How to Play SKA Trumpet

Written by eric michaels
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How to Play SKA Trumpet
Learn to play ska trumpet with a bright tone. (Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images)

Ska music is upbeat, quick and bright. It is a genre of Jamaican music that is combined with American jazz. Ska can be described as having a strong drumbeat on the second and fourth beats of the measure. Trumpets are featured strongly in ska and generally carry the main instrumental melodies of the song. To be a good ska trumpet player, you must have strong articulation and knowledge of major scales.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Play notes that fit within the key of the song. (Ska players rarely deviate from the key.) Stick to playful melodies around major scales. For example, if the song is in the key of C, play notes in the C major scale.

  2. 2

    Play syncopated notes that deviate from the bass line. The bass is usually on the upbeat and the guitar is usually on the backbeat. To play syncopated notes, learn to string melodies on the backbeat. The backbeat is the "and" of the beat (1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and).

  3. 3

    Play bright and tight. Concentrate on keeping your notes short and tied to the backbeat.

Tips and warnings

  • Ska trumpet players play with strong articulation. Notes do not slide into one another but are separated with articulation.

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