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Brass in Color is a curriculum that helps students age 6-12 learn how to play brass instruments by listening and following a teaching model.  Students will use a color-coded tablature that corresponds with fingerings and slide positions.


Each book is organized based on the open fingerings (no valves pressed down) or first position (slide in) harmonics, and presented in three different ranges.  New notes and fingerings are introduce in descending or ascending chromatic order. 

Each book has three sections.  The first section is Lessons that introduces new fingerings, notes, and music concepts.  Once students learn these new notes and concepts, Lessons can be used as daily warm up and review.  The second section is Technique Exercises that consists of short, two-measure or three-measure exercises to help students practice and review the material.  The third section is Songs that gives students the opportunity to practice playing longer melodies in a variety of keys.

As students progress through each book, they will be introduced to new music concepts and play in most major and minor keys.  

The goal of Brass in Color is to provide a tool for teachers and students by breaking down music concepts in a way that younger beginners can understand.  This method is meant to let students spend more time playing, and less time thinking about notes on the staff.  There is no substitute for time spent practicing!



Brass in Color was nominated as a finalist in the 2019 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence in the category of Outstanding Print Resource.  

The Music Teacher Awards for Excellence were “created to celebrate excellence in music and performing arts education. Awards are presented in 14 categories, from new products and resources to hubs, music departments and individual contributions to the sector." 

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In Brass in Color method books there are two sections:   Play by Listening (page on the left) and Play by Reading (page on the right).

The Color Tablature (Color Fingerings/Color Slide Positions) is under the Play by Listening Section.  Students will use this section to listen and copy what they hear (from audio or teacher model).  After they are comfortable playing the melody by themselves without the teachers help, they can begin to associate what they learned by reading standard notation under Play by Reading. 

Below is an example from Trumpet Book One.  Students learn Mary Had a Little Lamb in the written key of Db major.

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You can also see in the example how the Color Fingerings represent rhythm.  The boxes above the Color Fingerings represent the beat.  If a note is held longer than one beat a line of the same color from the Color fingering extends over the beat length.  

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