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Transposing to C - It's about as difficult as learning Pig Latin

After playing a church service for Easter, I made a brief video demonstrating how to play along with the hymnal or piano music when you're playing trumpet in church.

Transposing from a C part.

I enjoyed reading all the 68+ comments on the video in the Trumpets, Trumpeters and Trumpeting wesbite because it shows the variety of experience and confidence levels that people have.

For example, Mary Bradford Joy said that she has been "doing it for years", and back in the 60's, most churches didn't have published parts for trumpet and so it was totally necessary to transpose.

Glenn Butler said he just brings his C-trumpet. It sounds like he has an entire arsenal of trumpets that he brings along with him on church gigs... and even so, he does know how to transpose. But several people pointed out that not EVERYONE is lucky enough to have more than one axe.

Stephen Rizzo (the class clown) said "I transpose everything up a major seventh in my head and then down a major sixth," and Jeff Schweikardt said, "Just pull the tuning slide all the way in" LOL.

Alex Wolfe pointed out something important: "Practicing piano and then playing the same melody on trumpet helps too!"

Some people write out the parts ahead of time and others rely on their ear. Joe Wilson said, "I totally agree that transposition is essential for anyone considered a serious player."

While most people (the professional players) sounded like they already knew how to do it, some people still struggled

One person said that he felt he hadn't quite grasped it, and compared it to learning a new language.

Maybe, although I am not sure if it is quite that hard.

You see, like most people will tell you. To go from a C part and play it on your B flat, you just go up a step and add two sharps.

The thing is though, it's one thing to mentally undertand how to do it and another thing to be able to play it so well that it doesn't seem like you're transposing or doing anything extra.

That's where practice comes in.

If you want to develop this skill, I recommend getting some songs that you know and like (maybe vocal and piano parts) that don't include the trumpet part and practicing them. Get together with a piano player and pratice transposing the part with another person.

(You can use this search link from Sheet Music Plus to see if you can find anything you like.)

If you want more one-on-one attention, I can give lessons that revolve around transposing

For $99 I will prepare a packet of beginner, intermediate and advanced transposition workouts that will get you started, give you a chance to hone your skills and be prepared for any situation.

This will include the common C to B-flat transposition, but I'll also show you the ropes for other real life transposition situations that you may encounter.

You will have time to go through the packet, ask questions and practice. And then we'll have a lesson to test your skills and put you on the spot (so you'll be ready to do it in public in front of other people.)

Text me at 505-515-7001 if you want to do this, or email me at

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