Marching Band Trumpet: Your Complete Guide

The trumpet is one of the most popular instruments for students to select to play. A trumpet is a brass instrument that consists of a piece of piping that has two areas where the tube is bent. Trumpets have a flared shape bell and use a cup-shaped mouthpiece.

When changing notes, a musician will press down the valves on the top of their horn using their right hand. To produce sound, a musician will blow air through partially closed lips.  This creates a vibration of the lips through a technique called “buzzing”. 

Are there Trumpets in Marching Band?

Yes! Trumpets are part of a Marching Band’s brass section. Trumpets will often play the main melody in songs because the sound is loud enough to reach the stands. Trumpets have been used in military bands for centuries, even on battlefields. 

Brass Captain playing trumpet in marching band

What is a Marching Trumpet?

A Marching Trumpet is the same as a Bb trumpet that you will play when in a concert band, jazz band, or orchestra. A Marching Trumpet may be a “student” instrument. These student instruments are made with stronger metals.

Many people in high school and college marching bands use a student horn. For all marching instruments, it is recommended that students use an instrument that isn’t their “good” instrument. A more expensive instrument you would use in a concert setting may get damaged while in a marching band. 


There are many different types of trumpets. Two unique kinds of trumpets sometimes make an appearance in Marching Bands. The piccolo trumpet and the bass trumpet.

Since these are not standard Marching Band instruments, they are often used for solos. The piccolo trumpet is smaller in size than a regular trumpet, and they are also pitched an octave higher. The bass trumpet is larger than a standard trumpet but is much lower in tone. Considered “low brass,” but it sounds similar to a trombone.  

In high school Marching Bands, it is common to see a mix of silver and yellow gold/lacquered trumpets. In some college Marching Bands, the entire section will have matching trumpets.

These may be provided by the school and used at games, parades, and other performances. A silver Marching Trumpet will sound the same as a lacquered Marching Trumpet. 

How and Where to buy a Trumpet for Marching Band

Trumpets, like all instruments, are expensive.  Many musicians have a professional or high-quality Trumpet for Concerts or Jazz bands. They often have a second Trumpet for Marching Band. That is not as expensive and are ones that they are okay with them getting dents and dings from Marching Band. There are three options for purchasing a Trumpet for Marching Band.

One way to purchase a Trumpet for Marching Band from a music instrument store near you. Trumpets are very popular brass instruments, and stores will have them in stock more than other brass for Marching Band.

Top Tip: A Student Trumpet is an excellent choice for both Marching and Concert bands. You do not have to buy a Student Trumpet if there aren’t any at the store; a trumpet is a trumpet.

The second option is to buy a used trumpet from websites like eBay, Reverb, or’s Used Brass Instruments.

A used trumpet is a less expensive option for many people. Used horn prices can range from $200 to $1,000. As long as the horn is in good condition, nobody will be able to hear the difference between a new or a used Marching Band Trumpet.

The third option is to purchase the trumpet online from a music company’s website. Some highly recommended and reliable music instrument companies you can find online are

  1. Musician’s Friend 
  2. Woodwind & Brasswind
  3. Music and Arts

There is no difference between the kind or brand of Marching Band Trumpets for high school and college musicians. A professional series or grade trumpet can be used for Marching Band.

However, musicians and band directors recommend using a student trumpet during marching season. Save the expensive horn for a concert setting because you do not want to damage your “nice horn.”

When in a Marching Band, you will get dents, dings, and scratches on your horn. Things like running into other musicians on the field, setting your horn down, and a million other things and ways that a horn can get minor damage.

Top Tip: A used or a student trumpet is best for Marching Band because student horns tend to be made for a bit of wear and tear. The musician, practice times, and playing ability make a horn good or bad, not the horn itself.

Some of the qualities to look for when purchasing a Trumpet for Marching Band are:

  • The condition of the horn’s body.
  • If the valves can move fluidly. You should be able to press the valves easily, and they shouldn’t stick when pressed down.
  • The bore size. The bore size of the trumpet is important to consider as well. The bore is the diameter of the tubing in the trumpet.

The size of the bore determines how much air a musician will need to use to play a note or sustained pitch. Intermediate and professional trumpets have a larger bore size. Student trumpets tend to have a bore size of around 0.459 inches.

 In the chart below, bore sizes and more are listed for four brands with popular models of  Trumpets for Marching Band.

Brand and ModelKeyBore Size (in inches)Bell Diameter(in inches)FinishPrice
Bach LR189537 Stradivarius Series Trumpet




Bach BTR 301 USA Student Series Trumpet




Lacquer or Silver 
Lacquer: $1,539.00Silver:$1,779.00
Jupiter JTR700SA Student Trumpet




Jupiter JTR77 Standard Series Student Trumpet





King 1117 Ultimate Series Marching Trumpet 





King 2055 Silver Flair Series Trumpet





Yamaha YTR-2330 Standard Trumpet



Lacquer or Silver
Lacquer: $1,499.00Silver:$1,699.00
Yamaha YTR-8335S Xeno Series Trumpet



Lacquer or Silver

Not all websites and music stores charge the same prices for their instruments. The prices in the chart are what Woodwind & Brasswind’s website lists as the price for each trumpet. 

How to Rent a Trumpet for Marching Band

Buying a new Trumpet for Marching Band is expensive. Renting a Trumpet for Marching Band is a great option and common practice.

You can rent a Trumpet for marching season or for the entire academic year. You might be able to borrow one of the school’s Trumpets for Marching Band. If you cant borrow an instrument from your school, you can rent one from a music instrument store.

Many local music and instrument stores offer instrument rentals for students. When you rent an instrument, a small down payment is made, and an instrument is given to you.

