Lauren Hunt, Instructional Assistant Professor of Horn
The Illinois State University horn studio is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students majoring in performance, music education, music business,
and music therapy. Professor Lauren Hunt teaches all horn students. Students receive weekly one-hour horn lessons each semester and meet for horn choir or studio classes twice per week. Horn students perform regularly in horn choir, wind ensembles, orchestras, brass quintets, woodwind quintets, horn quartets, and perform solo recitals.
To learn more about the Illinois State Horn Studio and Professor Lauren Hunt, visit her biographical page, subscribe to the Illinois State Horns YouTube Channel, and “like” the Illinois State University Horn Studio Facebook page.
Admissions, Scholarships, and Graduate Assistantships
Students are accepted to the horn studio based upon their audition for the school of music and their academic admission to Illinois State University. Horn audition requirements can be found here.
Auditioning students are considered for academic scholarships as well as music scholarships. Applicants residing in contiguous states to Illinois are automatically charged a rate of tuition equal to that of an in-state resident. Graduate assistantships are available for horn students. Feel free to email Professor Lauren Hunt with any questions.
All prospective students are urged to schedule a campus visit by email with Professor Hunt. A weekday visit to the ISU School of Music allows for the opportunity to have a complimentary private lesson with Professor Hunt, sit in on rehearsals of ISU ensembles, and meet current horn students. Auditions may be scheduled on weekdays in combination with a campus visit as well.
Audition Preparation Strategies
- Musical Product Dictates Technique
Listen to great recordings of solos and excerpts. Recordings by Tuckwell, Brain, Baumann, Ruske, hornexcerpts.org and YouTube recordings of solos, major orchestras, and military bands provide excellent role models for how your pieces should sound. The better you can memorize, remember, imagine, and concentrate on hearing the recording while you perform the better and easier you will play. Sing and mouthpiece buzz your audition music on pitch and in tune along with recordings. Buzzing on a mouthpiece rim or 2nd valve slide pull ring helps even more. In the moments before you play and while you play place 100% concentration on mentally hearing those recordings, allow no distractions, hear no language, or self-talk. Imitate the music that you mentally imagine and hear. Choose music, not fear. This simplifies everything and helps us sound great!
- Blow freely and fill the room with your sound. Remove the mouthpiece, place leadpipe between your teeth and blow large easy breaths through leadpipe and horn. Blow like that when you play. If you have a water key, empty that often and blow like checking for water or emptying water. It may help to think of blowing from the mouth and not the stomach.
- Practice performing the audition for family, friends, or substitute imaginary committees like a soda can or box that you imagine is really an audience. Run up and downstairs or around house to get your heart rate accelerated then immediately play the first phrase of your first piece several times in a row. Eventually your heart rate will be exactly how you will feel at the audition and then you will at least be accustomed to this feeling and learn how to play well.
- Make a motivational sheet of written affirmative statements which build confidence in your abilities. Read this motivational sheet as you wait to perform. As you lift your horn to play, mentally hear no language, only the recording you will imitate.
Graduate and undergraduate auditions for may be scheduled on weekdays in combination with a campus visit by emailing Dr. Neisler.
School of Music Audition Day Preview and Hints
School of Music Audition Days begin in our Center for the Performing Arts (CPA) Concert Hall. You should have already received directions and instructions, but just to make certain please review the following information.
Parking and Directions
You should park in the parking Deck B on University Street. You will be given a parking validation permit for free parking when you register in CPA. Please review the Campus Map links and Parking Directions below.
http://maps.illinoisstate.edu/?s=visitorSouthUniversityGarage and http://maps.illinoisstate.edu/?s=visitorBoneLot
You may park in any visitor parking spaces or garages, marked in purple on the map link. I recommend parking in the South University Street Parking Garage or the Bone Student Center Lot.
Graduate Auditions for prospective graduate students usually begin by 9:30 am on School of Music audition days. Prospective graduate students do not need to attend undergraduate audition day activities including the 9 am meeting. Prospective graduate students may proceed directly to the audition room or practice rooms.
Audition Day Schedule for Prospective Undergraduates
Friday audition days usually begin at 3 pm. Saturday audition days begin at 8:30 am.
Saturday Audition Day Schedule
- 8:30 am Arrive, park and walk to the Center for the Performing Arts concert hall, register that you have arrived and acquire your parking validation. You'll be given a personalized Audition Day Schedule at that time. Enjoy some coffee, donuts, juice, etc. Look for me so we can say hello prior to 9 am.
- 9:00 am Welcome, introductions, brief presentations
- 10:00 am Warmup (you'll receive instructions) graduate auditions often begin by 9:30 am and prospective graduate students do not need to attend the 9 am meeting.
- 10:25 am Undergraduate auditions begin, you'll be given a specific 15 min. time slot. Most students are finished by 1 pm.
If you have any piano playing experience you will want to meet with the piano faculty to determine your piano class placement. You should be done no later than 1 pm, perhaps earlier.
Wear weather appropriate professional looking attire so that you appear talented and dedicated.
