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Brian Kay


Focus Sheets 1-3 for Beginning Brass Players

by Brian Kay

The Focus Sheets are one-page supplements to any beginning band method. They help focus your students’ attention on the most strategic skills first-year instrumentalists can build. I developed these sheets when doing in-school group beginner classes, and have continued to use them in my private lesson teaching.

If your beginning brass students master these three pages of material, they will be in command of near 100% of the motor skills needed to thrive as a first-year player, and a high percentage of the music reading skills as well.

Download the Focus Sheets (.pdf format)


The Focus Sheets for trombone, trumpet, euphonium, and tuba are fully compatible for unison/octave playing, except that one line per page is specific to trombone, or valved instruments (marked with an * after the line number). 

About the Focus Sheets:

Focus Sheets provide a framework for teaching:

When to use the sheets:

Using the Sheets

The power of the Focus Sheets comes from repeating the items in each lesson, so that students build true mastery of a key set of skills.

Some of the most strategic items in the Focus Sheets are the mini scales that flow into tonic and dominant arpeggios. Together, the scale and tonic-dominant arpeggios cover most of the note combinations a student will use to play tunes in a given key.  By repeating these patterns each week, students can fully master them.  Your students are then primed for success when they go on to play a variety of tunes in that key from their book.

For example, compare the “Mexican Hat Dance” to the corresponding focus sheet line:

sheet music of focus sheet and mexican hat dance

Consider also tunes like Skip To My Lou, and The Surprise Symphony. If a student has mastered the focus sheet line in that key, they already are skilled at playing the most relevant combinations of notes.

sheet music of skip to my lou and the surprise symphony

As you go through the year, you can make a game of finding places where the Focus Sheets line up with items from your book!

Using the Focus Sheets for Summation and Evaluation

The Focus Sheets are ideal material for summative projects and evaluations, because they contain comprehensive technical challenges in a succinct format. You could have your students make an audio or video recording of all or part of a Focus Sheet, as an end of term project.


Thank you for checking out the Focus Sheets.

I hope you will find the Focus Sheets to be a powerful tool in your teaching toolbox.  And that they will help you produce thriving brass students!


Trombone Sheet Music

My Intermediate Methods