My curriculum is based on fundamental concepts central to brass playing, and supported by a knowledge base of musical vocabulary, critical listening, etudes, and repertoire. I delineate levels according to a mastery of each concept, and so students may find that they are more advanced in some areas and less advanced in others. The studies in each level are representative of a toolkit that students will find useful for mastering each concept. This framework includes reading and listening, but other useful media may also be pertinent and assigned. I have avoided labeling each based on age/preconceived concepts of advancement. Each student will proceed through the levels at their own unique pace, using advancements made in one category to advance in others as well. Some will advance in one level or skill very quickly, only to find another much more difficult. For educators working through brass methods, a firm understanding of each concept will impart healthy habits upon students and create a framework for continued growth and exploration. This curriculum is meant to familiarize students and teachers with the principals and repertoire of the brass instruments, and effort has been made to include overlapping exercises and etudes.

Trumpet Level 1 (Beginner, Methods 1)

Introduction to trumpet playing, including learning harmonic series, the valve combinations, the fundamental physics of sound, embouchure formation, principals of airflow and Bernoulli. This level serves as the basis for developing a subconscious control of the body and begins to sensitize the ear to the necessary degree for playing trumpet. This level typically represents grades 4-6.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
IntroductionsPearson: “Standards of Excellence” book 1Selected Readings from Griffin: “Buzz to Brilliance”
FlexibilityHarms – Easy slurs
Octave glissandi
Mouthpiece sirens
“The Hard Work Narrative,” Andrew Harms“Trumpet Physics”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVs2G60-ilo&t=218s
Scales4 flats, 4 sharps
Solfege: Moveable “Do”
FlowClarke: Technical Studies, lines 1-21, 27-44 through 4 accidentals
Knopp: Trumpet Lyrical and Flow Studies, p. 1
Selected readings from Steenstrup: “Blow Your Mind,” [Chapter]
ArticulationGetchell: First Practical Studies for horn/trumpet, p.1-10
Sachs: Daily Fundamentals, #12
Selected reading from Farkas, Chapter 6
Representative RepertoireConcone: Lyrical Studies for trumpet or horn: #1, #6
Pelz, “Dedication”
Disney Songs
The Boston Pops: “John Williams Conducts John Williams”
ImprovisationRhythmic, one-note improvisation with metronomeMiles Davis: “Kind of Blue”

Trumpet Level 2 (Intermediate 1, Methods 2)

Level 2 continues to develop and build upon the basic skills from Level 1. This level typically represents grades 6-8.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
FlexibilityIrons, Groups 1-8
Bai Lin, p. 1-10
Mouthpiece lip slurs
Selected reading from Farkas: “The Art of Brass Playing,” Chapter 1, 3“Trumpet Physics”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVs2G60-ilo&t=218s
ScalesAll major scales
FlowClarke, p. 5-6, Etude I; Second Study, Etude II
Knopp, p. 5-6
ArticulationGetchell: First Practical Studies for horn/trumpet, p.10-20
Arban: p.26-31
Hakan Hardenberger: “The Art of the Trumpet”
Representative RepertoireSmith: “Valse au Pretemps”
Sor: “Antantino”
Concone, #2-5
ImprovisationBillboard Top 10
C, F pentatonic
Real Easy Book, selected heads

Trumpet Level 3 (Intermediate 2)

For many, Level 3 represents a period of high growth on the trumpet. Many of the fundamentals from Levels 1 and 2 begin to become second-nature, and often students will progress quickly to Level 4 in some categories. For others, there could be arrested development in some areas. It is important not to move on until some progress is made. This level usually represents grades 8-10.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
FlexibilityGlissandi over 13th
Schlossberg: “Daily Drils,” Introductory Notes
Irons, Groups 8-10
Tar: “The Trumpet”
ScalesAll major, harmonic minor scales
FlowClarke, Studies 1, 2, 3; Etudes I, II, III
Knopp: p.2, lines 1-4
ArticulationClarke, Studies 1-3 articulated
Hembree: “Articulation Studies,” p. 1-6
Intro to double, triple tonguing
Hembree: p. 7
Getchell: “Second Book of Practical Studies”
Representative RepertoireKnippel, “El Verano”
Knippel, “La Casa”
Bordogni, Vocalises #1-3
Improvisation12-bar blues: C, F
Mixolydian scales, 7 chords/arpeggios
Real Easy Book, selected heads

