Adult Total (Potential) Noob!

Adult Total (Potential) Noob!    14:29 on Wednesday, August 22, 2018          

(2 points)
Posted by John-S

Hi- My son started Middle School this year, and last night at beginning band tryouts he did well on both trombone and French horn; he chose the trombone because the horn 'looked complicated'! HOWEVER, me being the guy who played saxophone through High School, I thought to myself that if my kid can get a decent enough tone from a French horn at his first go, how bad could it be to learn?(Not underestimating the horn in the least, though- I know it's a challenge to play, and an ever greater challenge to play well.)

To this end, I've done some cursory poking around online for info- not a whole lot out there, it seems, for the adult who wants to learn the horn. I'm still pretty sound at reading music, though, so that's a plus.

If I did decide to jump into this, with a new or (more likely) used horn, what would be a solid book to start with for learning? Also, lots of arcane info out there on mouthpieces and such- for someone in my position is this something to be concerned about, or use what I get and maybe change later if I have any talent? Also, other than "RUN AWAY!!" or "YOU'RE DOOMED!!" are there any words of wisdom that might help me on my way (or run away, as the case may be)? Thanks, all ~

Re: Adult Total (Potential) Noob!    01:45 on Friday, August 24, 2018          

(157 points)
Posted by phred

not doomed, just in for a challenge. There is something to the saying that this is the devil's instrument. It may be the most difficult to play. Odd embouchure, more alternate fingerings than most any instrument, bad ergonomics, just for an appetizer. I like Sansone book one or Maxime-Alphonse. Maxime Alphonse can be downloaded for free from IMSLP. Mouthpiece choice, so depends on the individual. I find most beginners do better with a smaller bore and sort of a medium cup. Used is the way to go for the horn. Good luck.

Re: Adult Total (Potential) Noob!    15:23 on Sunday, September 23, 2018          

(2 points)
Posted by woodytwoshoes

I hope your not doomed or maybe i am also. im 68 and just picked up clarinet and alto sax for first time. Im having the time of my life ! its great and i am taking lessons from a teacher to get started. I started with clarinet and just bought an alto sax. the sax is getting all the attention now as its way easier to play and sound good. I've been at it for a week and can play 3 songs fairly well and some blues scales. my advice is buy and alto sax, easiest instrument to learn imho

Re: Adult Total (Potential) Noob!    12:16 on Wednesday, October 17, 2018          

(1 point)
Posted by Leisesturm

Around 10 years ago at 50 years of age I got a wild hair and bought a used Horn from a local Pawn Shop. I had never played any kind of brass instrument before. Never even blown a friends instrument. My school only had string instruments. I played the violin for many years. I am, however, a professional church organist. I also sing in amateur choirs. It's been on and off with the used Holton H602 Single F Horn. I've left it alone for years at a time.

Last June I started work at a new church and there is a Hornist there. I accompany her on organ usually. Hearing that beautiful Horn sound again, close up, made me start practicing again. This coming Sunday we are going to play our first Horn Duet performance for public consumption. She is half my age and her horn is a professional grade double horn but I will give it my best shot.

If I were the o.p. I would strongly consider buying a new double horn from Wessex Tubas (they sell all the low brass really) in the UK, or Dillon Music in the U.S. It is the same horn from what I can see. Made in China. I got very lucky with my used Holton because I paid a lot of money for it. Much more than anyone will ever pay me for it so I will just keep it, even after I get a new horn. Brass instruments are a real gamble used. Chinese instruments, especially Horns get a very bad rap online, but just about every major manufacturer now has a model made in China to hold up their affordable instrument low end. You get a warranty and you get service on the instrument for whatever might go wrong. I can't see a downside. Of course if you have more money, by all means go for it and get a Yamaha or Hans Hoyer or Holton H179.

Whatever other book(s) you get, and you should get a few, include "The Art of French Horn Playing" by Phillip Farkas. Read every word. A lot of brass instrument playing is internal. A teacher can't see your tongue or your diaphragm, they listen to your tone. So can you. Record yourself often. Play in churches and other reverberant spaces so you can hear yourself. Make it beautiful. Make it even more beautiful. Rinse. Repeat. Good luck.


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