University of Idaho Horn Studio Syllabus

Course Numbers:
CRN 12890 – MUSA 114-22: Studio Ins: Horn
CRN 23291 – MUSA 115-22: Studio Ins: Horn
CRN 12923 – MUSA 124-22: Studio Ins: Horn
CRN 12948 – MUSA 134-22: Studio Ins: Horn
CRN 32893 – MUSA 314-22: Studio Ins: Horn
CRN 12997 – MUSA 324-22: Studio Ins: Horn
CRN 13020 – MUSA 334-22: Studio Ins: Horn
CRN 35843 – MUSA 514-22: Studio Ins: Horn

Credits: 1 – 2

PHONE: 970.988.3838

Required Materials for Vandal Horn Studio
U of I Applied Horn Scale Progression
U of I Applied Horn Weekly Assessment
U of I Terms/Listening/Dictation Exam Example

Time: TBD
Location: TBD

Progression Grade – 50%

  • One-Shots – 5%
  • Semester Scale Requirement – 5%
  • Routine Development – 10%
  • Etude/Excerpt Progression (includes midterm YouTube video) – 30%

Final Assessment – 50%

  • Final Project YouTube Video – 10%
  • Terms/Listening/Dictation Exam – 10%
  • Accurate Pitch, Rhythm and Musical Development (the jury) – 30%


Students majoring in horn performance are expected to place the horn as a priority while at the University of Idaho. The performance profession is a highly competitive field where only those who are thick skinned, strong, and persistent can survive. You must have a passion for your instrument and a strong desire to practice in order to take the first step toward becoming a world class musician and horn player.

Students majoring in music education will be held to the same performance standards as a performance major with exception to the number of recitals and credits required. As a music educator you have chosen to take your passion for music and inspire the youth in your community. You are expected to represent your instrument and your profession to the best of your ability in order to create a never ending stream of patrons for the arts.

Students choosing the horn as their principal instrument as a non-major or in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts degree must be able to demonstrate excellent musical understanding in rhythm, pitch, tone production and musicianship. The standards laid out above will help you to achieve your goals.


My job is to train and educate you for a career as a professional performer and/or performer/educator. Applied horn is a progressive activity, consequently; delineation between success and failure depends on you. Progress is equated to achievement, stagnation leads to failure. The following objectives serve as a measure of progress:

(1) ROUTINE DEVELOPMENT: Part of your grade depends on how you develop and implement your daily routine. This project is designed to make you a better player but also to continually remind your body that it needs to be in a constant state of readiness. Taking a day off is simply unacceptable at this stage in your career. This routine will make sure that you will be able to get your skill set done if you have a busy day. We will constantly go through this routine during Studio Warmup. Routines include but are not limited to:

Lip Trills
Long tones
High Range Exercises
Low Range Exercises
Very loud playing and very soft playing
Scale work
Free buzzing and mouthpiece buzzing

(2) TONE: Taking the time to develop your individual tone will lead you to greater success in the classroom, on the stage, and within the audition circuit. This requires intense listening to your teachers, top orchestral players, and world class chamber musicians. Doing so does not require you to duplicate their sound. You are expected to take facets from others and incorporate them into your own individual sound concept. It is my job to tell you what sounds good and what sounds bad, but you are expected to learn how to properly discern the same.

(3) TIME: Rhythm is the most important aspect of a professional musician. You will be given many tools which will help guide you through the understanding of time and the importance of the portrayal of time to your audience. Time is the foundation on which a story is told. Sound without rhythm = noise.

(4) DIAGNOSTICS: You will learn to develop and implement technique the required to become a successful performer/educator. These techniques are essentially self-evaluation tools needed to properly diagnose whatever it is you need to do in order to perform and teach effectively. THESE TOOLS ARE IMPLEMENTED IN THE PRACTICE ROOM!

(5) HISTORY: Develop a comprehensive awareness of literature available as well as the history and heritage of the orchestral horn.