After a month of using the horn, there will be a set amount of money that is paid to the instrument store each month going forward. When the marching season ends, the instrument is returned to the store you borrowed it from.

Renting a Trumpet for Marching Band is an easy process and is a great alternative to buying a new instrument.

Top Tip: Adding instrument insurance is a wise idea when you rent a Trumpet for Marching Band. The instrument insurance plan will only raise the monthly rental fees a slight amount, but it is worth it.

Without instrument insurance, if your rented Trumpet for Marching Band is damaged, you will have to pay for the instrument to be repaired. You will only have to pay for part of the repair fee with instrument insurance, and the store takes care of the rest.

Another type of music instrument rental program that may be available where you live is a rent-to-buy program.

A rent-to-buy program is just like a standard instrument rental, paying a set amount of money each month to use the instrument. At the end of the year, you have the ability to purchase the instrument that you had been using.

As a member of a marching band, there should never be any pressure on you to buy an instrument. Rental programs are available even when in a college marching band.

How to Hold a Trumpet in Marching Band

If you already know how to hold a trumpet while playing in a concert band, you already know how to hold a Trumpet in Marching Band. There is only one major difference when it comes to holding a Trumpet in a Marching Band. You must make sure that your horn angle is even and at the same height as the other members in your section.

If you are not a trumpet player and want to join a marching band, that is okay. Take a look at the labeled photo of a trumpet below to familiarize yourself with the parts of a Marching Band Trumpet.

Labeled parts of the trumpet. 

Left-Hand Position on a Trumpet

Do not let the palm of your left hand rest on or against the valve casings. While it may feel natural to rest or place your palm around the valve casings, it impacts the sound of your instrument. Your horn will sound slightly muted and muffled if your palm touches the valve casings.

Keeping the left palm away from the valve casings will help you tune your trumpet. Holding the left palm away from the casings will allow your thumb and ring finger to operate the first and third valve slides. It should be comfortable and not cause any strain to move the slides if the palm does not grip the valve casings.

That is the standard grip for the left hand for a Marching Band Trumpet. Your grip should be firm and solid but not crushing or clenching your hand. Time to move on to the placement of your right hand. It is nice and straightforward.

Right-Hand Position on a Trumpet

With your right hand, place your thumb between the first and second valves on the trumpet’s body. Your pointer, middle, and ring fingers will rest lightly on top of the valve caps. To operate the valves, don’t use the tips of your fingers to press the valves down; it will put a strain on your wrist and hand. Instead, use the pads of your fingers.

Your right pinky should be held like a teacup, pinky up. There is a ring after the third valve on top of the horn that your pinky could rest in or on top of. Unless your section leader or band director tells you to use the pinky ring with your right hand, it is the proper technique to keep the pinky up.

Your section leader, other members of your section, or director are great people to ask to check that you are holding your horn correctly. If you have never held a trumpet, it may feel strange and uncomfortable at first. After one or two marching practices holding your horn will feel more natural. Below is a great video showing how to hold your Trumpet for Marching Band.

How Much Does a Marching Trumpet Cost?

If a Marching Trumpet is brand new or a used horn will determine the cost of the instrument. All new instruments will cost more than used ones. A used horn is a more budget-friendly option if you want to buy your own horn. A used Marching Trumpet sold on auction websites like eBay range from $60.00 to over $3,000.

When it comes to the price of a new Marching Trumpet, the horn’s finish will make the instrument more or less expensive. Silver Marching Trumpets will be more costly than lacquered horns. As seen earlier in the chart comparing different trumpets, a new silver Marching Trumpet can cost anywhere between $1,650.00 and $4,000.00.

Lacquer Marching Trumpets are less expensive than silver horns. They are still instruments, and a brand new instrument is going to cost more than a used instrument. A new lacquer Marching Trumpet can cost anywhere between $1,400.00 and $3,000.00. Not all music stores or websites will charge the same price for each instrument. Your new Marching Trumpet could cost more or less than the ranges given here.

How Much Does a Marching Trumpet Weigh?

The weight is dependent on the type of trumpet, the brand, and the materials used in its manufacturing. Of all the brass Marching Band instruments, the Marching Trumpet is the lightest. A standard Bb trumpet will weigh anywhere between 2 and 2.6 pounds. The mouthpiece you use and its material and size can add a few more ounces to the total weight of the trumpet. 

Note: Want to know what the difference is between Trumpet, Cornet, and Flugelhorn? This article has all the info! Trumpet VS. Cornet VS. Flugelhorn (A Complete Comparison)

Best Marching Trumpet Mouthpieces

Some musicians consider the type and size of a Mouthpiece to be more important than the brand or finish of a horn.

It is important to know that Trumpet Mouthpieces vary in price, materials, and brands. It is okay to use the same Mouthpiece you are used to or buy a new one. You can always ask your band director (new one or your middle school director) what they recommend for a Marching Trumpet Mouthpiece.

Here are some of the best options for buying a Marching Trumpet Mouthpiece:

Bach Mega Tone Trumpet Mouthpiece – $119.00.

Schilke Standard Series Trumpet Mouthpiece – $67.50

Yamaha Standard Trumpet Mouthpiece 11 – $45.99

Best Marching Trumpet Case

All new, rental, and most used instruments come with a case. You can always buy a different case for your Trumpet for Marching Band if you want to.

Two excellent cases that you can buy would be the Protec Standard PRO PAC Trumpet Case Black and Gator GC Molded Trumpet Case. Both brands sell excellent quality cases, and you have the option of using a softer case like the PRO PAC or a hardshell case like the Gato.

Up Next: The Marching French Horn (Mellophone): Your Complete Guide

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