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Best Beginner Brass Books - Team Brass

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Team Brass Beginner Book

In this new series of blog posts I am going to review a selection of beginner 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.

First up is Team Brass by Richard Duckett for trumpet/cornet. It is available for Brass Band Instruments. Also for French Horn and bass clef readers here.

There is also a piano accompaniment book which is really useful for those teachers that also play the piano.

Something very helpful that Team Brass provides, is the ability to have beginner students playing different parts in small groups. This helps add interest to the sound of the music students are making but also helps differentiate a lesson. You can also teach students playing any instrument at the same time using the books providing each student has the correct book for their instrument or clef. The book is useful for students up to around grade 5 ability but doesn't have any of it's pieces listed in Trinity or ABRSM brass exam syllabuses.

Team Brass book for complete beginners

I like to use Team Brass with complete beginners but I find it does require some additional explanation in some areas. Right from the start, the book lacks any detailed information about breathing. It suggests that 'merely varying the lip-pressure' helps you play higher notes. I understand this point but it needs more description about how to use the air and how to make a nice sound.

The first musical notation pages are very user friendly. There are bubbles giving out basic information and within a very short time a student can easily be playing 3 notes and understanding 3 different written rhythms. I normally try and teach beginner students how to make a sound and how to tongue and slur on a variety of notes using a simple warm up routine before getting them to start reading music. This just allows the student to always be one step forwards in their playing ability than their note reading ability. For example if a student is learning to read 3 different notes, their routine should be helping them play higher than this.

A page from Team Brass

Team Brass takes you through a logical progression of theory, musicality and technical skills and also introduces important ideas like a warm up and scales. There is a large amount of musical language to learn from this book and it would be suitable for a none brass specialist teacher to use with brass students.

It covers time signatures and key signatures early on which is important because students can get comfortable with notation and if these areas are left later, students can struggle to embrace the new note reading requirements.

There is a brilliant contrast of musical styles and it includes a lot of famous melodies but I find myself using this book as a platform to learn new things with students. If a student is taking a grade 1 exam, they won't need this book but, it is useful for teaching them about quavers so it can be used alongside their grade repertoire. The same applies as a student progresses through to around grade 5.

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

Thank you for reading.

Mark Glover


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