Here’s a snapshot of what’s currently in my practice routine. Some of the items are old friends, while others will vary depending on my performing schedule. For students who might be looking for a way to organize their practicing, feel free to modify this list to include appropriate material in each category.
I. Warm-up/Daily Routine
- Douglas Hill, Warm-ups and Maintenance Sessions for the Horn Player: Just one of the many fine routines out there, this has been a favorite for several years.
II. Etudes/Technical Exercises
- Wendell Rider, Lip Control Exercises: Great for working on range and flexibility, these can be downloaded on Wendell’s website.
- William R. Brophy, Technical Studies for Solving Special Problems on the Horn
- Kopprasch, Sixty Selected Studies, Op. 6: Chambers edition, which I’m using for my etude video project.
- John Ericson, Ultimate Horn Technique: Technically not on my stand, but right beside it. I work a little out of this book every day. You can read my review here.
- John Ericson, Ultimate Low Horn: I usually play an exercise or at least part of one at the end of the day to loosen up and work on phrasing and musicality in the low range.
III. Solo (music for an upcoming recital)
- Beethoven, Sonata, Op. 17 for Horn and Piano
- Roger Jones, Epilogue for Horn and Piano: New piece to be premiered in July.
- Emmanuel Chabrier, Larghetto for Horn and Orchestra, Op. posth. I’ll write more on this piece in a future post, but in short it is a wonderful and substantial composition – great for recitals!
- Steven Winteregg, Blue Soliloquy: Read more about this piece here.
- C.D. Lorenz/ed. Bacon, Fantasie, Op. 13: Seldom performed, but a great closer for recitals. Recorded by Thomas Bacon on the Summit CD The Complete Hornist.
- Marin Marais, Le Basque
- Essential Songs for Horn Published by Hal Leonard, this volume contains 130 melodies (no accompaniment) to all kinds of popular songs. Fun material for the end of the day, or a creative way to warm up. Try transposing them!
Technical exercises and etudes combined with recital preparation tend to be my usual summer material, but during the academic year I add in orchestral excerpts and chamber music to round things out. Whatever you choose to practice during the summer months, try to strike a good balance between all of the areas of horn technique, as well as building in some fun/creative time. Ok, now it’s your turn – I’d love to hear what you’ve got on your music stand this summer!