These duets are written with the first year brass player in mind, although the collection can be effective for use with intermediate players as well. Since Horn players benefit from playing with keyed instruments for ear training, this book is entirely compatible with the CLARINET book.
The collection will work as a great compliment to any beginning band or horn method book, as it introduces and reinforces basic concepts throughout. Unlike many progressive duet books this book does not get too hard too fast, yet exposes young players to a lot of essential concepts and musical variety.
For maximum accessibility, many of the duets are 8 to 16 bars long, written with half-notes and quarter-notes in parallel 3rds, predictable harmony, and very modest range (eventually expanding down to F and up to E-flat at the top of the staff). There is only very sparse use of dotted rhythms, triplets, or 8th-note up-beats, and no pick-ups or 16th notes.
However, this collection is unique in that is also features less-familiar accidentals, contrary motion (which tends to challenge young ears, especially among brass players), independent rhythm and counterpoint, major and minor, modal and whole-tone compositions, less-familiar time signatures, (3/4, 3/8, and 5/4, especially), and even an introduction to the circle of 4ths.
A majority of the duets come without tempo, style, or articulation markings to allow students and teachers the freedom to mix it up as much as possible or as necessary based on skill level. (Beginners are encouraged to play at a slow, steady tempo with a very big sound for all duets unless otherwise marked or directed by their teacher.) Many duets are presented more than once to offer additional challenges or in order to make comparisons between major and minor, or different keys and time signatures.
These can be used as bite-sized confidence builders for budding brass players, sight-reading and intonation studies for intermediate players, or as very basic material for the introduction of transposition, ornamentation, or music theory. Excellent for the studio teacher and a great, easy resource for busy band directors with ambitious beginners.
**Due to the variety of approaches in beginning band regarding horn range, most duets offer octave divisi to give the player the option to play in a familiar register AND develop the register that is less familiar.