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French Horn Tips Things to keep in mind for beginners: * You want students who get good grades, have a generally positive attitude, and have good ears, Students who have experience playing piano or who have a piano in the house are especially good candidates for horn ‘* Students with small-medium lips are better suited for the mouthpiece than students with large lips. Students with under-bites may have difficulty playing horn with a traditional embouchure. The mouthpiece should be placed 2/3 on the top lip and 1/3 on the bottom lip. To change notes use the bottom jaw as a hinge and think about adjusting the angle of the air stream. Be sure to always keep the teeth (and lips) apart and try to stay relaxed ‘* Most beginners start on a single horn ~ more lightweight and less expensive. Encourage parents to only rent a single horn, not buy! If the student sticks with it, they will eventually move to a double horn which is a more long term instrument, ‘© Most beginning band books have two different versions of each song for the horn. One that plays the same concert pitch as the rest of the band, and another that put the notes in a more comfortable/lower range for beginning horn players. It’s your choice which page to use, but base | your decision on the student's natural range. ‘* Posture and hand position are very important to establish in beginners. Make sure students are sitting up straight and bringing the horn to them. Adjust the position of the bell to allow for good posture. Students can even play with the bell off the leg if need be. The position of the right hand should look like they are holding water in their palm and then dumped it on its side, The thumb and side of the first finger should rest right where the bell begins to curve with the rest of the fingers pressed against the side of the bell. Don’t let students cheat on the hand position! * After 1-2 years of playing transition students to a double horn. They should definitely be on a double horn by the time they enter high school. Make this a big deal. It’s a big accomplishment to, make it to double horn! ‘* Ingeneral when playing double horn, students should use the F-horn fingerings for anything lower than a 2" space A fiat/G-sharp, Anything above a 2 line G should be played using the B-flat side fingerings (with the trigger key) ‘+ Ingeneral the biggest challenge with beginners is pitch accuracy. The best way to help with finding ‘the right partial is have students sing/hum, pair them up with other instruments (like saxophone) for pitch, or have them play with a piano or recorded track. The more you can develop your | beginner's ears, the better off they will be! '* Private lessons should be a must for beginners! Things to keep in mind for more experienced players: There is lots of tubing on a horn and each slide adjusts the tuning of the instrument. Use the main tuning slide for open notes on the F-side of the horn, the smaller tuning slide for open notes on the B-fiat side of the horn, and the rest of the slides for notes played by that specific key. In general students will really only adjust the F and B-flat main tuning slides, but it’s a good idea to tune the whole horn every once in a while, though it can be time consuming, ‘Some special techniques for horn that are often seen in higher level horn music: Rips, trills (valve vs. lip}, bells up, stopped horn, con sword/senza sword, transposing Most often French horn players use mellophone in marching band. Mellophone uses the same fingerings as trumpet, so your horn players will have to learn new fingerings. Most mellophones come with an adapter to allow players to use their French horn mouthpiece. This makes the transition a little easier for some players, but the angle of the embouchure will be different. Some additional things to think about: Seat the horn players so that the strongest player’s bell points down toward the rest of the section, This allows the players to listen down to the section leader for intonation/accuracy, etc. Seating the horns near other mid-range instrurnents like alto saxes is also a good idea as they ‘often share the same line. Marches are often a horn player's least favorite music because they usually get nothing but off- beats. When rehearsing marches, take into consideration that off-beats can often kill chops. Instead of killing your horn player’s faces on “um-pahs” you may take the opportunity to have them do a sectional on more challenging music.