We (IHS) have an exciting new acquisition – we have taken over the administration of the hornplayer.net website, which for years has been the first stop-off point for anyone interested in buying or selling a horn. We sincerely thank Robin Moffatt for his years managing that site, and we look forward to continuing this important service largely unchanged, but now naturally incorporated into the IHS website. The platform still offers an important first point of contact for buyers and sellers of instruments, and I encourage you to tell anyone you know who might be considering acquiring or selling an instrument to take a look there first.

Choosing an instrument is important for all of us at some point. I have played on many different instruments over the years, and have tried a good many others. I have found that initially an instrument needs to suit the needs of the player – as a beginner, a light and secure instrument, on which the basics can be learned; an intermediate instrument might then take you through into university; with then the final choice of a professional instrument, sometime during your final student years, should you become more active in the field or decide to become an active amateur.


The suitability of an instrument does not limit itself to just your playing style, but the flexibility it offers (ease of moving around, slurring, etc.), articulation (clarity of attack and production), low/high register response, and of course its sound and quality of tone in all dynamics.

Also important is the main purpose of this instrument. For instance, I play an instrument now that suits what I do primarily: teaching, chamber music, solo concerts. What it offers me is the ease of expression, flexibility, clarity, and a sound that I can control. This might be a different story of I were principally a symphony orchestra player – in fact I'm quite sure it would be – but that is unlikely to happen at my stage of the game.

For younger players, it is imperative that someone be available to test the desired instrument for any fundamental flaws – later on, it is more personal priorities that play the main part in choosing a suitable instrument, although even then one might feel obliged to choose the one instrument that has overall acceptance in a particular ensemble or industry or country, even though it might not be your particular instrument of choice – but that is a topic for another discussion.

So, however you would describe your stage of horn playing, if you are considering buying or selling an instrument, go to hornplayer.net.

Happy fall, and happy hunting.

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