Dr. Nicholas Smith
The Hornsmith

General Information

Course Syllabus - Applied Lessons, Horn
Course Numbers:
112F, 712F, 231F, 431F, 731F, 323F, 432F, 732F, 434F, 734F
Nicholas Smith
Professor of Horn
Office Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Phone: (316) 978-6590 - Office; 682-0411 - Home
Email: nicholas.smith@wichita.edu

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Schedules, Policies, Repertoire, Expectations & More

Lessons are scheduled during WSU registration week. Once your lesson time is assigned, you will have your lesson at the same time throughout the semester unless a change is needed. You will receive 15 lessons during a semester plus any additional time as needed for special projects. The following is a general guide to lesson length:

  • Non-majors (2 credits) 30 minutes/week Studio class recommended
  • Music Major-secondary (1 cr.) 30 minutes/week Studio class recommended
  • Music Major (2 cr.) 45 minutes/week Studio class required
  • Music Major (4 cr.) 90 minutes/week Studio class required
  • Graduate Assistants 90 minutes/week Studio class required

Grading and Attendance Policy
Semester grades will be based on my evaluation of your progress as reflected by improvement, attitude, and level of musical of musical performance. Please use the following comments as guide for earning an "A" in applied study.

All students are required to attend every lesson. Unexcused absences will not be made up and will count as an F for the week. Excused absences include the following: 24 hour advance notice for conflicts, illness, family/other emergencies. Excused absences will be made up at the earliest agreed upon convenience. Each student will be allowed to reschedule up to three excused absences in one semester. Students are expected to be warmed-up and ready to perform at the beginning of their lessons!!! Arriving more than 10 minutes late for a lesson will be considered an unexcused absence. Three late arrivals to lessons will constitute a one letter drop in grade!

Weekly Preparation
All students will have an agreement with me on the amount of practice time per week. While practice "logs" are not mandatory, they are encouraged, especially for Freshmen/transfer students. Practice "logs" will be assigned only when necessary. Each lesson should be viewed as a performance and should be prepared in a careful, disciplined manner. All students are required to bring a notebook to all lessons and studio classes to keep notes and assignments. The notebook should also have space for any handouts which might be saved for future reference. A cassette tape to record lessons may also be required.

All music majors are required to perform a jury at the end of each semester except when a degree recital is given earlier in the semester. The jury grade will count for 15% of the final grade.

Concert Attendance
All music majors are required to attend the following events: WSU Brass faculty recitals, Wichita Brass Quintet and Lieurance Wind Quintet recitals, and all WSU horn recitals.

Undergraduate Curriculum
Undergraduate students will work on the following aspects of playing the horn:

  1. Physical aspects of playing including sitting/standing, hand positions, embouchure, and breathing.
  2. Basic principals of sound production, technical proficiency, musicality, and proper style in all musical ensemble settings.
  3. Developing an effective, individual warm-up routine and disciplined, constructive practice habits.
  4. Introduction and perfection of orchestral excerpts from the standard repertoire which are so much a part of the audition process.
  5. Regular solo performances of standard repertoire to develop confidence and experience in performing as a soloist/recitalist. Students are encouraged to perform on shared recitals their freshman and sophomore years as preparation for the mandatory junior proficiency recital and senior recitals.
  6. Proper performance etiquette for any solo or ensemble situation.

Special Note
All students in the horn studio will be treated equally and will be placed in ensembles according to ability and not their major. Music Education and non-Music majors will be given equal opportunity for ensemble performance experience providing their class schedules allow them the ability to attend the required rehearsals and performances of the ensemble(s).

Graduate Curriculum
Graduate Students will work on the following aspects:

  1. Review of undergraduate studies with emphasis on further development of technical and range proficiency.
  2. Intensive study of orchestral audition materials and preparation for the process of taking auditions.
  3. Developing confidence as a solo recitalist or as a soloist with orchestra or band.
  4. Becoming aware of developments in the “Horn World” including news found in the IHS Horn Call as well as other sources such as the International Musician and various Brass Journals.
  5. Developing a broad base of knowledge about the history and acoustics of the horn.
  6. Developing a base of pedagogical materials as a start to effective teaching of the horn.
  7. Acting as the leadership of the horn class and providing good role models for the undergraduate members of the class.
  8. Providing logistical assistance to their Professor in the organization of horn class activities including such things as studio classes, maintaining the Horn Club library, preparing music and folders for horn choir/club rehearsals, and preparation of programs and sundry communications.

