Recipe for Success: A balanced curriculum for young horn players

(6 customer reviews)


Houghton Horns is excited to present our new, engaging, and comprehensive 260-page horn method book for young players. This method begins day one and continues through several years of playing. Perfect for beginners, and also helpful for more advanced young students. Seventy years of research, three years of writing and preparation, thousands of dollars of investment… priceless and worth the wait!

Teachers: Use the code recipe10 at checkout for 10% off 10 or more copies!

Availability: 243 in stock

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Recipe For Success is designed for:

  • homogeneous beginning horn classes
  • private teachers, providing a comprehensive method for training young horn players
  • middle school and high school horn players, as a supplement to their band program
  • band directors, furnishing a valuable reference guide to encourage the development and success of their horn students
  • university brass/horn methods classes, providing future educators with concise and accurate information on teaching horn




About the Authors

Karen Houghton has been a private horn instructor for over forty years. Many of her former students now hold teaching and playing positions across the country. Karen enjoys teaching all levels and loves to see each student reach their potential on the horn. She has held positions in orchestras in the United States, Colombia, and Germany. Karen holds a degree in Horn Performance from California State University, Long Beach. Her teachers and mentors include: Ed Jackson, Fred Fox, James Decker, Philip Farkas, Michael Hoeltzel, and William Scharnberg. Currently, in addition to freelancing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Karen is an owner of Houghton Horns, a brass pro shop in Keller, Texas.

Janet B. Nye has been blessed with over twenty years of teaching and playing horn professionally. She especially enjoys starting beginners and working with them into adulthood. She is currently a permanent member of three regional symphonies, freelances throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and has toured for seven summers throughout Germany with Eurobrass. Se received her B.M.E. from the University of Cincinnati College, Conservatory of Music, and her M.M. in horn performance from Baylor University. Her teaching and playing has been strongly influenced by Koleta Tilson, Steven Gross, Michael Hatfield, Margaret “Peg” Robinson, Gregory Hustis, and Haley Hoops.




“Houghton and Nye have assembled a fresh, well balanced, and tasty resource designed to start young horn players with tools and excellent habits that will last a lifetime!  Stressing a balanced and well-thought-out approach to horn playing with a variety of music, exercises, photographs, duets, student compositions, and activities, the format of this “Recipe” book will appeal to young students and their teachers, and serve as a great reference book for band directors.”

Patrick Hughes, Horn Professor, University of Texas Austin.


“A new and exciting comprehensive guide for beginning horn players, Recipe for Success provides a thorough and eye-catching introduction to the horn.  Karen Houghton and Janet B. Nye, with decades of teaching experience, serve readers with a complete curriculum from the very beginning.  The book is beautifully and attractively set with an imaginative culinary pattern.  Each chapter has a Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, with Objectives, Dessert, and other resources.  A timely book, highly recommended to introduce the horn to young people.”

Steven Gross, Horn Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

Recipe for Success is a wonderful resource for both the classroom and private teacher. This progressive approach to the fundamentals of horn playing are both creative and fun, and your students are guaranteed to leave nourished after every lesson. I recommend this book to the young and veteran teacher, as there is something new for both the student and the teacher.This progressive approach to the fundamentals of horn playing is both creative and fun and your students are guaranteed to leave nourished after every lesson! Everyone should eat from this menu!”

Robert Herrings, Band Director Hughes Middle School, Austin, TX


This book really is the “recipe” for young Horn players and their “Chefs”. This book forms a cohesive curriculum for the first three years of musical education on the French Horn. A must have for music educators and students!

Dean Surface, Band Director, Trinity Springs Middle School


I’m always looking for instrument specific materials to use for teaching my beginner band classes. Recipe for Success is a great way to get your horn students started on a fundamentally sound pathway to success. My students really like the format of the book and I love that it is far removed from the “one size fits all” approach to instrumental instruction.

John Morgan, Band Director, Acton Middle School


Recipe for Success is an easy-to-understand, comprehensive approach to learning solid fundamentals and skills on the french horn for beginners and experienced players alike. My students made fantastic progress using these thoughtful and organized exercises, as well as shared a few smiles while working through our ‘food groups.’ A well balanced meal (approach) is the best way to start your day, and this book does just that!

Jed Maus, Band Director, Keller Middle School


This book is exactly what everyone has been looking for. The perfect step-by-step process to teach beginning horn. As a horn player myself, it truly helps me prioritize everything for my students. I have seen so much improvement, not only in how my beginners learn, but how 7th and 8th graders develop in their early years. Karen and Janet worked diligently to make the perfect book and my kids are hungrier than ever to get better. 10 out of 10!

