I owe my success as a trumpet player to my parents, my teachers, and many many of hours of practice from the books listed below.

I’ve categorized each book based on 3 criteria:

  • Difficulty Level (easy, medium, hard),
  • Focus (technique, phrasing, transposition),
  • Practical Use (auditions, practice, technique).

You won’t find a professional trumpet player who hasn’t used most, if not all, of these books.

As always, if you think there are books that should be listed here that aren’t, let me know in the comments.


Technical Studies for the Cornet by Herbert L. ClarkeClarke Technical Studies


Herbert L. Clarke was one of the most virtuosic cornet players of all time, redefining what was possible on the instrument. This method book includes some of the most quintessential exercises for trumpeters… go back stage to any major concert hall or conservatory and you will surely hear the best trumpeters working on passages from this book.

  • Difficulty: progresses from easy to hard
  • Focus: technique (articulation, finger exercises)
  • Use: personal practice



Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet – Jean Baptiste Arban

Often referred to as the “Bible of Trumpet,” Arban’s method book is easily the most comprehensive, and popular method books ever created.  I have yet to meet a brass player that doesn’t use this book.

  • Difficulty: progresses from easy to hard – usd by beginners and pros alike
  • Focus: technique, (triple tonguing, double tonguing, flexibility, vibrato, trills, articulation, scales), phrasing (includes duets, “characteristic studies” and theme and variation-type concert pieces.”  This book has it all.  A must-have!
  • Use: personal practice, auditions, juries, duets



Daily Drills and Technical Studies by Max Schlossberg


One of the best books for developing flexibility.  I learned how to lip trill using this book–this is a major moment in any trumpet or horn player’s life as the instrument immediately becomes WAY easier. Do yourslef a favor and get this book!

  • Difficulty: progresses from easy to hard
  • Focus: technique, focus on flexibility
  • Use: personal practice




34 Studies (Based on Orchestral Motives) by Vassily Brandt


This book if one of my favorites: nearly every etude in this Brandt – 34 Studies book is a musical gem.  They are each based on famous orchestral repertoire which makes these ideal for preparing for orchetral concerts and orchestral excerpts and developing an orchestral style sound.

  • Difficulty: medium/hard
  • Focus: musicality/phrasing, sound, intonation
  • Use: auditions/juries, personal practice


Vingt Etudes (20 Etudes) by Marcel Bitsch

Complex in tonality, rhythm and form. Great for auditions and juries. I played one of these for my MM audition at Juilliard (along with a Charlier, Brandt, Tomasi Concerto and Haydn Concerto).

  • Difficulty: hard
  • Focus: musicality/phrasing, sound, intonation
  • Use: auditions/juries, personal practice




36 Etudes Transcendantes by Theo Charliercharlier

Pretty and stylish, these Charlier etudes are really fun to play and practice and perfect for auditions and juries.  Working on these develops musicality, rhythm, practice habits and endurance.  The beautiful 2nd Du Style Etude is one of the most popular choices for college auditions and juries.

  • Difficulty: medium/hard
  • Focus: musicality/phrasing, style, intonation, sound
  • Use: auditions/juries, personal practice




Lip Flexibilities by Bai Lin 

Bai Lin’s book on lip flexibility starts with many simple exercises and progresses at a very natural pace.  Unlike other books, Bai Lin writes out each exercise in every key so you never have transpose.

  • Difficulty: progresses from easy to medium/hard
  • Focus: focus on flexibility
  • Use: auditions/juries, personal practice


PS If you really want to amp up your lip flexibility, you will love these next exercises.  I wrote them myself, and all I can say is they work.  Not only will they dramatically improve your flexibility, but they will help you expand your range AND improve your accuracy.   I hope you find them as useful as my students and I do.