The Arban Manual is a complete course that takes you through the Arban Method in 69 well organized lessons. You will need The Arban Method to use this course. Each lesson is a balanced day of practice.
Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet andArban’s Famous Method for Trombone have been two of the most widely used brass books for over 100 years. The Arban Manual is simply a guide in how to practice Arban. The Arban Manual will take you step by step through the entire Arban method. The Arban Manual is not a technique book and the practice advice should work well with most brass methodology.
A minimum of one week should be spent on each lesson, although many choose to spend longer. If you are having trouble with one part of a lesson, you may wish to spend more time on that part. Most lessons are divided into six parts that should be practiced in the prescribed order. It is recommended that you rest between each part and try to spread your practicing throughout the day as best you can.
Students who are ready to play from Arban should have a “usable range” up to A (concert G). Many of the easy studies do go this high. Although there are not many really high notes in Arbanby today’s standards, some of the studies can be quite taxing. An example of this is the interval studies on p. 126-129.
If you are not able to reach the highest keys at first, go as far you can comfortably, be sure to rest properly, and try to go further the next day. Remember, you will likely play from Arban in one way or another for most of your life, so don’t rush your progress.
One of the shortcomings of Arban is the lack of solid warm up material. Part I of each lesson is designed to be a warm up. Some teachers and students may find this inadequate for a warm up. Therefore, feel free to supplement the lesson plan with a warm up of your choosing. After your warm up, continue with Part I of the lesson.
I’ve designated some of the more melodic and well balanced etudes as “performance etudes”. These can be used for auditions or recitals and should be prepared for that purpose. Some teachers or students may have other favorite etudes that they may choose to use for the purpose of performance.
All of the characteristic studies and celebrated fantaisies are considered performance pieces.
Models are different ways of playing an exercise. Many modelsinvolve using different articulations on a given exercise. Arban’suse of models is not extensive so I have chosen to expand on it, giving the student even more practice material. All models must be practiced thoroughly as prescribed in the lessons.
The Hard Stuff
At some point in your study of Arban you may come across something that you just can’t play, or play at tempo. This often involves triple or double tonguing. Don’t let this discourage you. Practice it diligently and slowly. You may want to stay with it for more than one lesson. After practicing the difficult etude for at least a month, make a note of it and return to it later. Brass playing is a lifetime commitment and you should continue to grow throughout your playing career. Many of the world’s top players can’t play everything in the Arban book.
Selecting the best syllables for multiple tonguing is often a problem for brass players and teachers. Although Arbanrecommends “tu ku”, many have had success using “tuh kuh”, “duh guh”, “tee kee” and many others. Finding your best syllables may take some experimentation.
Beginning with Lesson 44, some of the exercises are reviewed and extended. This is to provide more upper range work, more key work and different models.
Beginning with Lesson 47, exercises are suggested to be transposed for trumpets in different keys. These are the most common transpositions and are only to provide the trumpet player with some basic transposition skills. Bass clef instruments need to substitute other material here such as clef practice.
The first transposition is for C trumpet which is useful for reading music in concert pitch. The second transposition is for Ab trumpet which is useful if you play a C trumpet and want to read a Bb part.
Songs and duets
Some teachers love these and others don’t. I suggest you try them and if you’d like to supplement other pieces that you need to work on, please feel free to do so.
For bass clef instruments
Although the page numbering is different, the exercises in the bass clef edition are numbered the same as the trumpet edition, therefore making The Arban Manual viable for bass clef instruments.
The songs and duets have been left out of the early bass clef version of Arban, although there is now a new version that does include them. Feel free to supplement music of your choice. Some of the articulations and models may not be practical for slide trombone.