Brandon Day, Band Director, Azle High School

Upon receiving this book, my first reaction was, “Yes – finally!” I could not have been more excited about this resource, and an examination of its contents paved the way for continued celebration. What a fantastic book Houghton and Nye have created. It is chock full of valuable and easy-to-ingest information, combining photographs and graphics with well-phrased, clear and concise directives and descriptions.

Houghton and Nye have adopted a “food-centered” theme and use this to organize the concepts. They suggest alternate means for creating and switching up a daily routine using each of their categories; e.g., Fruits and Vegetables=Range and Flexibility, Dairy=Breathing. Among many other things, exercises, duets, and a practice log (of which the authors encourage duplication) are some of the many resources included in this book. The numerous analogies and parallels that are made really help to solidify the significance of each skill and activity, their place within a daily routine, and how imperative it is to include them.

Our basic human need for sustenance and nutrition is a vital connection to the function of each of these elements of healthy horn playing and musicianship. Where so many of the books that target beginning horn players fall short, Recipe for Success provides the resources necessary for the well-rounded, healthy, and solid foundation that every horn player needs. This book appeals to horn players of all ages, is comprehensive and easy to read and understand, and gives suggestions for ways in which approaches for different learning styles may be implemented.

For band directors using a band method, this book would be the perfect resource for their horn students whose specific needs are so often overlooked in the push to put together a concert program in a short amount of time. Teachers, both in a school and private setting, can feel confident that in recommending this book to their students, they are giving them a resource which is fun and engaging, and which presents concepts in a way that will help students to connect with the material and build a solid foundation of skills. Parents, too, can be part of of the process, as the information is presented in such a way that it is accessible and easy to understand – you don’t need to be a trained musician to make sense of this book. It could also be used at the collegiate level, with horn students who are developing their pedagogy, or by non-horn players in a methods class setting.

Many of the resources with which I grew up, though solid and certainly an important part of the literature, are just not as user friendly as this book. Young and old, as well as beginning and more advanced students, will find the material easy to digest (pun intended) and enjoy the book in a variety of ways.

Heidi Lucas, The Horn Call


Horn folks…if you are having to resort to Skype lessons during this time there is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

I purchased it to use with one of my young students (he’s 10 years old) and it has been a game changer. The way the book is structured and builds on foundational skills as well as the little notes and illustrations are great. The analogies and images that are used really seem to connect with students and help them visualize what it is we are doing with the instrument. If you’re teaching young students and especially want to find something that works well with Skype, this is the ticket!!

Jon Carroll, from the Horn People Facebook group

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 9 × 1 in

6 reviews for Recipe for Success: A balanced curriculum for young horn players

  1. Sarah (verified owner)

    This book is incredible and wildly creative – as a first year private lesson instructor, it’s been an extremely helpful guide for me to help my young students grow as musicians. All the basics are covered, and it can be utilized with beginners to early high school. A very worthwhile investment.

  2. Thomas Fulton (verified owner)

    I have been waiting for this book! I got to view the preview copy at the Midwest Clinic, and in talking with Karen about the rationale behind this book I feel like this is a solid beginning method for any student. If you’re a horn player, then you know we are into cheesy puns and this book takes the cake literally setting up horn instruction as a cookbook! Lots of thought went into this book. It’s not just fluff, this book is what every horn player needed when they started. It’s also a fantastic resource for that band director who has little to no experience on the French Horn. I play the horn, but I could see a non-horn player being able to create successful beginners, intermediate, and even advanced students using the techniques from this book. I wish there was a book like this for all of my beginning students! I am a horn player that switched from the dark side of trumpet playing in high school. I wish I would have had this method on day one! A FANTASTIC RESOURCE!

  3. Mandy Twomey

    This book was recommended to me by a couple of my horn playing band director friends. I told them how as a bassoonist my weakest instrument both in playing and teaching is the horn. Since I purchased this book, it has helped me so much and consequently has improved my 6th grade horn students! I love the layout, the explanations, and the cute way everything is put as if it’s a cookbook. You. Need. This.

  4. Mandy Twomey (verified owner)

    This book was recommended to me by a couple of my horn playing band director friends. I told them how as a bassoonist my weakest instrument both in playing and teaching is the horn. Since I purchased this book, it has helped me so much and consequently has improved my 6th grade horn students! I love the layout, the explanations, and the cute way everything is put as if it’s a cookbook. You. Need. This.

  5. John Groves (verified owner)

    This is the book all of us have thought about writing! I absolutely love the approach and the fact that it gets young players into the low register early on–a glaring weakness in so many elementary methods. The routines presented will build good, solid habits which will last a lifetime. I strongly recommend all teachers of Horn utilize this incredible resource!

  6. Mike Jackson (verified owner)

    This is an excellent book! I’m a beginner horn player and this book is instructive and interesting and fun. My horn teacher used the exercises extensively.

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