Horn Syllabi on the Internet

One task most new college horn teachers must undertake is writing a syllabus.  There are as many varieties of syllabus as there are styles of teaching and horn playing, and although most universities have at least some requirements regarding the form and content of the syllabus, many things are left up to the discretion of the instructor.  I remember feeling slightly overwhelmed when I sat down to write my first applied horn syllabus.  I’m sure many of the questions running through my mind at the time are shared by all teachers who are passionate about their field:  What should I include?  What should I omit?  How specific should the goals and objectives be?  Eventually, after much thought, and also quite a bit of investigating on the internet, I arrived at something with which I was at least temporarily satisfied.  Over the years, that initial document has changed and been supplemented with a variety of information, including a more extensive list of solo repertoire, as well as a list of orchestral excerpts.  I still think about my syllabus, and I still wrestle with the same basic questions that I first encountered.  For the last few days I’ve been compiling links to as many online horn syllabi as I can find – partly out of professional curiosity, but mainly to at least try to put together some type of resource for horn teachers just starting out in a college teaching position.  Depending on the guidelines set by your university/college/school/department, you may or not be able to include all of the components you see here, and you may also be required to include additional language regarding things such as compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the use of cell phones in the class room.  I’m sure there are still dozens more syllabi out there, and I plan to keep looking for them and updating this post as necessary.  But even in the relatively small number of examples I’ve posted below one can see the kind of variety and flexibility inherent in an applied lesson syllabus.  Depending on how each syllabus is set up, some of the links will take you directly to an actual document file, while others will take you to a particular university’s horn studio website (which contains a syllabus).

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music [Technically not a college syllabus – see the comment below from Jonathan West for the full details – but still a great source for repertoire. ]

Arizona State University [This is not the actual syllabus, but rather an excellent description by John Ericson in the form of a post on Horn Matters.]

Central Washington University

Hartwick College

Lee College

Louisiana State University

Morehead State University

Northern Arizona University

Northwest College

Pacific Lutheran University

Royal College of Music London

Temple University [Jeffrey Lang]

Trinity College of London [Also not a college syllabus – see the full details below.]

The University of Alabama

The University of Central Florida

The University of Colorado at Boulder

The University of Dayton

The University of Iowa

The University of Louisiana at Monroe

The University of Mississippi

The University of Notre Dame

Wichita State University

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Strictly speaking The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music syllabus is not a college level syllabus. It is the syllabus for the exam series normally taken by high school pupils in UK. By the time a student horn player gets to music college he or she is expected to have got through all of this and have achieved a high mark (at least 130/150) at Grade 8 if horn is to be his first instrument for a performance major.

In the UK, this simplifies the business of determining what needs to be taught in performance courses at music college, because it can reasonably be assumed that the student already has the skills and technique necessary for Grade 8, and the course can build on from there.


By the way, I wrote last year about the ABRSM exam series here: Music teaching in the UK.

The Trinity College syllabus you’ve linked to is for Trinity’s equivalent of the ABRSM graded exams, so again not a college syllabus.

Although the ABRSM and Trinity exams are primarily for high school students, the fact is that anybody of any age can take these exams. The earlier grades are certaonly within the reach of primary school children, I took Grade 1 on the piano at about the age of 6 or 7. They also accept exam entries from adult learners. I know of a woman who took up the piano and did her Grade 1 exam at the age of 80!

I’ve known this stuctured approach to instrumental teaching all my life, and I was quite surprised to learn that there is no equivalent of it in America.


This is fascinating information Jonathan. Yes, the instrumental music education system is much less standardized in this country, although certain states do have prescribed music lists for competitions (festivals). Also, I remember as a high school student working out of the Prescott Technic System, a series of graded lessons in various method books for each of the band instruments. I suppose that would be the closest thing we have to the system in the U.K.


Hi Bruce,

Yes, he did edit this excerpt book:

Farkas, Philip. Orchestral Passages for the French Horn from the Modern French Repertoire. Paris: Durand; Philadelphia: Elkan-Vogal Co., 1958.

I’m pretty sure it’s out of print now though. I got the bibliographic info from the Indiana University Music Library. http://www.libraries.iub.edu/index.php?pageId=5385

I also think there’s some more information on this publication in Nancy Jordan Fako’s book Philip Farkas and His Horn: A Happy, Worthwhile Life.

Thanks for the question – hope all is well with you!



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