements Methods Books.

Demonstration Videos

Trombone Assembly

Trombone General Care

Trombone Holding The Instrument

Trombone Embouchure

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