A Free Method Book For Beginning Music Classes

When I first started teaching music, I used the resources that were on hand at my school. The method book we had was Standard of Excellence and I wasn’t really happy with it. Almost all of the pieces used the same five notes, were in the same key, and it was rare that new music elements were added.

I came across another method book near the end of the school year. As I flipped through the pages, I was really impressed with it. I loved how the lessons were sequential, easy to follow, and highlighted key skills on every page.

The only problem was that this method book was published in 1960 and my copies were fairly old and beaten up. Some of the books had writing in them, some were missing pages, dog-eared, or stained.

I knew that I wanted to use this method book for my instruction this year, but I also knew the condition the books were in would turn a few students off. I couldn’t order new copies since they were long out of print and I didn’t have the budget to order a new method book either.

So I photocopied each book onto ledger-sized paper and stapled them in the middle. I laminated covers that were easily identifiable by instrument and presto, just like that I had a new method book.

Music Book Bin

Band Fundamentals in Easy Steps by Maurice Taylor is an excellent resource. By Lesson 5, we are already getting first and second endings, slurs, melody and harmony, solos and tuttis.

The only problem with this book is that the saxophone are required to play notes that are lower than those of their Concert Bb scale. As such, they need to learn more notes than any of the other instruments, which is a challenge when we play beginning sheet music that uses the more familiar Bb scale notes that they haven’t been practising by going through the method book lessons.

That being, said, I think this is a small problem that is easily overcome by using Bb scale warm-ups on a weekly basis.

As such, Band Fundamentals in Easy Steps has become my method book of choice for my music classes. You can print off the PDF files for each book and take them into a copy shop. They can easily run them through a copier to print them off on ledger-sized paper so they are double-sided and can then be folded over to form a book quickly and easily.

Book 1: Alto Saxophone
Book 1: Clarinet
Book 1: Drums
Book 1: Euphonium / Baritone
Book 1: Flute
Book 1: French Horn
Book 1: Tenor Saxophone
Book 1: Trombone
Book 1: Trumpet
Book 1: Tuba

Book 1: Conductor’s Guide

Keeping a PDF version on your computer is a great idea as well. This way, you can project the piece of music you are working on directly to your Smartboard. I do this all the time and find it very useful. I hope you will too.

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43 responses to “A Free Method Book For Beginning Music Classes”

  1. I play clarinet and I have been playing for only two years, but I was offered a place in a band at school, but it was on the condition that I play tuba (I have had no experience with tuba at all). However, it is nearing the end of the school year so I couldn’t borrow a book from the school library, and our local library doesn’t stock the standard of excellence books which I have been using. I have looked everywhere to find appropriate music and lessons that I can use to teach myself over the holidays and this resource is absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for making this available to everyone.

  2. Hi Kelly,

    I have the teacher book for this set but it is larger than 8 x 11 so it is rather difficult to digitize. I should figure out how to do it since I had a really hard time finding that book online. I will do my best to get around to it and post it soon.

    Thanks for the comment! I hope you enjoy Teaching Tip Tuesday!

  3. Hi Yeoh, I have the book but don’t have a good way of digitizing it. I will look into doing so this week though. I hope yo post it soon. Thanks!

  4. Hi,may i know do you have book for oboe, bassoon, baritone saxophone? Thank You!

  5. Hi,may i know do you have book for oboe, bassoon, baritone saxophone? Thank You!

  6. Hi Yeoh,

    I never had any of those instruments in my music classes or band. I might still have those books in my set though. I will have a look through my resources to see if I have any of them. Thanks for asking!

  7. Hi,regarding the book for other part, do you have or not? Thank You for your sharing

  8. Hi Yeoh, unfortunately I don’t have the Oboe book. I thought I did, but it must have been another series. Sorry!

  9. Sorry, I searched and searched but I don’t have any other books in this this series. I do have Book 2 though for all of the above instruments.

  10. Hello I am very pleased I find this method has been very helpful for my class , I wonder if I can help with books 2 ? thanks for your input

  11. You mentioned you had the second book. You would happen to have digitized the second book for flute and clarinet by chance?
    If not thank you for your time anyway.

  12. Hi Brady,

    I haven’t digitized the second book of this series yet. I takes some time and effort to do so. I will put it on my to-do list and hope to get to it once the school year starts back up and I have access to the copiers again. Thanks for commenting!

  13. Hi Johan,

    Glad to hear that you and your students have enjoyed the book. I haven’t digitized the second book of the series yet, but hope to do so at the start of the new school year. Hopefully I will have that posted soon.

  14. Just started teaching at a school and needed a methods book. I couldn’t ask the parents to purchase Standards of Excellence and I am happy I stumbled upon this! I am SUPER happy with using this…and so are the kids. Thank you SO much for taking the time to digitize it!

  15. Hi Cynthia,

    I am glad that your students are enjoying it. And I am glad to help out a fellow educator. Keep rocking! And let me know if I can help further.

  16. Hi chase
    Will you be able to send me a line #35 from standard of excellence book 1 for baritone. My son has a test tomorrow n he lost his book.I have ordered one but it will take one week.
    please help me God Bless you.

  17. I’m sorry Damon, there is no mallet book in this series. Worse comes to worse, you could always use the flute book for that.

  18. I thank God for this books. I am a music instructor in Nigeria, West Africa. Ever since I laid my hands on this books, I have, by God’s grace produced several bands both in colleges and churches. Thanks for making the book available to us here. I hope that I can lay my hands on the book 2 soon.

  19. Hi Apata,

    I don’t have access to a scanner right now. As soon as I do, I will get Book 2 digitized as well. I am glad you have found the first volume useful. Thank you for the comment!


  20. Hi Ian,

    Give it a try. The flute is a lovely instrument and I am enjoying playing it too.

    Thanks for the comment,


  21. hi chase. thanks for the book 1 of the band fundamentals. have you been able to access book 2? thanks all the way. i salute you

  22. Hi Karen,

    This is a long out-of-print book that is close to 50 years old. It is a great resource that I use in my classroom. Using this book for educational purposes falls under the provision of fair use. Soon, the book will be in the public domain and there shouldn’t be any issues with you using it.



  23. Thank you for sharing these materials. I’m about to start a wind program at a school with few resources (a donor will supply us with a few instruments). These books will come in quite useful. Can the clarinet book be used for bass clarinet as well?

  24. Hi Darien,

    I have never used a bass clarinet. But according to the rules of transposition, you should be able to use Tenor Sax music for it.

    Thanks for the comment and let me know if I can help you out further.