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Best Beginner Brass Books - Polished Brass

Updated: Mar 8

Polished Brass Cover Image

In this new series of blog posts, I am going to review a selection of brass books that I personally use for teaching beginners, resources for intermediate players and even some study books which I use with students up to grade 8.

These blog posts will contain Amazon affiliate links but always browse around for similar products on the internet or in your local music shop.

I have found, that I never use one whole book with students but dip in and out of a few different ones to suit the needs of the student, so look out over the coming weeks for my blogs specifically targeting other brass resources.

In this blog, I am reviewing Polished Brass by Lizzie Davis. This book contains unaccompanied solos from both Trinity and ABRSM grade syllabuses from grade 1 to 5. It is one of my favourite beginner brass books for treble clef readers.

This book does something that is also found in Team Brass. It puts the same melodies in different keys or starting on a different note. This makes the book very accessible for students that might struggle to play the lower notes or the higher notes. I do not find, in my teaching, that this happens very often but it is useful none the less.

Teaching Beginner Brass Players About Dynamics With Polished Brass

Some of the method books I have already reviewed do not teach beginners about dynamics straight away. I understand why they do it like that but for me, the sooner you can teach beginners about keys, time changes and dynamics, the easier they pick it up. I have taught brass players, that have started learning with someone else, who have no ability to change dynamics. This is because they have never been asked to do it and they get good at playing one dynamic so it is very important to get into good habits.

Polished Brass generally includes plenty of dynamics in a way that enhances the music. I find for some students, this book is the one that helps them the most with understanding dynamics markings in notation.

Page from Polished Brass

The book has some interesting musical terms at the start of each piece and I think I would prefer Italian terms to be used, just because that is what is widely used, but I can also see the logic in trying to encourage learners to think about mood and style in their playing.

The book is very cleanly set out. Each piece has a very brief comment as a sort of 'tip' for how to approach that music. This is useful, especially as it isn't taking up music space on the page.

This is a book I make sure I have on me every time I go to teach brass players and I highly recommend it. You would need to teach a player the basics of producing a sound and reading music prior to using this book but it is suitable for players even from a pre-grade 1 standard.

The book is also very useful for sight reading practice. If a student is around grade 5, I could select a piece from this book at around grade 3 standard to use as a sight reading challenge. The melodies in the book are all original, so this also means the student must learn the music properly and not rely on any 'playing by ear' as some students do when they already know a melody.

Look out for the next post in this series of reviews and I hope you have found it useful.

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Thank you for reading.

Mark Glover


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