From the Mailbag: Online Materials for High School hornists


One question that periodically comes (in various forms) asks about online materials that would be of use to high school hornists.

Certainly, the number one “material” overall is Horn Matters itself. It is more comprehensive and up-to-date than any other horn publication you can name, covering for example all the topics in the Farkas book and more! (And, teachers, your students do actually recognize how dated the Farkas book is, it really is time to rely on more recent sources.)

Within Horn Matters there are a number of specific materials and areas to point student hornists toward.

One topic of much interest is the “where to study” horn question. This article gives a good rundown of the topic.

One type of material that is of interest are technical materials. You could certainly build a very effective warm-up from the technical studies in our downloads page. With an important tip for students being this: there is no one magic, secret warm-up that will get you there; no one “path” or approach to practice that will take your technique forward. There are many roads to be explored, and in particular it is to your advantage to “cross train” using several different styles of warm-up. If I had to pick one to purchase, I am still partial to The Brass Gym for horn.

Etudes are wonderful for working on technique. This article on materials I used as a student can get you going in the right direction, and if you really don’t have any materials, there are some good choices for practice in our free PDF download page, such as the Franz 29 etudes.

For those aspiring to a higher level of study, orchestral excerpts are important. This article gets at the question of which ones to study.

Transposition is often required! Check out our transposition chart.

And you will need an excerpt book! We have you covered with all the standard excerpts that are legal to put online for free with our Horn Matters PDF excerpt E-book.

You will also need to work on some solos. We have horn parts to many of the standards in our PDF page. As to which ones to study, the key thing would be, after noting it is not so much what you play as how you play it, college professors do ask certain solos for a reason, they are good choices. Our current list here at Arizona State for undergraduate admissions is:

Two contrasting movements from works that are comparable in difficulty to the following representative samples: Hindemith – Sonata; Mozart – Concerto No. 2, 3, or 4; F. Strauss – Nocturno; R. Strauss – Concerto No. 1

And of course, you need a good horn and mouthpiece; generic horns and mouthpieces produce a generic tone and limit your results. Much information may be found in Horn Matters, largely in the categories devoted to horns and to mouthpieces (see the “Browse by Topic” feature for even more categories).

If you want online resources outside of Horn Matters, one obvious resource is the website of the International Horn Society, specifically The HornZone. While not nearly as organized as Horn Matters (there are no categories of content, for example), there is some very interesting content worth spending some time with too. Not to mention there are a huge variety of things to be found on YouTube and Facebook with just a bit of searching.

Finally, do buy some music! Not everything you would want to study is free and in the public domain. Music publishers are there to serve you and are not really making that much money, support them as much as you can.

University of Horn Matters