Trumpet Level 4

The fundamental concepts from Level 1-3 become the basis for technical exploration and growth (daily routine), and more etudes and repertoire are added to continue to develop those questions and formulate answers. If it is possible to introduce C trumpet, this is a good time. Scales should be second nature, and thus part of a daily routine; advancement now shifts toward transposition. This level usually represents advanced high school and early undergraduate study.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
FlexibilityGlissandi over 2 octaves; mouthpiece and trumpet
Scales + lip trill
Bai Lin, 1-15
TranspositionC, Ab
FlowClarke, Studies 4, 5, 6; Etudes I-VI
Knopp: p. 7-10
Concone, Bordogni
ArticulationArban, p. 155-171; 238-245
Goldman: “Practical Studies,” #1-5
Sachse: “One Hundred Studies,” 3-5
Brandt: “Orchestral Etudes,” #1-3
Representative RepertoireGoedicke, “Concert Etude”
Haydn: “Concerto in Eb,” mvmt 2
Anderson, “Trumpeter’s Lullaby”
Gaubert, “Andante et Scherzetto”
Mussorksky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3
ImprovisationC blues: Davis, “Freddie Freeloader”
F blues: Rollins, “Bags Groove”
All mixolydian, dorian scales

Trumpet Level 5

Level 5 represents an early understanding of a professional skillset. Included at this level are introductions to performance psychology, significant exploration of advanced concepts such as free buzzing, mouthpiece buzzing, circular breathing, tongue level studies, etc. Much of this work is prescriptive as problems become increasingly technical. Students at this level may feel the need to begin competitive activities such as solo competitions and auditions. They may feel restricted by their knowledge of the repertoire and feel tempted to spend outsized time on solos and excerpts. However, the bulk of practice should be spent on etudes.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
FlexibilityGlissandi, lip trills, free buzzing
Descending lip slurs
Aperture studies
ScalesAll major; harmonic, natural, and melodic minor
FlowDamrow: “Fitness for Brass,” Pedal tones
ArticulationBousquet: “36 Celebrated Studies for Trumpet,” #2-4
Charlier: “36 Transcendental Etudes,” #1, 3, 12
Damrow: Portato
EtudesBitsch: “Vingt Etudes,” 1, 3, 5
Longinotti: “12 Etudes,” 4, 7, 8
Collins: “In the Classic Style”
Charlier: 2, 4, 6, 8
RepertoireCharlier: “Solo de Concours”
Enesco: “Legende”
Haydn, Hummel, Arutunian concertos
Hindemith, Kennan, Pilß sonatas
Stravinsky: “Ballerina’s Dance and Waltz”
Respighi: “Pines of Rome,” mvmts 1, 2
Mahler: “Symphony No. 5”

French Horn Level 1

My approach to introductory French horn is similar to trumpet: sound production, flexibility, flow, and low articulation. This curriculum is designed such that a trumpet player can effectively and completely teach a young horn player from beginning to 7th grade. Many of the same books and solos from Trumpet Level 1 work here as well. A trumpeter should be prepared to transpose down a 4th or up a 5th on Bb trumpet.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
IntroductionsPearson: “Standards of Excellence” book 1 (trumpet book works well for individual study)Gavin: “Horn Pedagogy 101”
Boldin: “Teaching Young Horn Players”
FlexibilityGradin: “Lip Slurs” Level 1
Scales4 flats, 4 sharps
Solfege: Moveable “Do”
FlowChicowicz: “Flow Studies,”
Knopp: p.8 A, B
ArticulationGetchell: First Practical Studies for horn/trumpet, p.1-10
Rubank: “Elementary Method for French Horn,” selections
Representative RepertoireDisney Songs
Concone: Lyrical Studies for trumpet or horn: #1, #6
Belwin: “F Horn Solos” volume 1
Alfred: “Classic Festival Solos for Horn,” volume 1
The Boston Pops: “John Williams Conducts John Williams”

French Horn Level 2

A continuation of the principals outlined in Level 1, this curriculum is designed to allow a trumpet player to guide a young horn student from grade 7 through early high school. At this level, the trumpeter will need to be aware of the pedal register of the horn, as well as when/how to transition between F and Bb horn. The trumpet player has several choices to facilitate the young horn player: transpose up/down as appropriate on Bb or C trumpet, to transpose up a step on Eb trumpet, and Bb piccolo can be a useful tool for familiarizing the teacher with F horn fingerings. Although the principals are fundamentally the same between trumpet and horn, the teacher should own and have some facility on a horn mouthpiece, because the angle and lip proportions differ from trumpet. Pro tip: a trumpeter will recognize much of Kopprasch!

