The next time you teach your beginning (or need to remind your not-so-beginning!) trumpet players how to hold the trumpet with correct hand position, try using the analogy of holding a hamburger. That’s right, a hamburger! Picture a giant hamburger sitting on a plate in front of you. Now you’re going to pick it up by putting all of your fingers under the bottom of the roll. Then put your thumbs on top to hold it together. Now lift the imaginary hamburger off the plate and rotate it so you are looking at your thumbs and the bottom of the roll. Then rotate your right wrist down so your right thumb goes under your fingers. Then you are ready to grab your trumpet with that hand position. It is perfect! Your right fingers are gently rounded so the pads of your fingers can set down right on the valve caps. The right thumb is aligned to go between the first and second valve casings. The left thumb is in place to sit in the first valve saddle. The left ring finger ready to go in the third valve ring as the rest of the left fingers are in perfect position to wrap around the valve casings. Teaching holding position this way allows you to fix sloppy hand position, reminding students of the correct way, by simply saying one word: “hamburger!” Though it is a challenge to describe this visual gimmick in words, it is amazingly simple to show it to students, and it is astounding how well it works!! 

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. Dr. Boonshaft is currently on the faculty of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, where he is Professor of Music. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.”