|Intro to Horn|
|What Makes A Good French Horn Player?|
The French Horn is in the running for the most difficult instrument in the typical high school band. The only thing that really comes close in the brass section is the Tuba. The only advantages of the Horn are its large range (which is mostly useless) and its reluctance to have poor intonation (assuming you play the right notes). In general, the French Horn has very poor technical prowess, very difficult high range (which mercifully isn't called on that often), and a shape which hinders the player in being heard. French Horn doesn't take a drastic amount of air to play (about the same as Baritone Horn), but you need heroic diaphragm strength to maintain the volume required to be competitive with the other brass instruments. Excepting its idiotic design, the French Horn actually does feature a very good dynamic contrast in its normal playing range. The only problem is that you wind up playing backwards.
In summary, you should have the following traits to even bother applying for Horn:
* Some strength - Not athlete level, but enough.
* Confidence - You can't be afraid to fail or you will. Every single time.
* Good Ear For Pitch - You cannot be a tone deaf Horn player. You need to match your lips to the pitch because fingerings are not certain.
* Raw talent - Not sure how you can judge this, but its true that Horn players need the most raw talent of any brass player.
So now we've established that the Horn is a very unruly and difficult instrument, what's more, you'll likely be required to play other instruments. Rather than moan and worry about this, a good player will break tradition and use this to their advantage. Horn players are historically one of the more often called upon players to double on the high school level and they're traditionally the worst and most reluctant. If you want to be useful, you won't be "that guy". "That guy" moans during marching season because he isn't playing French Horn. "That guy" wishes he could join Jazz Band but doesn't because he plays French Horn. Don't be "that guy". When marching season comes along, be chomping at the bit and be proficient at your marching instrument. Double on Trumpet in Jazz Band. Trumpet takes vastly less talent to handle the instrument itself and the new (and more difficult) repetoire will make you a better player. In short, any opportunity to play an instrument that isn't insanely difficult to play will make you a better player -- not worse -- because you have a chance to focus on the music and your proficiency instead of just taming the instrument. Sight reading is very important for Horn players, so anything that helps you train in it is beneficial.