A Horn Player's Study Guide

Intro | One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six


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A Horn Player's Study Guide

by Thomas Bacon

Level 2

By Level 2, players possess the skills necessary to play in the school band or orchestra, and they should have already performed in public in solo and ensembles. The sense of accomplishment can be great, but with it should come more awareness of what needs to happen for continued improvement.

Practice should be thirty to forty-five minutes every day, in addition to ensemble rehearsals. The practice session should include these three different types of playing:

1. Tone-building, scales and other technical exercises.

2. Etudes or other assignments from method books.

3. Solo and ensemble music.

The amount of time spent on each may vary depending on upcoming performances or other factors, but it is important to practice everything each day. As the player progresses in Level 2, practice should increase to one hour each day.

The student should also take advantage of every chance to hear other horn players. Listening to fine players is the best way to develop a concept of sound and styles, and to develop awareness of the difference between good and bad playing.

Level 2 is a good time to begin playing in horn ensembles. The studio teacher should organize group lessons to work on ensemble pieces and help the players develop the important skills of ensemble playing: leading, following, intonation and playing together.

During Level 2, the player should:

1) develop range to at least two octaves, and know chromatic fingerings throughout that range;

2) know major and minor scales and arpeggios up to three sharps and three flats;

3) increase tonguing capabilities to include effective staccato, tenuto and marcato articulations;

4) expand dynamic abilities to include pp and ff, while maintaining good sound and steady intonation.


Pottag/Hovey -- Method for French Horn - Book 2

Level 1 method books can still be used to good advantage by the Level 2 player, and technical exercises learned at Level 1 will be useful in Level 2.


Pottag-Andraud -- 335 Selected Melodious and Progressive Technical Studies, Book I (the "Blue Book")

Contains scale and arpeggio exercises adaptable to any key, etudes by Kopprasch, Gallay, Artot and others, and solo pieces by many composers. This book will provide practice material for the player through Level 6.


Burkhardt -- Little Rondo

Datshkovsky -- Lullaby for Alexandra

Grieg -- Solvejg's Song (from Selected Songs Vol.1, Thomas Bacon, editor)

Handel/Fitzgerald -- Thus When the Sun

Horvit -- Chaconne and Burlesque

Molina -- Interlude

Schudel -- Etchings

Solomon -- Night Song

Solomon -- November Nocturne

Solomon -- Waltz Theme



Franz -- 100 Duets - Book 1

L.A. Horn Club -- 60 Selected Duets. Both of the above collections gradually increase in difficulty and will serve the player well into Level 4 or 5.


di Lasso/Howe -- Exaudi Deus

Lively -- Three Short Pieces

Solomon -- In A Minor Mood

Solomon -- In Excelsis Deo

Solomon -- Two Festive Songs

Levels: Intro | One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six


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