Trying Out the French Horn

Braden gives fun facts about the French horn (or just “horn” as you will discover), tips on how to play it, and a demonstration of the greats sounds the instrument can make.

Equipment Considerations:
Horns come in two basic configurations: Single (F) horns and double (F/Bb) horns. Double horns have an extra thumb rotor which is used to access the Bb side of the horn. Historically students would begin on a single horn and later switch to a double, but some teachers prefer to start on a double and skip the single altogether. Ask your teacher for clarification about which they prefer.

Accessory Considerations:
Mutes! Like all brass instruments, horns use mutes (both to dampen the sound and to alter it). While not required to start, horn players will eventually assemble a collection of various mutes.

Maintenance Considerations:
Regular home cleanings and periodic professional cleanings. The horn is played by blowing air into it so no matter how hygienic the player, gunk and grime builds up inside the instrument. Similar to getting your teeth cleaned, regular professional cleanings in addition to your regular maintenance will assure your horn will be in proper playing condition and not a health hazard.

Financial Considerations:
Purchasing a quality new horn can (and will) easily run several thousand dollars. A monthly rent to own (such as is offered from Boomer Music) can lessen this financial burden, but the rental fee is among the highest of any instrument we have on offer for rent.

Fun Facts:
If stretched out, the tubing on the horn would measure over 30 feet long!
The horn is unique among brass instruments as the valves are played with the left hand. This harkens back to the days before valves when the way to alter the pitch and tone of the horn was by putting your right hand inside the bell. When valves were invented, they were built on the left-hand side and hornists continued to put their right hand in the bell, a practice still in use to this day.