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
IntroductionsPearson: “Standards of Excellence” book 2 Farkas: “The Art of Brass Playing”
FlexibilityGradin: “Lip Slurs” Level 2-3
ScalesAll major scales
FlowChicowicz: “Flow Studies”
ArticulationGetchell: First Practical Studies for horn/trumpet, p.11-20
Rubank: “Intermediate Method for French Horn,” selections
Representative RepertoireAlfred: “Classic Festival Solos for Horn,” volume 2
Kaufman: “12 Solos for French Horn”
Kopprasch: “60 Selected Studies”

Trombone/baritone/euphonium Level 1

Like horn curriculum, this curriculum is designed to contain significant pedagogical crossover between trumpet and trombone/euphonium. Descending valve combinations roughly correspond to descending slide positions, but be aware that all slide positions are generalized approximations, so special care should be given to teaching young students to adjust, especially 4th position D and G. A trumpeter can either read bass clef and transpose down a step, or they can transpose down a fifth without altering the key signature (not unlike how many read tenor and alto clef). Euphonium players should learn in bass clef.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
IntroductionsPearson: “Standards of Excellence” book 1Vienna Symphonic Library: “History of the Tenor Trombone,” “History of the Bass Trombone”
FlexibilityWhitaker: “Daily Fundamentals”
Scales4 flats, 4 sharps
Solfege: Moveable “Do”
FlowBousfield: “Unlocking the Trombone Code”
ArticulationClarke: “Technical Studies”
Rubank: “Elementary Method for Trombone and Euphonium,” selections
Representative RepertoireDisney songs
Alfred: “Classic Festival Solos for Trombone,” volume 1
OR
Alfred: “Classical Festival Solos for Euphonium”
ImprovisationRhythmic, one-note improvisation with metronome

Trombone/baritone/euphonium Level 2

Brass teachers teaching in Level 2 should be familiar with the function and use of the trombone F attachment, and additional valves of the euphonium/baritone. As young players advance, many will double between bass trombone, euphonium, and tuba. Brass teachers should pursue a working knowledge of brands and makes of both tenor and bass trombone, as well as differentiations between small shank and large shank mouthpieces and other mouthpiece metrics. As students progress, a teacher will need to become familiar with bass trombone, its repertoire, and the positions for the second trigger and pedal tones. As with horn, curriculum for more advanced students is available upon request.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
IntroductionsPearson: “Standards of Excellence” book 2
FlexibilityWhitaker: “Daily Fundamentals”
Clarke: “Technical Studies,” Study 3
ScalesAll major scales
FlowBousfield: “Unlocking the Trombone Code”
Chicowicz: “Flow Studies in Bass Clef”
Clarke: “Technical Studies,” Study 1
ArticulationClarke: “Technical Studies,” Study 2
Rubank: “Intermediate Method for Trombone and Euphonium,” selections
Representative RepertoireAlfred: “Classic Festival Solos for Trombone,” volume 2
OR
Alfred: “Classical Festival Solos for Euphonium” volume 2
Kimsky-Korsakov: “Concerto”
Kopprasch: “60 Selected Studies”
Snidero: “Easy Jazz Conception”
Yeo: “Tempted by the Serpent”
Bass trombone resourcesOstrander: “Method for Bass Trombone”
Bach: “Cello Suites arr. Yeo”
Wilder: “Sonata”
Carubia: “Bird Lady”
Snidero: “Jazz Conceptions for Bass Trombone”
Herbert: “The Trombone”

Level 2 Tuba

Although many of the fundamentals are the same, teaching tuba can be very different from teaching trombone. You will see that I omitted a Level 1 tuba curriculum. This is because most young bodies are simply too small to hold a tuba, and it is better to start them on euphonium or trumpet. Often, tuba players will be trumpeters or euphonium players who learned music in treble clef, so the first priority should be familiarizing players with bass clef. The useable range of the tuba is greater than even the trombone, so the teacher should reference a fingering chart and know the harmonic series well beyond the 13th harmonic, and familiarize themselves with how tuba players use a fourth valve and manipulate the main tuning slide. For cornetists, the mechanism for slide manipulation is a manual version of a universal thumb trigger.

ConceptStudies/repertoireReadingListening
IntroductionsPearson: “Standards of Excellence” book 1-2
(bass clef familiarity)
FlexibilitySwoboda: “Lip Slurs for Tuba,” 1-10
Arnold: “Special Studies”
ScalesAll major scales
FlowVining: “Flow Studies for BBb Tuba”
Chicowicz: “Flow and Lyrical Studies for Tuba”
Vassilyev: “Melodic Studies”
Clarke: “Technical Studies”
ArticulationGetchell: “Practical Studies for Tuba”
vol 1-2
Arban: “Complete Conservatory Method”
Kopprasch: “70 Studies”
Herbert: “Cambridge
Companion to Brass Instruments”
Representative RepertoireDisney songs
Alfred: “Classic Festival Solos,” volume 2
Bach/Bell: “Air and Bourrée”
Griffith: “Recitative and Capriccio”
Kopprasch: “60 Studies”
Blazhevich: “70 Studies”
Bixby: “Bach for the Tuba” vol 1-2
Baines: “Brass Instruments”