My French Horn

horn1 horn2

I like playing and practicing my French horn, of which you can see two pictures here.


Of course, I wouldn't still be playing French horn, if I hadn't had great teachers who taught me a lot. Not only did they teach me technical skills, but they also helped develop my ambition and love for that instrument. (I know many teachers who mar any ambition in their students :-( .)

Well, here is my little French horn education:

My father used to play the french horn while my mom accompanied on the piano. That were the best lullabies!
Anyway, I was fascinated by the instrument then (and still am, although in a different way). Back then, I used to try to find out, how the air found its way through all these amazingly many pipes and valves.

At that time, I asked my father to show me how to play the french horn, so he taught me first basics.

After we had moved to a "real" city (namely Braunschweig), I started to take french horn lessons at the municipal music school. My teacher was Theo Esser, horn player at the theatre orchestra of Braunschweig. After a few years, I also played with the symphony orchestra of that music school.
Every year in fall, they preformed some kind of public "audition": everybody of the music school had to play a little (or not so little) piece, usually accompanied by the teacher at the piano, and all other students and their parents would listen! I really dreaded those "auditions"! :-)
I had to quit music school, because I started to study computer science at university in a city which is right across Germany at the other end.

However, the university orchestra was looking for a french horn, so I just had to pass another audition! After which I played with that orchestra all my student life, even when I studied in another city!
I also played with the chamber orchestra, whenever they needed a pair of horns, and sometimes I participated in an octett.

And of course, I had quite a few "MuGe"s (where you get payed for playing! :-) ).

I started taking french horn lessons again, since I decided that my embouchure and my technique began to slacken a little. The principal horn player at the theatre orchestra of Karlsruhe, Jürgen Danker, was kind enough to teach me from time to time. I am very thankful to him, because I did learn a lot! although i couldn't take more than 1 lesson per month, because I was still a student.
Another break or pause in my french horn "career", because I did my Diplomarbeit (sort of a master's thesis) at NCSA in Urbana/Champaign, Illinois. After i finished that, I was just too busy at my job to practice.
I started to play the french horn again. Boy it was awfully frustrating in the beginning! :-) Now I'm pretty well in shape again. I don't have sort of a "home orchestra" here at Darmstadt, but I do play a lot with different symphony orchestras. Also, I have played with a quintet for a year now, which is a pretty new experience to me.


It turned out that French horn was exactly the right instrument in terms of possibilities and opportunities. ;-)
Compared with other instruments, the ratio of vacant positions in lay orchestras to players is one of the best for French horn, at least for the players. (Or am I that good? :-) )
So I got around quite a bit with my French horn. Here is a list of places I have been to with various orchestras: globe


Links to French horn sites:





Gabriel Zachmann
Last modified: Sat Sep 10 15:48:43 MDT 2005