How to Switch From a Trumpet to a French Horn

The trumpet and French horn share common features. They both play in the treble clef and have a similar high range. They also both have a relatively small mouthpiece. The French horn mouthpiece is slimmer and feels different on the lips. The trumpet has a rounder and wider mouthpiece. These small differences between the instrument mouthpieces will make it uncomfortable to switch at first. However, with practice, the switch from trumpet to French horn should be relatively painless.

 Step 1 Start by learning the fingerings on the French horn. The trumpet and horn use different fingerings. The best way to learn fingerings is by playing scales. Some of the fingering patterns will stay the same, but you will notice slight differences between horn and trumpet.

Step 2 Understand how the horn works. There are two halves to a French horn. While a trumpet plays only in Bb, the horn is capable of playing in Bb or F. The two sides of the horn allow for the creation of two different timbres. The Bb timbre is more forceful than the smooth texture of the F side.

Step 3 Play long tones every day. The long tones will help you become accustomed to the horn's thinner mouthpiece. Avoid the temptation to press the mouthpiece into your face to increase tension. You must learn to create tension with the muscles in your embouchure and avoid artificial means of creating tension.

Step 4 Practice etudes designed for the French horn. The horn has a much larger low range than the trumpet. Playing etudes and music specifically written for the French horn will allow you to learn to play this low range. Keep a relaxed embouchure and steady airflow to help you reach the lower register.

Expect at least a month of playing the French horn before you start seeing positive progress. If you want to play horn professionally, don't switch between the horn and other instruments. The horn is an instrument that requires specialization. Warnings Don't use a trumpet to horn adapter, which is unprofessional and will not give you a good sound.


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