Trumpet Books for Self-Study

You want to teach yourself to play a brass instrument, but are finding it hard to find a proper teacher? The second-best thing to a good teacher is a great book! Find out which books might help you improve if you dedicate yourself to going through them slowly. This list of books covers the whole spectrum from beginning to advanced players.

Our Pick for Beginners
100 Progressive Lessons for Trumpet for the Beginning or Comeback Player*
Basie-Nestico Lead Trumpet Book*
Our Pick for Advanced Players
O21X - Arban Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet (New Authentic Edition with Accompaniment and Performance tracks) (TROMPETTE)*
Rubank Elementary Method - Cornet or Trumpet (Rubank Educational Library)*
A decent book for the absolute beginner.
A great book if you want something to play along to.
The trumpeter's bible. A must for advanced players.
Decent beginner's book to use with a teacher.
Our Pick for Beginners
100 Progressive Lessons for Trumpet for the Beginning or Comeback Player*
A decent book for the absolute beginner.
Basie-Nestico Lead Trumpet Book*
A great book if you want something to play along to.
Our Pick for Advanced Players
O21X - Arban Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet (New Authentic Edition with Accompaniment and Performance tracks) (TROMPETTE)*
The trumpeter's bible. A must for advanced players.
Rubank Elementary Method - Cornet or Trumpet (Rubank Educational Library)*
Decent beginner's book to use with a teacher.

Beginner’s Books

Mitchell on Trumpet

Mitchell on Trumpet* is a lesson book that’s good for the very beginner and comes with a DVD for playing along. It’s a useful step-by-step guide that slowly levels up. There’s also a Book 2*, Book 3*, and Book 4* to this, so this will keep any learner busy for a while.

Harold Mitchell’s good reputation as an educator might also come from the fact that he originally taught Herb Alpert. (Listen to Herb Alpert* if you don’t know who he is!)

Looking for a teacher?
Want to get lessons at the comfort of your own home? Check out the course Learn to Play the Trumpet: Beginner to Pro Made the Easy Way* on Udemy! (See their full trumpet course line-up here*!)

100 Progressive Lessons for Trumpet

David Hickman’s 100 Progressive Lessons for Trumpet* is another beginner’s book that takes you on a fun ride with many good melodies, while also teaching the fundamentals.

Every lesson is covered on two pages and contains a famous tune, a technical study and two contrasting etudes. It’s spiral-bound for easy handling, too, which you will come to appreciate once you get a study book that’s not spiral-bound.

Rubank Elementary Method – Cornet or Trumpet

Another widely used book is Rubank Elementary Method*. Certainly a classic, if a bit less exciting and without a CD for playing along.

The book contains scales, arpeggios, technical studies, articulation studies, solos and duets, the latter of which indicates that you’d likely want this to go along with actually lessons by a teacher. The pacing is also not great in this one, but it’s alright.

Once you’ve made your way through this, you can move on to the Rubank Intermediate Method* and the Rubank Advanced Method*.

The Jazz Method for Trumpet

If you’re interested in jazz in particular, John O’Neill’s The Jazz Method for Trumpet* will serve you nicely. This also comes with a CD and it takes you slowly from the very beginning to more advanced stuff.

The book is also excellent for adult learners, and covers a lot of music theory, as well as breathing techniques, embouchure, tonguing, and improvisation. Trumpet maintenance is also covered here.

Books for Advanced Players

Arban’s – The Trumpeter’s Bible

Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet* is generally regarded as the trumpet bible and a book you should own if you’re serious about your craft. It’s chock-full of exercises, scales, and pieces to keep you busy for a long time.

This might be a bit hard for a total beginner, but definitely something to work with to get better. You’ll want to get the spiral-bound edition that lies flat, as it will make practicing a lot easier. Unfortunately that means deciding between the older (spiral-bound) version of the book and the and newer New Authentic Edition*.

If you’re set on starting with Arban’s anyway, even though you’re not yet at intermediary level, you might want to consider getting the companion course that goes with it.

Knevitt Complete Collection

If you want to train something specific on your horn, you’ll also do good to consider anything by Bill Knevitt. You can get the Knevitt Complete Collection over at qPress, but you can also get individual books for certain areas.

Examples are the Method for Developing the Upper Register on Trumpet or The Truth About How to Play Double High C. Beginners can take a closer look at Getting Started Right on Trumpet.

The Embouchure Builder

The Embouchure Builder* by Lowell Little is a good book for warm-up exercises that will help you build a good embouchure. It’s a thin and cheap book, but if you dedicate yourself to it, it can take you far with your flexibility and tone.

Play-Along Books

Herb Alpert – Jazz Play-Along

If you want to make practicing fun, a good play-along book and CD can be a good motivator. If you’re a fan of Herb Alpert, you can try out his Jazz Play-Along book*.

This will help you learn to play jazz and keep the rhythm. It comes with different ways of playing along, either with a melody cue or with choruses for soloing. You can also remove the bass part. All these different tracks are there to help you learn and become more versatile.

Lead Trumpet Book

The Basie-Nestico Lead Trumpet Book* is another great choice for lead trumpet players. It doesn’t come with a CD, but it goes with the album Straight Ahead* by Count Basie & His Orchestra, which you can buy on vinyl, CD, or instantly on MP3. It’s good stuff that’ll motivate you to practice!


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