Rakeway Music distributes the music of Howard Snell, one of the best known figures in brass music worldwide. His initial career was as a trumpet performer, mainly known as Principal Trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra, but by mid-career decided to focus on conducting and writing, especially in the field of brass band music. Today, composing and writing on musical topics occupies the bulk of his time, but his appetite for innovation remains as strong as ever. He continues to add to the catalogue of his very substantial body of work.

Rakeway Music titles are printed and delivered by Kirklees Music, with whom we have enjoyed a partnership of almost forty years. There are a few works that have been published elsewhere to Rakeway Music, but those can be obtained through Rakeway Music if the customer requires them.

The section, About the Catalogues, gives an overview of the Catalogues layout. For any questions regarding the Catalogues or any of the works of Howard Snell that are not listed or that cannot be found, the information in the Contact Us section will help you enquire directly to the administration. Juliet Snell will be pleased to help with the shortest possible delay.


print edition and download (pdf) edition


THE TRUMPET'S sister volume

'THE ART OF PRACTICE - A SELF-HELP GUIDE FOR STUDENT MUSICIANS' is intended for performers on all instruments, with illustrations for players of a wide range of instruments. It is a book that explores the common principles that underly all music performance. MASTER THE BASICS, MASTER YOURSELF, MASTER YOUR INSTRUMENT.

print edition and download (pdf) edition

are now available on this site.

Review in Brass Band World, March 2016



I was intrigued when approached to write this review; a book written by Howard Snell, a fine musician who seems to have a saint-like status given by many of those involved in the world of brass bands and someone who is a deep thinker, hugely musical and who is able to articulate his musical thoughts in a way that communicates in a direct and unfussy manner. He is no fool; he knows his position in the world of music and rightly so with 60 years of experience as a professional musician.

The cover of 'The Art of Practice' states: - Master the Basics - Master Yourself - and - Master your Instrument. Divided into two parts, 'Clearing the Ground' and 'Practice', the 137 pages of this soft-back edition give us an opportunity to read and digest Howard's thoughts about how one can take responsibility as a musician, develop the art of listening, self-evaluation, time management and structure in terms of practice. By articulating these thoughts in detail and on paper, I found that it made me think, assess and evaluate, and left me with an overall feeling of being inspired. It also left me feeling that the invaluable information that is imparted in every page of The Art of Practice would benefit every student of music, regardless of age.

Clearing the Ground offers detailed thoughts about sound, listening, learning, concentration, intonation, articulation,melodic phrasing, time and rhythm, interpretation and much more, whilst Practice offers a selection of detailed thoughts about approaches to time management, the recognition of musical challenges and hox to find creative practical solutions to these challenges, in addition to providing invaluable statements regarding our philosophical and emotional frame of mind when playing our instrument (or voice). Thoughts about practising away from your instrument, visualisation, auralisation and vocalisation also highlight Howard's creative thinking.

For any serious musician it is simple - for less than £10.00 you can be the owner of a mine of invaluable musical information.

The Art of Practice is a book that you may well refer to for years to come, providing musical inspiration when required, all explained clearly and logically. It will make you think, question, and be a more creative musician; one that recognises the balance between music itself and playing a musical instrument. Saint Howard indeed!

We are launching very soon a RECITAL SERIES for various brass instruments of SOLOS with PIANO. These are recital pieces in which the soloists and accompanists are on a musically equal level.

These arrangements and compositions are transmitted manually from Rakeway Music after purchase, due to EU regulations.

Howard Snell Blog

It is 18 years since 'THE TRUMPET - A GUIDE FOR STUDENTS' - 317 pages of general advice and guidance was first published by Rakeway Music in 1997. It must be emphasised that this book is not a tutor.

It continues to sell steadily throughout the world. Among many detailed subjects it covers CAREERS, PRACTICE ROUTINES, TECHNIQUES, ORCHESTRAL PLAYING, TEACHING, ANXIETY CONTROL.

My blog at Wordpress gives quite a lot of personal background information and also atmosphere to some of my experiences as a musician. Currently I am working on a short book on a long subject - Conducting. It takes an alternative view of the dark arts of this particular musical activity.

Some critical opinions of THE TRUMPET - A Guide for Students

Howard has written the New Testament of Trumpet Playing. I urge every trumpet player to read this excellent book - in language and structures we can all understand. Howard has laid bare the essentials for success.

John Wallace

Former Principal of the Royal Scottish Conservatoire of Music and Drama,

former Principal Trumpet, The Philharmonia Orchestra, London

I remember (Howard Snell) as a dominant hugely courageous player in the London Symphony Orchestra. He was also the most intelligent of players possessed of an enquiring analytical mind.... becoming an artist of real distinction, supreme accuracy in performance being allied to a fierce tenacity of purpose and the ability to concentrate, which is the hall-mark of the top professional. His new book - The Trumpet - is the most remarkable of its type I have ever read.

For young aspiring professionals it is a fount of wisdom and observation for which he will be thanked every day of their working lives; for the professional even at the top of the trade, it contains reminders of the basic golden rules of positive thought and correct mental approach.... It is a book not just for trumpeters or brass players but for all performers. For the trumpeter it presents a pedagogy as complete as I have seen in print.

If it had existed forty years ago I would have been its first reader and disciple - it would have saved me several years of irritating frustration - but the book had to wait for Snell to live the experience, to formulate it, and here memorably to find the words.

Elgar Howarth

Conductor and Composer

Howard Snell draws upon his wide experience and uses his penetrating intellect to give young trumpeters a book which covers the essential areas of study - (it) is of tremendous value to students and young professionals. It has also to be said that Mr Snell's advice could be applied equally to any young musician.

Denis Wick

Former Principal Trombone, London Symphony Orchestra (1957-1988), founder of the Denis Wick Company

Howard Snell Blog


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HOWARD SNELL MUSIC is an obvious name for a publisher of music, but why and what is RAKEWAY?

At the time I started to publish music, my wife Angela and I, plus four children who are now thoroughly middle-aged, lived in rural Staffordshire, as middle England as it is possible to get.

Our house was at the junction of a Roman road... part of it was in fact built over the road... and an ancient british, pre-celtic road. The road is in use to this day, only slightly updated. In old English it was called the Rake-Way. It seemed a suitable choice especially with its history and its character of always trying to follow the highest ground.

We lived there for many years before moving on to something completely different... (go to Howard Snell Music page for continuation)