Hi all- I am a new player (1 lesson last week, the next is tomorrow). I am renting a Jupiter single F horn. I have no previous experience with any brass instruments, but decided at the age of 54 to learn the horn.
While I am making progress, I've been having the same problem for the month I've had this horn. I can play middle C and a couple of notes lower; I can play up to third space C, usually, and sometimes D. D and E above middle C, however, seem to be beyond me. Try as I might, and I've put a lot of time into this, the notes always start out 1/2 tone sharp. My hand is in the bell. When I try to lower the pitch, the tone usually drops to middle C or lower. When I manage to get in the range, the tone is still sharp. I can buzz the notes on key in the mouthpiece, but as soon as I put the mouthpiece in the horn- I lose the tone.
I've tried all sorts of different positions on the mouthpiece and the best I can come up with are breathy, sharp Ds and Es. Any ideas?
Also, I am aiming toward playing in a community college's symphonic wind band someday. When would be a good time to switch to a double horn? I'm inclined to get one soon and would like input from anyone so inclined.
Your range is very good for the length of time you have been playing. If you are renting the single horn, take it back and start renting or purchase a double horn now. I don't like Jupiter horns, they are really good for the high school band room, they take a lot of abuse and keep on playing. I would prefer to see you in a Yamaha or Holton student model, or a Conn 6D. Any of these will help your ability to hit the higher notes. If you have to stay on a single horn I would rather see you on a Bb single horn.
I do not believe in advertising on this site. But, go to my website johnlovemusic.com and leave me an email address. If you have a budget for a double horn let me know; there is a local music shop in San Diego that has both a Yamaha and a Holton used student horn for sale. I can test them for you and connect you up with the shop if that is something you are interested, their prices are fair and I would not make any money off the sale if you chose to buy from them. I can also email you some exercises that may help your tone and range which I will send you.
Thanks for your reply. I am interested in getting a double horn and the Yamaha YHR-567 is the model that seems about right for me- good for a serious beginner, as well as for the intermediate player I hope to become.
I believe a used horn is in my budget, so I'll head over to your website and leave my email address.
I'll head over to your website and leave my email address now.
Just some input - I've had a Yamaha YHR567 for about a year now. I started on a dented up Conn 6D, then moved to a Holton student double, and now the Yamaha. It's a good solid horn, but after three years of playing horn I'm ready for a good upgrade. The Yamaha just doesn't have the tone for me - it's sort of neuter. Not a big Conn 8D sound, but not a tiny delicate one. It's been a great horn and other than having grown out of it I have no complaints. Give it a test - I'd recommend it for a beginner.
ALICE! I'm so happy for you. I decided to come back to horn at age 52 after being off for 33 years! It's been a wonderful experience. I agree with John that you are doing very well for a beginner. Horn is TOUGH! It should a minimum of 6 weeks of consistant daily practice for you develop a usable range from about Ab below middle C to the E near the top of the staff. At the point you're at now, if you can even find your way around well enough to consistently find a middle C, you're doing very well!
We have a lot in common & I'd love to correspond with you. Feel free to email me privately.
"The Balanced Embouchure" for French Horn
I would be glad to correspond with you. I did want to state here on the forum that I made a mistake with my octaves, though. I found out at my 2nd lesson that I was playing an octave lower than I thought. Rather embarrassing. So, now my actual range goes from G below middle C to G just above middle C. I've had to work hard to go even that high and the G is touchy. A few times I've hit the C above middle C, but not often.
I like having a realistic goal, and the 6 week time frame is something to aim for.
I'm interested in how much muscle memory you retained over the years of being away from the horn. How long was it before you were ready to play with other people?
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org- I'd like to hear from you.
When I came back to horn, I was surprized how quickly everything came back. It's like riding a bicycle, you never really forget. I played for about three months before I joined a community band. I played fourth horn that season. It was a great experience.
Even with the correction of the octaves, I think you're right on schedule. Horn is very, very challenging.
Sorry my post above wasn't very well written. A student hits a major milestone when they can play a full octave scale. For kids that can take a whole school year. I have a student who has played horn less than a year. He's a natural born low horn player with full outward curved lips. He can play pedal tones below LOW C. Amazing. His highest note right now is an E near the top of the staff. His upper register is of course weak, but it's still good for a beginner. I'm not going to start him on any high note material, though, until he's gotten well established in his mid range. The mid range is the meat & potatoes of the horn & if it's not solid, the high range will sound rotten. This fall he'll be starting on a Holton 179 which will help him prepare for upper register work. BTW, good choice on that horn. I love Holtons.