Horn with clear background
Horn Lessons

Instructor: Dr. Gina Gillie
Office: MBR 339
Office Hours: by appointment
Phone: 253-535-7607 (x7607)

Course Description

In horn lessons, I will focus on you and where you would like to go with the horn. All students will cover the basics in technique and repertoire, while music majors (and specifically performance majors) will delve deeper into the study of horn related pedagogy. All students will be encouraged to explore many of the vast and unique subsets of horn performance such as natural horn, jazz horn, advanced orchestral excerpts, contemporary solos, chamber music, and original compositions.

Lessons require that you put forth a great deal of effort for your own advancement. While I will exhaust all of my resources to give you the best education on the horn that I can, you must meet that energy with your own, and add to it outside of the studio time. I have a great passion for this instrument and also for the music that has been written for it. I have an even greater passion for music in general, and I wish to share the knowledge that I have acquired with inquiring minds such as yours.


You will receive 12 lessons each semester. You are expected to arrive at each lesson prepared and on-time in order to make the best use of our time. Please come to each lesson with an inquisitive mind, asking questions, and seeking to learn something.

If you are unable to attend a lesson, let me know 24 hours in advance and we will reschedule the lesson. I understand that sometimes emergencies arise, and we will deal with those on a case-by-case basis. Lessons will not be made up if you simply forget or fail to let me know about a conflict ahead of time.


As with any skill one hopes to master, you must practice in order to improve. I will assign materials to work on during each lesson, and with these assignments comes the requirement that you spend time outside of lessons working on your music. As a general guideline, here is how much time you should expect to spend in the practice room based on credits.

  • For a 1 credit lesson, I expect you to practice at least half an hour a day, five days a week. This is a bare minimum and will result in a very basic level of progress. A better effort would be an hour a day.
  • For a 2 credit lesson, I expect you to practice for an hour a day, six days a week. For performance majors, you should increase this to two hours a day.
  • For 3 and 4 credit lessons, I expect extra practice as needed to prepare for special projects or recitals. A senior majoring in horn performance should be practicing three hours a day.

Although practicing may seem like a chore some days, it will provide you with the best use of your time and mine; the more work you put in the more we get out of our time together.

Horn Seminars

Horn Seminar will meet every Monday from 5:30-6:30 in MBR Room 322. All who are taking lessons are required to attend. Others who play horn but are not taking lessons are also invited to this meeting. Seminar is a chance for us to address horn and general music issues, perform for each other, and play horn ensemble music.

Chamber Music

I encourage you to participate in chamber music during your time at PLU. When you enter the “real world” it might not be as easy to find interested players who are willing to collaborate. As a student at PLU, you have dozens of colleagues also seeking to perform in chamber ensembles. Some of the benefits of chamber music are that it develops critical musical skills, develops part independence, improves listening abilities and exposes you to important repertoire.

Concert Attendance

Please familiarize yourself with the concert attendance requirements in your music student handbook. A list of all concerts can be found online through the music homepage. Attend concerts early and often to enrich your musical appreciation and education and to avoid any last minute emergencies. Music is an art the happens in a certain time and place for your enjoyment. Make the most of this.

You are required to attend my faculty solo recitals and concerts with Lyric Brass and Camas Quintet. You should also plan to attend and support your peers in University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, student recitals and guest artist performances. In addition, think about getting off campus and attending the Tacoma Symphony, or seeing your peers when they perform with local groups. The Seattle Symphony is a top notch orchestra that performs right down the road.

Student Performances

The Horn Choir will perform at the Brass Recital at the end of each semester. Please put these dates in your calendar as soon as you can.

Planning on doing a recital?  It is important that you secure an accompanist and provide him or her with the music well in advance of the actual recital. Remember, you’re not the only one learning the music!


You will be given a grade at the end of the semester based on my perception of your weekly preparation, your performances, your level of commitment to learning, and the amount of progress made based on the work assigned.

Each of your weekly lessons will be graded as if it were an academic class with homework. The most important thing for you to do is practice your materials and come to your lessons prepared. Practicing means you are invested in your learning and you care about your progress. Here is a breakdown on the grading attributes for each lesson:

  • An “A” student has clearly practiced and the performance shows marked improvement and or/mastery of a concept.
  • A “B” student has met some of the week’s goals and shows some improvement, but is not up to his or her full potential.
  • A “C” student has met very few of the week’s goals, has clearly not practiced, or shows signs of ambivalence toward learning.
  • An “E” student does not attend the lesson.

