Through the course of my blog, I’ll touch on many of my favorite etude books and pieces from the horn repertoire, but for now, here is a short list of what I consider to the staples of every horn player’s music library:
Kopprasch 60 Studies, Books 1 and 2 – these are etudes that you will use your entire horn-playing life. In addition to touching on all the basics of horn playing just as they are written, they are adaptable for whatever it is you need to work on. Need work on your low register? Play some of these down an octave. Need to practice transposition? These are great transposition exercises.
335 Selected Melodious Progressive and Technical Studies for the French Horn, compiled and revised by Pottag and Andraud – that is a mouthful! I prefer to call it “the blue book.” The great thing about this book is that it contains a smattering of great etudes from many different sources (Kopprasch, Kling, Gugel), and it also contains a few standard concertos, sonatas and other solo pieces as well. If I can only take one etude book with me on the road, I usually choose this one because I know it’s substantial and varied.
Embouchure Building for French Horn, Joseph Singer – this is a great book no matter what your level. It contains fingering charts, scales and arpeggios, long tones, and (for the more advanced player) an outline of routines to do for staying in serious shape when not playing regularly with an ensemble – or getting back in shape after a little time off.
The Horn Player’s Audition Handbook, Arthur Labar - this thin book is perfect for advanced high school students who would like to go into music and will be taking festival and college auditions. It contains just enough of many of the standard orchestral excerpts and is a good starting place for learning the excerpts that are most asked for in auditions.