french horn music

The BEST Solo Collections for Middle and High School Horn Players

Since most ensemble performances have been put on indefinite hold, lots of students have probably found themselves without much to practice.

This week, I’m going to cover some of my favorite solo options for beginning to intermediate students, just in case you’re looking for something new (or you’ve run out of literature!).

Just a reminder that you can find this music (plus etudes and other books) over on my French Horn Music & Book page.

Middle School Horn Solos

These books are suitable for students that are just starting through their 3rd year (on average).

The rhythms are fairly simple, and the ranges rarely go higher than the top-line F or lower than G below middle C.

  • A First Book of Solos for French Horn – Great for very young students. Starts off very easy, and works up progressively to stuff appropriate to 3rd year players. Also includes some duets, trios, and quartets.
  • Canadian Brass – Easy Horn Solos – Some recognizeable tunes (Danny Boy, O Canada, Shenandoah) that are great for first and second year players.
  • Schirmer Horn Collection – Easy to Intermediate – A collection of classical tune arranged for horn and piano. These are good for 2nd or 3rd year players.
  • Going Solo: Horn – Original pieces and arrangements of famous classical pieces (Nessun Dorma, Theme from L’Arlesienne). This is a great book for a 2nd or 3rd year player looking for a challenge.
  • First Solos for the Horn Player – Another book that does a great job of going from relatively easy and approachable to relatively challenging for a younger player.

High School Horn Solos

These books also provide a range of challenge, but the pieces in here are, on average, more challenging than the middle school solos.

Challenges can include high register (up to high A is not uncommon), low register (down to a C below middle C), fast tempos, and tricky rhythms. Some of these pieces are arrangements, while others are pieces originally written for horn.

  • Schirmer Horn Collection – Intermediate – Picking up where the easy collection left off. These are great for younger high school players, just getting to more advanced music.
  • Eighteen Sacred and Spiritual Solos – Although this is not the most challenging music, if you’re looking for a good collection of pieces to play in church (or filler for a recital) these arrangements are well-done and appropriate for a moderately advanced high school player.
  • Concert and Contest Collection for French Horn – Some arrangements and original works. Strikes a great balance between approachable in the beginning, and more challenging as you go through the book.
  • The Essential Horn – Good arrangements of three vocal and one piano piece for horn and piano. Although it’s not a lot of music, the arrangements are well-written and cover some advanced keys and techniques.
  • Solos for the Horn Player – Overall a little bit more challenging than the Intermediate Schirmer Collection. This book has fewer arrangements and more original pieces written for horn.
  • Mozart Horn Concertos, Concert Rondo, and Fragments – A good edition of all four horn concertos, the concert rondo, and some of his unfinished horn concerto. There are cheaper and more expensive editions, but this one is my favorite for a good price, logical editing, and a good accompaniment.
  • Schirmer Horn Collection – Intermediate to Advanced – Obviously a step beyon the Intermediate collection. This volume has no arrangements – and contains some complete works (Villanelle, Adagio and Allegro), and some movements of longer works (Strauss 1, Telemann Concerto in D).

Next time – an interesting new look at warm-ups!