Tips Needed for Horn Techniques

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04 feb 2014 02:06 #794 by Ryan Jackson
Tips Needed for Horn Techniques was created by Ryan Jackson
Hello Guys and Gals,

I am currently a Freshman in college (who is majoring in Music Education) playing French Horn. I've been playing for about 3-4 years on horn and throughout the rest of high school and starting in college, there hasn't been anyone that plays beside me who I can try to sound like (We had a horn shortage, I was mainly First Chair :( ). So really, I have had no one to teach me or show me great concepts just for horns. In my college, we do not have a staff of teachers for instruments, so we have one brass teacher that teaches all brass, who is a great trombone player. There is only so much he can teach me, such as the overall brass concepts of lip slurs, double tonguing, breath support ect. and I've read only a small handful of books to improve my horn playing. I always listen to Dennis Brain and try to capture his tone, and how clean and warm his sounds are, I do a decent job, but I want to take on more steps and become even better into the more advanced/professional level.

Also on a side note, I play on a Holton 378 Farkas Model. The Mid C on the staff with the trigger is significantly sharp compared to the other notes around it. For the note to be in tune, I almost have to close my hand so drastically that the tone suffers a slight bit due to a "muffled" sound of the hand position. What sort of remedy can take care of this?

I guess the main questions I am looking for are these:

How should a Horn player be articulating his notes, lyrically and technically?
With what sort of syllables for articulating to help me picture how the tongue should be?
Besides the Art of French Horn Playing, what should I have in my repertoire as a Freshman to help me fine tune the concepts of playing?
What are the professionals constantly thinking about before they articulate or while they are phrasing?
What is it in the embouchure that can change a tone from being bright, to warm?
Where or how should certain places of the embouchure/oral cavity be positioned between each range setting? (Such as having your throat more open for low notes, or the shape of your embouchure throughout the low, middle, and high range for tone purposes)
I've seen different hand positions, which is the best and most correct way for the best tone possible?

I just have all of these questions mainly because my teacher would not be able to answer all of these for a horn player. I constantly ask myself these during rehearsals and practices, but don't know how to overcome all of these. (Especially that sharp Mid C :( ). Thank you everyone!

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18 feb 2014 16:41 #798 by Debra S Inglefield
Replied by Debra S Inglefield on topic Tips Needed for Horn Techniques
Wow. You sound like me when I was in college, even to the Holton 378 and the trombone teacher!

For articulation a soft "du" when you're playing lyrically, and a firmer "da" when playing technical passages. Think "pointy tongue" on technical/staccato work. "Ta" is too much and can give you a splatty attack. Puckering your corners and thinking "O" can warm the sound.

There are so many good books out there! Verne Reynolds book can be very helpful, as can Randy Gardner's low range work. That jut scratches the surface. I picked up anything I found with "Horn" in the title.

That sharp "C" is a common problem. Sit with the tuner, go back and forth between F and Bb sides until they match. Besides closing your hand, think a warm, dark sound and pucker your corners in a bit more.

Listen to lots of players to get a wide variety of sounds. Barry Tuckwell, Herman Baumann, David Pyatt, Timothy Brown, Dale Clevinger all have different sounds, but all are within the range of what you want.

Above all, in the summers or outside of school, get a horn-playing teacher! You can find yourself with a bright, uncharacteristic sound if all you're hearing is the trombone. (Voice of experience.)

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