The Horn Dare

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We need more horn players in the schools. I would offer readers a challenge in two parts.

The first part is a general challenge to try to start at least one horn player. Do your part to give them a good start. Help out a band director to start some horns better.

The more specific challenge I would throw down to readers is to actually play on a typical beginner level single F horn. As in to really try to play it, really practice something on it, spend at least an hour straight trying one and even better spend several days on it if you can last it out. Check out your accuracy and articulations and sound! I think you will figure out really fast that the typical beginner single F is not a great instrument to put in the hands of a beginner.

Doing this F horn portion of the horn dare on the F side of your double horn does not qualify, and if you have a Vienna horn that does not qualify either. You need to use an actual bottom of the line single F student model horn like a beginner would use to really get what it is like.

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The reason for this dare is I believe that a lot of people who continue to recommend the single F horn for beginners have never actually tried one, or at least have not tried one since they were in 6th grade.

Some of you reading this I am sure have fond memories of your first horn starting out, which was a single F. Go back to one again now and play an etude or solo on it. Your memory may not line up with reality. While somehow you stuck it out on the single F, and I am glad you did, really it was not at all easy to play.

I know this statement goes against traditional horn pedagogy but with the continued use of the single F no wonder so many beginners quit the horn and no wonder there is such a general shortage of horn players.

I know that some of you out there on principle will never ever recommend the single Bb as an alternate beginner instrument. The solution is to get players on the double horn as soon as possible. I have also blogged previously about the ¾ size double horn, which would be an excellent instrument for a young beginner. I really hope these things are selling, they are a great concept.

Think out of the box, be practical, understand on a personal level the challenges a beginner on the horn faces, and get players going well. The main goals here are to give horn players a better start and to keep them from quitting.

I have some more general information on starting horn players out and a fingering chart linked here. Do try this horn dare; it will alter your thoughts on beginner horns.

University of Horn Matters