Special Note
Each student will have a curriculum tailored to their particular needs and developmental levels. Applied lessons are one of the few examples left of instruction on a one-to-one basis. Every effort will be made to honor each student's requests for what they will study, but their development will always be governed by what is best for their development as judged by the Profesor of Horn.

Studio Class/Horn Choir
Regular Studio Class (often called Masterclass) is held each Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. An additional class will be held each week on Tuesday at the same time on an as needed basis. These classes are mandatory for all music majors (except horn secondary). The class will be used to cover topics of interest such as orchestral styles, the history of the horn, horn repair, audition preparation, juries, etc. The classes will also host any guest speakers for masterclasses/workshops, and will be the venue for any mock orchestra auditions, solo competitions, or recital previews. It will also be the primary rehearsal venue for the WSU Horn Club/Choir and may even be used as a sectional rehearsal for any demanding repertoire being performaed by one the university ensembles. The primary goal of the WSU Horn Choir is as the training training tool for the students in the horn class to learn to play well in a section. The Horn Choir will also prepare repertoire from such sources as the Los Angeles Horn Club for performance on campus, at state-wide music educators conferences, and at regional and international conferences of the International Horn Society.

Jury Requirements
See guidelines for all Brass Juries.

Horn, Mouthpiece, & Equipment
All horn students must keep their horn, mouthpiece, and assorted equipment in good order. Those students who are using WSU horns must be sure to follow the regulations for checking out and returning instruments according to the schedule posted at the Instrument Check-out Room across the hall from the Band rehearsal room, C - 104. All horn students should have the following equipment:

  • Mouthpiece (regularly cleaned - 1 to 2 times a month)
  • Mute (straight - required, Brass - optional)
  • Maintenance kit (valve oil, slide grease, screw driver, cork/neoprene rubber bumper stops, string, mouthpiece brush, and snake)
  • Metronome (required) and tuner (recommended)

International Horn Society
All students are urged to become a member of the IHS in order to be better informed about the horn community at large. The class members join/renew as a group each year to receive a group rate discount from the organization.


The following lists represent etude materials which will be used in the horn studio as suggested by the Professor of Horn. These lists are not intended to be exclusive.

Freshman and Sophomore Level

  • Philip Farkas, The Art of French Horn Playing (required)
  • Oscar Franz, Complete Method for Horn
  • H. Kling, 40 Characteristic Studies
  • C. Kopprasch, 60 Selected Studies for Horn
  • Maxime-Alphonse, Etudes for Horn (Book 3)
  • Hermann Neuling, 30 Etudes for Low Horn
  • Max Pottag, Pottag-Hovey Method for Horn (Book 2)
  • Max Pottag, Preparatory Melodies to Solo Work
  • John Shoemaker, Legato Etudes for French Horn

Junior, Senior, and Graduate Level

  • Georges Barboteu, Classic Etudes for Horn
  • Georges Barboteu, 20 Grand Concert Etudes
  • A. Belloli, Eight Studies
  • J.F. Gallay, Twelve Studies, Op. 57
  • Maxime-Alphonse, Etudes for Horn (Book 5)
  • Verne Reynolds, 48 Etudes for Horn
  • Gunther Schuller, Studies for Horn
  • Milan Yancich, A Practical Guide to French Horn Playing

Orchestral Excerpts
Learning to play the solos and difficult passages from the orchestral repertoire is a major emphasis for any horn player. Auditions for any ensemble, including bands, always require excerpts. It is the quickest way to be tell if a hornist truly understands musical style and tradition, not to mention the usual mechanics of good rhythm, pitch, tone quality, and musicality. Students will be expected to perfect each solo before moving to the next one. The following list while not totally inclusive is the general sequence prescribed by the Professor of Horn:

  • Tchaikowsky, Symphony No. 5
  • Beethoven, Symphony No. 3
  • Brahms, Symphony No. 1
  • Beethoven, Symphony No. 6
  • Brahms, Symphony No. 2
  • Tchaikowsky, Symphony No. 4
  • Strauss, Till Eulenspiegle
  • Wagner, Rhine Journey
  • Beethoven, Fidelio Overture (Low horn)
  • Beethoven, Symphony No. 7
  • Brahms, Symphony No. 3
  • Mendlessohn, Nocturne from A Midsummers Night Dream
  • Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (Low horn)
  • Strauss, Don Juan
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 5
  • Shostakovitch, Symphony No. 5 (Low and high horn)
  • Strauss, Ein Heldenleben (Low and high horn)
  • Haydn, Symphony No. 31 (Low horn)
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 1 (Low horn)
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 3 (Low horn)
  • Strauss, Don Quixote (Low horn)
  • Mendlessohn, Scotch Symphony (3rd horn passages)
  • Brahms, 1st and 2nd Piano Concerti (1st & 3rd solos)

