How to Play the Indiana Jones Theme Song on the Trumpet

Updated July 20, 2017

The Indiana Jones theme song, known as "Raiders March," is featured in each in the movies in the series, beginning with "Raiders of the Lost Ark," produced in 1981. Since then, the song has remained a favourite of young people and a challenge to perform by trumpet players. To master this music, it will take practice and patience over a period of time.

Find the best recording available to you and listen to it carefully. The usual title of the music is "Raiders March," composed by John Williams. Fortunately, there are a number of Internet sites that playback the original soundtrack of the song, so you will find a suitable recording with little trouble. Also, on YouTube you can find videos of different trumpet players playing the solo portion. Listen to the recording as you follow the steps to learn to play it yourself.

Study the notes on the sheet music. Write in the letter names above each note and the fingerings underneath each note by referring to the fingering chart. This should take care of any problem of remembering names and fingerings of notes.

Warm-up on the trumpet. If you do not have a set routine, try the following. Start on open "G" and sustain it for four beats, playing a whole note value. Go up and down on different notes to get the lips vibrating. Keep your mind focused on working toward a steady tone. Repeat these notes, but tongue "tah" four times on each pitch that you play. Now play the C Major scale from Middle "C," one ledger line below the staff to the "F," on the fifth line of the staff and back down.

Practice the March with the sheet music in front of you. First, concentrate on the rhythms. Keep a steady beat, as in the recording, and hold out the notes full value. It is a good idea to tap your foot to the beat as you practice. Breathe deeply like a professional and blow to keep a good steady sound. Breathe in about every two measures. For breathing reminders, place commas after every note where you take a breath. For example, put a comma after the dotted half note in the second measure and also after the third crotchet in the fourth measure. Keep going over short passages that give you trouble in rhythm until all mistakes are gone.

Pay close attention to any skips from a lower note to a higher note. In the beginning, It is normal to misjudge higher notes by playing too low. It takes proper setting of the lips, constant air flow into the instrument, and correct fingering to play any note. So, if you have this problem, increase the air flow by taking in a full breath and tighten your lips to the right tension. Repeated practice and determination goes a long way to correct many errors.


When you can play this piece three times in a row without making any mistakes, then you are ready to perform before others.

Things You'll Need

  • Trumpet
  • Trumpet fingering chart
  • Sheet music "Raiders March"
  • Pencil
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About the Author

Douglas Baer began writing in 1987, when he collaborated with colleagues to publish the music appreciation text "You and Music." He holds a Ph.D. in music education from Florida State University and taught music courses at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.