top of page

French horn

The French horn is a school owned instrument, meaning RISD will provide instrument for your student while in band in the district. Each year the French horn families will pay a rental fee.

What's a French Horn?

The French horn (since the 1930s known simply as the "horn" in professional music circles) is a brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. The double horn in F/B♭ (technically a variety of German horn) is the hornmost often used by players in professional orchestras and bands.

How to Play

To play any brass instrument, one must “buzz” the lips in order to produce a sound. Put your lips together as if you were saying the letter, “M”, then pretend to spit out a watermelon seed as you blow air through your lips. Allowing the lips to “buzz” freely, without playing into the mouthpiece, will ensure a good sound when playing your first notes on your French Horn


The standard range starting from a low F♯ is based on the characteristics of the single horn in F. But there is a great deal of music written beyond this range, on the assumption that players are using a double horn in F/B♭. Although the upper range of the horn repertoire rarely exceeds high C, skilled players in a good symphony orchestra can achieve yet higher pitches.

Did you know?

  1. Not all French horns have been used for music purposes. Once called a “hunting horn,” it’s that same instrument you see red-coated European aristocrats carrying on horseback in period dramas.

  2. Musicians don’t just place their hands in French horns to hold them in position. It actually affects the pitch of certain notes, meaning the musician uses more than breathing techniques and lip tension to stay in-tune.

  3. When uncoiled, the horn is 12 to 13 feet long. That’s a lot of tubing!!!!

Famous People who played the flute:

  • Ewan McGregor  (Obi Wan Kanobi from Star Wars I, II, III)

  • Vanessa Williams (Singer/Actress)

  • Otto Graham (NFL Hall of Fame quarterback)


Grab life by the horns... French horns!

bottom of page