french horn info

History and Information

The French horn is one of the middle members of the brass family. The horn has been around in some capacity for thousands of years, but the modern French horn was developed in the 17th century. The player buzzes their lips against the mouthpiece to produce sound, and the pitch can be adjusted by a hand inserted into the bell of the instrument. The French horn has a wide repertoire of classical music, as well as jazz and other genres.

When to Start

Students can start French horn lessons as young as age 9 or 10, depending on the student’s lung capacity and physical strength. The student also must be able to maintain an effective embouchure, or mouth shape. This can be difficult for some younger students. In these cases, students are encouraged to start on a different brass instrument (such as trumpet). They can then switch to the horn when they have built up the muscles around their mouth. Most instructors will also incorporate reading music into their lessons, so students should know at least some reading and counting fundamentals.

Getting a French Horn

There are many brands and models of French horn available for rent and purchase. For young students, it is recommended to rent instruments for two reasons: 1) they will most likely grow out of instruments quickly and 2) they may lose interest (although we hope they don’t!). When you rent a French horn or buy a used one, we strongly advise that you buy a new mouthpiece. Most places that rent instruments will also provide repair services for their instruments. We can give you recommendations for places near you to buy or rent your French horn. Please contact us, and be sure to include your location!

Books and Supplies

Most rented French horns will come with items such as a case and cleaning implements. Your instructor can tell you which books and other supplies are appropriate. Most books and many supplies, including valve oil, are available online. We can recommend stores near you where you can purchase supplies and music, if you prefer to do so in person. Please contact us, and again, remember to tell us where you live!

**Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We can help provide you with additional resources.**

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