At the end of the semester I will average your 12 lesson grades for your final grade. Remember your grade will also contain your concert attendance requirement. Make sure you get that done so your grade does not drop to something lower than you earned.

Just as I require much of your time and commitment for success in lessons, you too can expect the same from me. I care deeply about your progress and your development as a student and musician, and you should expect me to be prepared and insightful during lessons.

Year-End Proficiency Exam (for music majors only)

During the final lesson of the Spring semester only, I will conduct a proficiency exam to gauge the progress of music majors and their fluency with essential musical skills. These exams are in addition to the regular jury which comes at the end of each semester. This exam will account for 20% of your final lesson grade for the Spring semester. The exam will consist of both playing and identifying repertoire.

Freshman Year
All major scales and arpeggios
All two-octave chromatic scales
Transposition into E and E-flat

Sophomore Year
All of the above, plus
All three types of minor scales (natural, harmonic, melodic) and arpeggios
Transposition into D, B-flat basso and C
Identification of title and composer of basic orchestral excerpts
Identification of title and composer of standard repertoire solos

Junior Year
All of the above, plus
Transposition into G, A, B-flat alto and B natural
Identification of title and composer of standard chamber music repertoire

Senior Year
All of the above, plus
All dominant seventh and fully diminished seventh chords two octaves
Identification of contemporary repertoire


At the end of each semester you will perform a jury for a panel of music professors. This jury is intended to provide you with an opportunity to display a semester’s worth of growth. This jury is not graded, but you will be offered written comments to assimilate into your playing. The last horn seminar will be devoted to practice juries to give you a chance to perform your solo for your peers. The dates of Fall and Spring juries are:

  • Friday, December 8
  • Friday, May


For certain performances (juries, recitals) you will need the services of an accompanist. In all situations, please inform me of who you plan to use as an accompanist. Although the professionals charge, they are worth the money. A less skilled student or friend does not allow you to focus on your own music making and can make the process tedious. I urge you to contact accompanists early in the semester to make sure they will be available.

You should plan to get the music to your accompanist at least one month before your performance. More time is necessary if you are playing a recital.

Here is a list of accompanists who serve the PLU community (Contact me for detailed contact information):

Amy Boers
Sheila Bristow
Jeff Orr
Jinshil Yi

Required and Recommended Music and Materials

Just as your academic courses require you to purchase a textbook, in lessons I require you to promptly purchase assigned music. If this presents an obstacle, Inter Library Loan is an amazing resource, as is IMSLP. Some of these resources can be downloaded for free. You should also have a metronome and tuner as well as a pencil handy at all lessons (and rehearsals). The following resources are things you should definitely purchase, if you have not already:

Required Materials

Kopprasch, 60 Selected Studies (comes in 2 books)
Mel Bay’s Anthology of French Horn Music
Douglas Hill’s Warm-ups and Maintenance Sessions for the Horn Player

Other solos, etudes, and orchestral resources will be assigned as we go and can include:

Etudes and Methods

Rubank Advanced Vol. 1
Maxime-Alphonse Books 1 through 5
Rochut Melodious Etudes for Trombone Book 1
Any Gallay books
Kling 40 Studies
Schuller Studies for Unaccompanied Horn
Reynolds 48 Etudes
Brophy Technical Studies for Solving Special Problems on the Horn

Excerpt Books

Arthur Labar’s Horn Player’s Audition Handbook
Thompson edition (for the serious orchestral player)


Beethoven Sonata
Bozza En Foret
Cherubini Sonata No. 2
Dukas Villanelle
Gliere Concerto
Haydn Concerto 1 and 2
Heiden Sonata
Hindemith Sonata
Jacob Concerto
Kvandal Introduction and Allegro
Mozart Concertos 1, 2, 3, and 4
Poulenc Elegie
Rheinberger Sonata in E-flat
Saint-Saens Concert Piece
Saint-Saens Romance
Schumann Adagio and Allegro
F. Strauss Nocturno and Concerto No. 1
R. Strauss Concerto 1
Telemann Concerto in D
Weber Concertino

Other Resources

Farkas, Philip. The Art of French Horn Playing and The Art of Brass Playing
Frederiksen, Brian. Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind
Hill, Douglas. Collected Thoughts on Teaching, Learning, Creativity, and Horn Performance
Ree Wekre, Froydis. Thoughts on Playing the Horn…Well


I will be using e-mail to contact you. I expect that you will check it and respond promptly if a request is needed. Although e-mail is perhaps becoming outmoded for some, this will be my main source of communication, and as a course requirement I expect you to check it. I will also compile phone numbers during the first week of school for emergency contact.

And Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

hamster playing horn