Reply To: Starting on horn in 4th grade–yea or nay?

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I’ve never taught at the elementary level – but here’s my opinion (coming from a high school band director and trumpet player):

I went to a band director’s workshop here in WV last year (hosted by the Phi Beta Mu Bandmaster Fraternity) – specifically to an Oboe clinic. The clinician made a point that she saw no reason to not start a student on Oboe as their first instrument (instead of learning clarinet or other woodwind instrument first). She said as long as the student is bright enough and will work hard at it, it can be done.

I tell you that to say this – why not start them on Horn? Having a lack of horns is a big problem around here, and it is exactly the same reason – nobody starts them on it (of course my district doesn’t even have instrumental music in the elementary school – another can of worms for another day). I personally think all instruments have their difficulties, but we start students on those.

I would think that if you have a student that is willing to work at it (and if you are willing to work at it), try it out. I’ll admit, horn is difficult because the harmonic series is so close together, and extremely easy to play wrong notes with what you thought was the correct fingering. I’d say if they can match pitch with moderate ease, give it a try.

Like I said – I’m have never taught at that grade level, so you might wait to hear from others that have more experience at it. But my vote is go for it.