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Houghton Horns

Mastering the Horn's Low Register by Randy C. Gardner

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Mastering the Horn's Low Register is written for all horn players, whether high or low hornists, students or professionals, who wish to enjoy the many benefits that come with low register proficiency. Its pages comprehensively and systematically examine production and technique, give detailed insights into the preparation of many commonly required audition excerpts, present effective practice techniques that can be transferred to any arena, and list resources of special value to low register performance and audition psychology. Material in this method can benefit any brass players searching for keys to unlock their own superior low register.


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Reviews and Praise for "Mastering the Horn's Low Register" by Randy C. Gardner


Randy Gardner's Mastering the Horn's Low Register is a welcome addition to horn study literature. It is an in depth approach to horn playing with a stronger than usual emphasis on performing in the low register. It not only contains the most commonly required low horn audition excerpts but also includes exercises and practice tips necessary to perfect each passage. The student also receives Mr. Gardner's personal musical and technical knowledge acquired from his many years of performing these works with The Philadelphia Orchestra. I highly recommend this book and will incorporate it into my own teaching curriculum.
Jerome Ashby
Horn Faculty - Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music
Associate Principal Horn - New York Philharmonic


Horn players winning auditions today as section players have a complete range of over three octaves. When looking for a second or fourth horn player most first horn players will examine the entire range of the auditionee which will include intonation, sound, attack and phrasing and of course the ability to be a team player. This method book becomes the bible for talented musicians seeking a career in low horn performance.
James Decker
University Professor - University of Southern California (50 years)
Hollywood studio and concert performer (60 years)
Developer - IVASI System for audition preparation, Author - The Master Series for Horn, DVD and manual


Mastering the Horn's Low Register is a thoughtfully written and generous resource for students of the horn. I find Randy Gardner's observations and specific suggestions on how to practice each excerpt particularly useful and effective.
Eli Epstein
Second Horn - Cleveland Orchestra
Horn Faculty - Cleveland Institute of Music


Randy Gardner has created a top notch teaching aid and one of the most thorough tools any student could want to help master some of the most standard and necessary passages in the horn literature.
Martin Hackleman
Principal Horn - National Symphony
Former member - Canadian Brass, Empire Brass


Randy Gardner's publication Mastering the Horn's Low Register is a thorough, articulate and comprehensive treatise. It reflects his 22 years as second horn of The Philadelphia Orchestra plus a scholarly and musical approach to specific repertoire. His success as a teacher is well known and respected, and this book should be required reading for the serious hornist.
Michael Hatfield
Professor of Music, Brass Department Chair - Indiana University
Former Principal Horn - Cincinnati Symphony


Randy Gardner has generously shared his remarkable abilities as teacher and performer through this landmark book of great importance. He provides the equivalent of 30 full lessons on the most important passages that challenge the low hornist. He first places them in musical context, then discusses technical demands, suggests remarkably clever and useful practicing methods to apply to each specific problem, presents fully realized exercises derived from the excerpts themselves, while never loosing track of the ultimate musical goals of the composer. Truly a great resource for all horn players - should be considered as a required text for all aspiring young professionals, and for all professionals who wish to no longer ignore those long standing low range problems.
Douglas Hill
Professor of Music-Horn - University of Wisconsin-Madison
Author of Collected Thoughts on Teaching and Learning, Creativity and Horn Performance


Mastering the Horn's Low Register is a remarkably thoughtful, thorough, and detailed method book. Randy Gardner has provided an invaluable teaching tool for anyone who is looking to improve his or her playing...in any register.
Greg Hustis
Principal Horn - Dallas Symphony
Faculty - Southern Methodist University


In Mastering the Horn's Low Register Randy Gardner tells in great detail how players should develop this skill. He coaches orchestral excerpts in the correct way to impress audition committees. In the twenty-two years Randy played second horn in The Philadelphia Orchestra, he performed with great artistry. His book tells how he did it.
Mason Jones
Former First Horn (1940-1978) - Philadelphia Orchestra


Mr. Gardner's collection of low horn passages and the exercises required to perform them are a unique contribution to horn players, professionals and aspirants alike. While the parts themselves are almost universally available, the idea of pairing the music up with recommended practice methods in one book is like having a lesson with a low horn master, which Mr. Gardner undoubtedly is. This is a "must have" book for horn players of all stripes.
Daniel Katzen
Second Horn - Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles area studio musician
Faculty - New England Conservatory, California Institute of the Arts


This is a valuable addition to "horn world know-how". We, as so-called "high horn" players, look with envy at those of you who can float around down there with all that power and ease. This opus is sure to help those of us who need to be bumpered up in that end of the horn. Thanks, Randy.
Dave Krehbiel
Solo Horn (retired) - San Francisco Symphony