Students are expected to purchase excerpt books which have these passages in collected form. The following list is suggested but not inclusive:

  • Arthur Labar, The Horn Players Orchestral Handbook
  • Richard Moore,
  • James Chambers, Strauss Excerpts
  • James Chambers, Collected Orchestral Excerpts in 6 Vols.
  • Philip Farkas, Orchestral Excerpts from the French Repertoire
  • Mason Jones, Orchestral Excerpts from Contemporary Repertoire

Complete 1st horn parts are available from several sources:

  • Brahms, Mahler (Symphonies 1-6), and Tchaikowsky major works - Wind Music Corp.
  • Beethoven, Dvorak, Mendlessohn, Mozart, Schumann Symphonies - Kalmus
  • An excellent collection of complete parts (Horns 1 - 4) is published by D. Thompson and is called The Orchestral Audition Repertoire. While it may look somewhat expensive, it is the best collection of complete parts of the major repertoire that is available.

Special Note
Students should also expect to make their own library of complete parts as they have the opportunity to obtain them.

Solo Literature
Students are required to buy or check out from the library the solo pieces performed on their juries and recitals. Copied music is permissible only to facilitate a page turn or if the music is out of print. The following list represents standard works from the horn repertoire suggested by the Professor of Horn. It is not intended to be exclusive and students are encouraged to supplement this list.

  • Fantasy for Horn - Malcolm Arnold - Fr./So.
  • Alla Caccia - Alan Abbott - Fr./So.
  • Cello Suites - J.S. Bach - So. - Grad.
  • Sonata, Op. 17 - Beethoven - Fr./So.
  • Variations - Marcel Bitsch - Jun - Grad.
  • En Foret - Eugene Bozza - Jun - Grad.
  • En Irlande - Eugene Bozza - Fr./So.
  • 2 Sonatas - Cherubini - Fr./So
  • Villanelle - Paul Dukas - Jun - Grad.
  • Apres un Reve - G. Faure - Fr./So.
  • Reveries - A. Glazunov - Jun - Grad.
  • Intermezzo - Reinhold Gliere - Fr./So.
  • Romance - Reinhold Gliere - Fr./So.
  • Valse Triste - Reinhold Gliere - Fr./So.
  • Nocturne - Reinhold Gliere - Fr./So.
  • Concerto in Bb, op 91 - Reinhold Gliere - Jun. - Grad.
  • Sonatine - David Gwilt - Jun. - Grad.
  • Sonata for Alto Horn - Paul Hindemith - Jun. - Grad.
  • Sonata (1939) - Paul Hindemith - So. - Grad.
  • Concerto No. 1 - Joseph Haydn - Jun. - Grad.
  • Concerto No. 2 - Joseph Haydn - Jun. - Grad.
  • Concerto - Gordon Jacob - Jun. - Grad.
  • Intrada - Otto Ketting - Jun. - Grad.
  • Concertino - Lars-Erik Larsson - Fr./So.
  • Concerto No. 1, K. 412 - Mozart - Fr./So.
  • Concerto No. 2, K. 417 - Mozart - Jun. - Grad.
  • Concerto No. 3, K. 447 - Mozart - Fr./So.
  • Concerto No. 4, K. 495 - Mozart - Jun. - Grad.
  • Concert Rondo, K. 371 - Mozart - Fr./So.
  • Scherzo Concertante - V. Nehylbel - Jun. - Grad.
  • Elegie - Francis Poulenc - Jun. - Grad.
  • Prelude, Theme & Var. - G. Rossini - Jun. - Grad.
  • Concertpiece, Op. 94 - Camille Saint-Saens - Fr./So.
  • Romance, Op. 36 - Camille Saint-Saens - Fr./So.
  • Adagio and Allegro - Robert Schumann - Jr. - Grad.
  • Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73 - Robert Schumann - Jr. - Grad.
  • Concerto, Op. 8 - Franz Strauss - Fr./So.
  • Nocturno, Op. 7 - Franz Strauss - Fr./So.
  • Andante, Op. posth. - Richard Strauss - Jun. - Grad.
  • Concerto No. 1, Op. 11 - Richard Strauss - Fr./So.
  • Concerto No. 2 - Richard Strauss - Jun. - Grad.
  • Concertino, Op. 45 - C.M. Weber - Jun. - Grad.
  • Sonata No. 1 - Alec Wilder - Jun. - Grad.
  • Suite for Horn & Piano - Alec Wilder - Jun. - Grad.

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