French Horn (alias: Corno)

French Horn care

Mouthpiece should be gently inserted with a slight twist.

The valve slides should be kept in good working order and moved frequently to prevent freeze-up. Tuning slide greas should be applied as needed. These slides need to be removed frequently to empty condensation from the instrument. Oil valves as needed by applying the oil to the part of the rotor post (the part that turns) underneath the rotor caps.


Embouchure and Instrument/Hand Position

Lips should be moist, relaxed and together as if you just said the word "mem".

There should be no forced tightening , thinning, or flattening (sometimes called a smile embouchure).

The corners of the mouth should be firmly set in a downward direction.

Sound is produced by buzzing the lips with a quick full stream of warm air. Puffing of the cheeks or lips is not allowed under any circumstances!

After consistent practice, the lips should be able to buzz with a fairly relaxed feel in the center.

Common mouthpiece placement is an approximate 2/3 Upper and 1/3 lower lip.

The most common problem with beginning horn players is posture related. The mouthpiece and lead pipe approach the embouchure from a very slight downward angle. You should bring the mouthpiece to you, by maneuvering the right leg - which support the edge of the bell . The lead pipe becomes an extension of the air stream. In general the student needs to sit on the right hand corner of the chair to allow free movement of the right leg. The position of the leg will depend upon the brand of horn and the size of the student.

With correct placement in the bell, the right hand adds stability to the holding position. You can check the right hand position by 1. Making sure your hand is cupped slightly (fingers together) and able to lift the bell slightly without changing hand placement. 2. The sound should move across the palm and roll up the arm. See a professional horn teacher if you need further help.

Correct hand position ensures good tone and will allow flexibility for hand tuning.

Internet Resources for Hornists

The graphic at the top of this page is from Ron Boerger's homepage which contains a very comprehensive collection of horn related material.

You can also check out:

1. The homepage of Thomas Bacon, professor of horn at Arizona State University.

2. The British Horn Society page.

3. The American Horn Quartet.

4. Robert N. Ward, Associate Principal Horn of the Sanfrancisco Symphony, is in the process
of constructing a web page containing some useful horn information including excerpts from
his soon to be published text on warming up.

Instrumental music Email lists

You may subscribe to the below list by following the procedure given. The words "Your Name" should be replaced with your legal name. This list will bring you daily correspondence about Trombone and can be a valuable source of information.


The list address is
Send message to,
with the message "subscribe horn"

Back to the Instrumental Music Page