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  • Writer's pictureRod Herbert BigSoundMusic

Brass Teaching Tips for New Starting Brass Instrumental Teachers.

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Brass Teaching Tips for New Starting Brass Instrumental Teachers

One of my great year 12 students Lauren will start teaching beginner trombone students!

What should I do she asks?

Any tips and ideas she asks?

Here is my response to her question of how and what!

I think these ideas have worked well for my students over many years!

Hey Lauren here is the first Brass lesson that I teach a new starting student


Here are photos of two versions one for trumpet starting on E note. Trombone starting on D note

Give them the photo above.

Use this every lesson in exact order

When you start using essential elements you must insist on student also doing the five steps in the photo above

Trombone Starting Notes for Beginners

Note I start in the middle on D, some books start higher on F or lower on Bb.

Work outwards higher and lower in pitch.

Trumpet Starting Notes for Beginners

Note I start in the middle on E, some books start higher on G or lower on C.

Work outwards higher and lower in pitch.

Music Reading Rules:

Teach kids when using any method book the music reading rules

1 - read, and then say the notes and sing with the slide position or finger as you sing music Name all 1/4 notes 1/8 notes minims etc

2- play each note as long as possible for pitch

3- find highest and lowest note then play the rhythm of the particular song. C cccc c

4- play the song.

Two Note, Three Note, Four Note Slurring on Harmonic Series

Lesson 3 or 4 when they can play two note using same finger or slide ie 4th position middle D then Low G This becomes two note slurs.

Add the higher G then becomes 3 note slurs!

Then week 3: add 2 note slurs

Then week 4: 3 note slurs start in 4th position or 12 valves.

Read Music Before They Sleep When Away From Instrument

Get student to read the page of music you are working on away from instrument before they go to sleep saying and singing notes with imaginary slide or valves.

This will speed up music literacy.

Use the rhythm pattern exercises in the back of the band method books

The Second and Third Years Playing Brass

My next ideas continue on as student progresses across into second third years of playing and beyond.

Breathing Gym Exercises

You must do breathing gym blowing air as long as possible 4 beats breath repeated then 8 then 12 then 16 then 20 beats etc

Slurring Exercises

You must do 3 note 4 note then eventually 5 note slurs.

As we do the higher exercises start on the lower fingers eg 13 or 23 on valves or 5th or 6th position on trombone.

Chromatic Scales

You must gradually do chromatics slow then double then fast-starting Bb then Ab then C then D the low F the Eb then high F then two-octave Low F to High F (I am now pushing about two years into learning but gradually add the complexity building blocks.

This builds range, speed and endurance.

Sight Reading Exercises

You must continually get them reading and sight-reading.

I also like to use drum method rhythm books like the Bill Kazelos Drum Book.

Caruso Exercises

Caruso six notes, Major Second, Major Third and then harmonic slurring 4note and 5notes.

Improvisation Development

Eventually, start simple improvising increasing.

Notes scales over simple funky grooves that you the teacher play etc whilst student explores say blues scales or pentatonic etc. Get then playing syncopated short rhythmic ideas in the upper register rather than lots of long notes. Shorts chromatic scale runs are also effective.

Building blocks

All these exercises are things that my teachers did when teaching me!

I have since discovered these come from a long line of brass teachers, for example, Remington, Arnold Jacobs, Caruso, Arban's, Clarke, Abersold etc

Use lots of different material adding as you go along keeping interested even when you start doing AMEB or Trinity College Examination material or band method books.

Keep it FUN

I hope this helps with you starting to teach beginner students

Remember to have them breathe and get them to listen to how it sounds and pay attention to how it feels playing an instrument.

Please give your own thoughts and ideas add to the discussion!

Cheers and stay cool!

Rod Herbert


Keep an eye open for my upcoming

“ Brass Practice Buddies” available on my website.

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