Best Trumpet Methods: 7 Method Books Every Trumpet Player Should Own

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.


  1. Kevin Pike January 25, 2016 at 2:58 am - Reply

    I would add 2 books to this list..sachse-for transposition
    st.jacome – if the arban is the Old Testament then this book is the New Testament…IMO…
    Used both almost every week w/Vacchiano…(in addition to most listed above)

  2. Franklin July 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    I would add the Chicowicz Long Tones and Flow Study books.

  3. Willis Shelton December 17, 2016 at 12:36 am - Reply

    Excellent books!!!!!!!!! I love all your trumpet book collections but my favorite one is ‘Technical studies for the Cornet’ and ’34 studies of Trumpet. These two books are really awesome man………. I just love these books because it provides me a clear cut solution to blow out my trumpet in a perfect manner. Thank you so much for sharing such a useful collections of books.

  4. Steve Dillard April 30, 2017 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Modern Flexibilities for Brass: Scott Belck

    Often Overlooked but so beautiful and might even help “ping” your Jazz Impov.

    J.S. Bach Cello Suites Transcribed and Edited for Solo Trumpet by David Cooper (Editor), Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer)

    Etude #1 ( FREE!)

  5. Dimitris November 26, 2017 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Colin Flexibilties

    • Chris Coletti January 8, 2019 at 10:10 pm - Reply

      Yes! Love this book

  6. Mike Barry July 8, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the post. I’m late to the party, but where are the exercises you wrote? I don’t see them on the page!



    • chriscoletti July 8, 2018 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Mike, you can find a bunch of exercises and etudes on the shop page. -Chris

  7. Matthew Wendell July 17, 2018 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    what is there for developing range?

    • chriscoletti August 8, 2018 at 2:32 am - Reply

      as range is a result of efficiency, books like the schlossberg are very useful. i also wrote some exercises specifically for this. You can find them here.

  8. Tommy Sicard October 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your informative list of studies. I played Horn professionally for many years (Houston Symphony, Hou. Ballet Orch., Hou. Grand Opera, etc…) – yes, tooting my own horn, so to speak…

    Anyway, I am glad to see the Arban and Clarke studies listed, as those were my first instincts.

    Having studied with Julie Landsman (Co-Principal Horn, NY Met. Opera Orch.), I would strongly suggest to all players that they discover Carmine Caruso’s Calisthenics for Winds studies. Carmines are not music. They are purely tone, articulation, breath pulse, etc… the basics of wind instrument tone, articulation, dynamics, etc. Carmine’s are essential to surpassing greatness. If you follow the rules, tolerate the pain, and do them religiously, you become WORLD CLASS.

    Just a heads up: Yes, you need music studies! You need Carmine’s even more!!!!!

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