Skip to main content


The Trombone


Fun Facts about the Trombone

  • The trombone is a member of the brass family of instruments.


  • The trombone is unique! Instead of having valves like the rest of the brass instruments, the trombone uses a metal slide to change the sounds. 
  • A standard trombone is made of long, slender metal tubing. Two U-shaped tubes are linked at opposite ends to form an “S.” One tube slides into the other so the overall length of tubing can be extended or shortened at will. If you add up all the tubing, the trombone is around 9 feet long.
  • There are usually three trombones in an orchestra, and they often play together as a trio.
  • The trombone is played by holding it horizontally and buzzing into the mouthpiece. The right hand is used to push and pull the sliding piece to change the length of the tube, which changes the notes.
  • There are seven different playing positions of the slide. The lowest note is produced when the slide is fully extended.
  • The trombone is centuries old! For many years it was associated with church music and solemn ceremonies. Later, it was also used to create special sound effects, such as thunder or other natural phenomena.
  • One early version of the trombone was called a sackbut. The name was derived from the French words saquer (to pull) and bouter (to push).
  • In Italian, the word trombone means “big trumpet.”
  • In France today, the word trombone is not only the name of the instrument, but also the word for a paper clip! 



About the Brass Family

All members of the brass family:

  • are made of long brass tubes curled up into different shapes.
  • have cup-shaped mouthpieces that are buzzed into to create sound.
  • have a bell—that’s the flared end of the brass tube where the sound comes out! 




Where do you find trombones in an orchestra?
 


    • Trombones are usually seated in the back row of the orchestra. Even though it’s at the back of the stage, the trombone’s sound can be easily heard throughout the concert hall. There are usually 3 in the orchestra. Some music may call for only one or two, or as many as four or more!  


Listen to the Trombone 

Here are two wonderful pieces of music that feature the trombone—one is solemn and dramatic, and the other is 
light-hearted. Together, they show just how versatile the trombone can be.  


Mahler – Music from Symphony No. 3, first movement


Play

Mahler – Music from Symphony No. 3, first movement

All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.


  • Imagine the trombone as a great actor. In this music, the trombone is like an actor giving an important—and very serious—speech. When the music pauses, the speech is not over; the trombone still has more to say!


After you listen, draw a picture of what you think the music is about. Play the music again while you draw! Send it to us using the button below.




Stravinsky – Music from Pulcinella


Play

Stravinsky – Music from Pulcinella

All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.


The title Pulcinella is name of a clown, which means this is music for a comedy! There are two actors: the trombone and the double bass, two of the lowest-sounding instruments of the orchestra. As you listen to their duet, imagine the trombone and double bass telling funny stories, or playing jokes on each other, or just clowning around. 

    After you listen, draw two funny characters having fun together. Play the music again while you draw. Send it to us using the button below.



Click the button below to send us your drawing!

 

CLICK HERE TO SEND


Connect the Dots


Connect the dots to draw a trombone!




Click the button below to 
send us your art! 

CLICK HERE TO SEND




Be an Artist!


Color in the trombone and add a fun background, or draw your own trombone. You are the artist and can use whatever colors or designs you like to make it special!

Click the photo to print and draw

 



Click the button below to send us your art! We will add it to our online KIDS’ GALLERY, 
along with these other fine examples of kids’ art:  

CLICK HERE TO SEND


Lesson Plan for Teachers