Weekly, 50 minute lessons are the primary source to diagnose how to go about achieving the objectives laid out above. In order for you to reach your goals, attendance at weekly lessons is mandatory. Students enrolled for 25 minute lessons are required to practice a minimum of 2 hours daily. Students enrolled for 50 minute lessons are required to practice a minimum of 3 hours daily. Excused absences will be granted in extreme circumstances, with documentation and 24 hour notification. Unexcused absences will result in a grade of F for that lesson and lowering of letter grade (10% per absence). Repeated absences will continue to lower grade resulting in the failure of this class. Below are the criteria for weekly lesson evaluation – an assessment sheet is listed in the addendum section below:

Attitude and professional demeanor – dress appropriately, no hats.
Be on time and warmed up for every lesson
Show quality preparation of assigned materials
Demonstrate consistency of progress
Display conceptual application of technique during lessons
Demonstration of musicianship

Expectations for each lesson will differ from week to week in order to accommodate whatever it is you need to improve but a basic format follows. For you to achieve an ‘A’ per lesson you need to (1) pass three separate studies (etude or excerpt), (2) display a new routine item or show improvement on a past routine item, and (3) display knowledge of drone exercises – do not sight read!.

NOTE: You must be aware that I occasionally use physical contact in order to address a mechanical issue. Under no circumstances will there be any sort of physical contact below the shoulder/collar bone line. An example would be the use of a thumb on the chin or index finger on the corner of the mouth. I find this teaching style to be extremely effective in solving a problem. If you are uncomfortable with this type of problem solving we can always address the issue verbally.


Each horn student in the studio is required to attend and participate in Studio Class. Attendance policies are the same as those stated for weekly lessons. The Studio Class will meet once a week. Location and time will be announced. Material covered will include master classes discussing memorization, breathing, performance practice, excerpts, transposition, jury preparation, performances by Prof. Johnston and members of the studio. Students are required to perform once each semester during studio class.


Every Monday and Wednesday morning from 730am to 820am we will hold a group warmup held in the horn studio. During this time we will discuss routine development and slowly implement the material required to create a proper and efficient routine designed to continually push your playing to the highest of levels.


This semester all students enrolled in Applied Lessons MUST participate in horn choir.  Meeting times may occur outside of the normal school day (8am – 5pm). We will attempt to continue the collaboration with WSU.


Each Student should make every effort to be alert to the studio’s activities, events, and notices. The easiest way to accomplish this is constant discussion between the studio members and the instructor. Items will be posted outside the studio door and/or on the studio Facebook page.

Students are required to have and maintain a current email address. It is the student’s responsibility to regularly check their email account.


Understanding the languages of music is essential to a musicians’ ability to interpret literature accurately. You will be given all the terms and definitions by the third week of classes. The exam itself will occur three weeks prior to finals week.


Scales form the foundation of which all musicians build their skills. Time will become a factor as you continue to progress through your degree. Progression will be discussed on an individual basis, but in the Addendum you will find a chart indicating the minimal amount of progress you need to accomplish throughout your four years here at the university. Be sure to keep up! It would be best to complete one to two scales per lesson. You may attempt them as many times as it takes. NO MISSES!!!!


The exam portion will consist of “one shots.” Aptly named, one shots will eventually consist of all major and minor scales with arpeggios. In order to pass one shots you must play the scales and arpeggios with no misses, chips, burrs, etc. If one note is not perfect the scale/arpeggio is not accepted and you will move on to the next. Present the scales either around the circle of fifths or chromatically. The one shots must be completed by the last week of classes. You can try as many times as you feel necessary. Missing one note (thus the entire pattern) will still result in an A, missing a second will give you a B, and missing a third will get you a C. Anything below will constitute a failure.


A Final Jury will be performed at the conclusion of each semester of applied study.  This performance is an important benchmark as it provides the opportunity to evaluate the progress and application of all segments of applied horn study. For the jury, it is required and necessary for you to obtain the services of a qualified accompanist as soon as possible (i.e. 4th week of school!!). In preparation for the jury performance, it is required that each student rehearse at three times with the accompanist during the student’s regularly scheduled weekly lesson with the studio teacher. YOU WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO PERFORM A JURY WITHOUT A COLLABORATIVE PIANIST RESULTING IN A 20% DROP OF YOUR GRADE!!!


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