Top Ten: Cross Training Methods


Why limit yourself to horn-specific methods and etudes?

Getting tired of your etude books?

Kopprasch, Maxime-Alphonse, and Gallay are among the staples of the French horn diet; sometimes though it is a good thing to venture out and try other “foods” to stretch your palette.

Some of my favorite palette cleansers include:

  • Rochut: Melodious Etudes
    In three volumes, this series of vocalizes transcribed for trombone is an excellent means to not only work on concert-pitch bass clef reading, but also on smooth legato playing. I also like to read them in “horn-pitch” as a means to smooth out bumps in the middle to low registers.
  • Arban: Complete Method
    This method for trumpet contains most of the pedagogical rudiments – numerous variations of long tones, scales and arpeggios among them. A limitation of this method is that it does not explore keys beyond three sharps or three flats. However, the enterprising student can easily make up for this by utilizing transposition skills.
  • Warm-ups & Studies for Trumpet by James Stamp
    The well-known “flow study” from this book makes for a great long-tone substitute routine.
  • Schlossberg: Daily Drills and Technical Studies for TrumpetAs with the Arban book mentioned earlier, the only limitation in these studies is the low range. This is a minor concern for any horn player who can (and should be able to) transpose.
  • J.S. Bach: Cello Suites

    While the classic Wendell Hoss transcription is an excellent edition to work with, I would also recommend working from an original edition in bass clef. In the spirit of “killing two birds with one stone” working from the original cello part gives your bass clef reading and low horn chops a serious workout.

  • G.F. Handel: Flute Sonatas

    I grew up with a flute-playing sister and heard her practicing these for hours. After college I picked these up and had a lot of fun learning them. I would be reluctant to actually perform any of them in public. Since they are written for flute, they are of are course very technically challenging.

  • J.S. Bach: Two-Part Inventions

    These well-known inventions have been rendered many times by many editors into horn duets, but for a challenge try reading from a keyboard edition. Play them as duets (transposing to concert-pitch or as Horn in F) with a friend, or try them solo. They are so well-crafted that even playing one part by yourself can be rewarding. If you are a techo-geek like me, you can record one part, play it back and play with yourself… uhm… play duets with yourself, that is.

  • Clarke: Technical Studies for Cornet
    Noodles and finger-twisters. Rather than practicing these exercises in their printed order, I prefer to use the circle of fifths to cycle through the keys. I find that progressing in a chromatic order gets tedious – both mentally and physically. Using the circle of fifths keeps things fresh.
  • Odd Meter Etudes for All Instruments in Treble Clef
    Want a challenge? Here it is.
  • Carmine Caruso – Musical Calisthenics for Brass
    An athletic approach to brass playing.

Do you have a favorite method, etude book or solo that is not written specifically for horn? Please add it to the comments below.

University of Horn Matters