Selection of trumpets and mouthpieces by classically-trained players for commercial music performance

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Performance

First Committee Member

John Olah - Committee Chair


The challenges and demands placed on present day trumpet players are difficult and intense. The practical confines of the trumpet range, endurance, and styles are constantly being stretched to their limits. The use of one mouthpiece and trumpet for all the genres of music is an impractical reality. Furthermore, there is little published advice on selecting mouthpieces and trumpets for commercial music (e.g., Latin, rock, big band swing), and even that is difficult to find. This study is an attempt to understand what types of mouthpieces and B-flat trumpets are selected for multi-platform performing and how they compare to the ones selected for classical music. Specifically, the types of equipment that are used when performing: (a) lead versus principal trumpet, non-solo and solo section positions, (b) different genres of commercial and classical music, and (c) when warming up on verses performing. The semi-structured interview technique was used to collect data. Four nationally renowned, classically trained, cross-platform trumpet players were interviewed: Vince DiMartino, Chris Jaudes, Brad Goode, and Jim Hacker. Their answers were transcribed, organized, and analyzed. The study produced the following major findings. First, the sound for commercial music is distinct from the sound for classical music in that it is brighter, more cutting and has more high frequencies. Second, mouthpieces used for commercial music performance generally have shallower cup depths, narrower rim diameters, and tighter backbores than typically used in classical music. In addition, trumpets used for commercial performing require a quicker response and a brighter, more pointed sound than classical trumpets. Also, the use of different sized bore B-flat trumpets is more common with commercial than classical music. Implications of this study provide practical suggestions for trumpet educators to help them understand the uniqueness of each student when aiding their search for mouthpieces and trumpets suited for commercial music. Topics for further research are recommended; which includes research on the psychological aspects of cross-platform trumpet playing and investigation of the design and manufacture of trumpets and mouthpieces by the leading companies.



Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text