Written in a typically lucid, informative, thorough, and practical manner, Randy Gardner's Mastering the Horn's Low Register is destined to achieve a position of distinction and magnitude as one of the great pedagogical treatises of our profession. With an abundance of mystique-debunking wisdom, insight and practicality (both musical and extra-musical), Mr. Gardner's book is not for every horn player - only for those who aspire to become complete hornists and musicians.
Peter Kurau
Associate Professor of Horn - Eastman School of Music


Randy has written a wonderful resource for the self-motivated horn player seeking more comfort in the often neglected low register. It is essential to have command of all registers on the horn, and Randy offers many excellent techniques for improving the low range. Coincidently, I already use and teach some of the same techniques, as taught to me by my mentor and teacher, Carmine Caruso! A "must have" for the serious horn player.
Julie Landsman
Principal Horn - Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Horn Faculty - Juilliard School of Music


Randy Gardner's new book, Mastering the Horn's Low Register, is filled with sound advise for improving a hornist's musical and technical skills. A guide for the improvement of playing in the low register will be a valuable addition to the many books which concentrate mainly on the high register of the horn.
Nolan Miller
Principal Horn - Philadelphia Orchestra


This is the best method I have seen for many years, but the title is deceptive...it isn't just about the low register! To be able to play securely in the "second horn register" is the key to successful command of the horn in all registers. Randy's extensive experience as second horn with Philadelphia, as well as his gift for putting physical concepts into words and his teaching experience uniquely qualify him to produce this method. Randy gives clear explanations of concepts, then offers exercises to demonstrate them in a logical sequence that virtually guarantees improvement. I read and played through this book completely before writing this recommendation and can truly say that it is the most important new offering to the horn world since Kopprasch. Worth many times the price!
David Ohanian
Former Hornist - Canadian Brass, Empire Brass, Boston Symphony


Mastering the Horn's Low Register will be a vital and lasting book for students and professionals preparing for orchestral auditions. While providing an abundance of information on the low register, it also discusses many other elements of horn playing. Much emphasis is given to sound perception and production, air, embouchure and the musical mind. This book should be in the library of every serious horn player and teacher.
Verne Reynolds
Professor of Horn, Emeritus - Eastman School of Music


Modern horn players are expected to have total control of all registers high and low. I always tell my students "you cannot build good foundations from the top downwards". Randy Gardner has used his considerable knowledge and experience as a former 2nd horn with The Philadelphia Orchestra to fill an obvious gap in the horn teaching literature. With excellent technical and spiritual advice, Randy gives his fellow horn players a deep insight into the horn's "Cinderella" register. With a large selection of all the low horn excerpts you are likely to be asked for at an audition, this publication is a must for all aspiring 2nd and 4th horns and for all horn players who require a complete technique.
Hugh Seenan
Former Principal Horn - London Symphony Orchestra
Professor of Horn - Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London
Producer - The London Horn Sound CD


Mastering the Horn's Low Range is the most complete, systematic, and approachable treatment of this often overlooked aspect of horn playing published to date. The best recommendation for this book is Professor Gardner's own highly successful career as a performer and teacher. Both I and my students will benefit greatly from it.
Richard Seraphinoff
Associate Professor of Horn - Indiana University School of Music


This is an invaluable book for all horn players, and I have no hesitation in recommending it to every player, teacher and student.
Barry Tuckwell
International Horn Soloist, Recording Artist, Conductor, Author


After having played with Randy Gardner for 19 years in The Philadelphia Orchestra, I can vouch for his expertise in his excellent "Mastering the Horn's Low Register". Not only does he show you the technique for playing low horn well, but he also teaches you how to apply it to actual excerpts, making it an invaluable tool for auditioning.
Howard Wall
Fourth Horn - New York Philharmonic
Former Fourth Horn - Philadelphia Orchestra


Randy Gardner has written an excellent method aimed at helping all horn players to develop a solid and flexible low range. The method offers effective practice and preparation advice, as well as thorough explanations and interpretational discussions around the most common low horn excerpts. A must for every serious player and teacher - most highly recommended!
Frøydis Ree Wekre
Professor of Horn - Norwegian State Academy of Music


Randy Gardner's new book is a must for all levels of hornists. This new book is a wonderful practical guide of "how to" that has been a big void in the literature for horn players. The explanations of the technical and practice tips are very useful and the musical keys are what impressed me, and are usually lacking in the study of excerpts. Every serious horn student will not only benefit from the excerpts but also from the general explanations of wind, embouchure, and many other aspects of our profession as hornists. Basics, fundamentals, concepts...and with practical knowledge...it is a must.
Gail Williams
Professor of Horn - Northwestern University
Retired Associate Principal Horn - Chicago Symphony