Résumé and Post Audition Interview
Bring a 1 page resume or vita to share with the committee and the ISU folder and forms that you have been given. During the brief post audition interview, be able to tell the committee your ACT score, GPA, whether you are admitted to Illinois State University, why you selected the degree you wish to pursue and tell us about your career goals. This is the time to ask the committee any questions you may have. If you have any questions about forms, etc., You may want to contact Assistant Dean Janet Tulley at email@example.com or 309-438-3566.
Don't over practice the two days prior to the audition, just the usual amount or less. Too little is much better than too much. If you want to study the music and save chops, sing and finger your pieces on pitch and/or sing along with mp3s of your pieces. We'll be pulling for you to be comfortable and do your best. Take deep breaths to relax. Concentrate on mentally hearing a great player playing your pieces in your mind before and as you perform. Remember we'll be pulling for you to be comfortable and do your best.
Opportunities for ISU Horn Students
Live Streaming: Illinois State University ensemble concerts are live streamed. Check out the School of Music events calendar for upcoming events.
Illinois State University Bands: Participation in one of ISU’s four concert wind ensembles allows for a high-level band experience.
Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra: Recent orchestra repertoire includes Brahms Symphony No. 1, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5, Strauss Rosenkavalier Suite, and Schumann Symphony No. 3.
Chamber Music: Students perform with brass quintets, woodwind quintets and horn quartets on regularly scheduled student chamber music recitals each semester. Students receive weekly coaching with faculty. Graduate students play in the graduate brass or woodwind quintet.
The Big Red Marching Machine: Illinois State University's Marching Band performs at home football games, Chicago Bears games, parades and ceremonies. Each year, the marching band performs for an audience of over 10,000 at the State of Illinois Invitational High School Marching Band Championship. The Big Red has performed in events across the United States and Europe. All wind, color guard, and percussion players are accepted without audition.
"Courtside Players" Pep Band: The Illinois State University "Courtside Players" pep band performs at all Redbird Volleyball and Basketball games and campus events year round. Membership is open to all Illinois State University students that also play in a concert band. Every year, members of the pep band travel (all expenses covered) to the Missouri Valley Conference tournaments and any NCAA or NIT post-season play.
The Illinois State University Horn Choir: Open to students enrolled in applied horn and others by audition, the Illinois State University horn choir was featured at the 41st International Horn Symposium. The horn choir performs everything from standard horn choir literature to movie music and pop songs. The horn choir rehearses twice each week and performs at least once every semester.
Horn studio guest artists: Every year, the horn studio hosts at least one special guest artist. Previous guest artists include Hermann Baumann, Barry Tuckwell, Gail Williams, Eric Ruske, Jeff Nelsen, Martin Hackleman, and Froydis Ree Wekre.
Ensemble Auditions: Horn students audition once each semester for placement and part assignments in the wind ensembles and orchestras. These auditions are performed anonymously and results are not influenced by students’ degree or age. All horn sections rotate to provide a variety of part assignments.
Every year, the horn studio hosts at least one special guest artist. Previous guest artists include Hermann Baumann, Barry Tuckwell, Gail Williams, Eric Ruske, Jeff Nelsen, Martin Hackleman, Froydis Wekre, Jesse McCormick, hornists from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Paris Opera, and the St. Louis, Houston, Baltimore and National Symphonies and hornists with the U.S. Marine, Air Force, Army, and Navy Bands.
Recent Horn Guest Artists have included Dale Clevenger, former Solo Horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Luca Benucci, Solo Horn of the Florence Opera House, Robert Johnson, 3rd Horn of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, David Wetherill, former co-principal horn of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Thomas Bacon, former principal horn of the Detroit and Houston Symphonies and Jason Ayoub, principal horn of the U. S. Navy Band.
Illinois State University horn studio alumni perform and teach across the world. If you are an alumnus of the ISU Horn Studio and would like to be added to this list, please email Professor Lauren Hunt.
· Sarah Williams, BM ’14; US Army 82nd Airborne Division Band
· Nancy O’Neill, BME ’13; Fulbright Scholarship for studies in Finland; general music teacher, Westfield Community School (Algonquin, IL)
· Christine Smeltzer Hansen, BM ’06, MM ’13; 3rd horn, Millikin-Decatur Symphony; Advisor, ISU School of Music
· Alex Carlson, BME ’12; Director of Bands, Cary Jr. High School (Cary, IL)
· Saul Garland, MM ’12; Director of Bands, Las Cruces High School (Los Cruces, NM)
· Jerusha Johnson, MM ’12; Director of Bands, Madison Park Middle School (Phoenix, AZ)
· Amy Vasel, BME ’12; Director of Bands, Deer-Creek Mackinaw High School (Mackinaw, IL)
· Carrie Gatz-Martin, MM ’11; music therapist at Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care; Air National Guard Band of the Midwest
· Josh Wagner, BM ’11; Quantico Marine Corps Band; Armed Forces School of Music
· Jaclyn Wessol, BME ’10; Director of Bands, Norwood Elementary School (Peoria, IL)
· Sherrill Filzen, 2008; Professor, Knox College; Hornist, Prairie Wind Ensemble; retired music educator
· Barbara Hutchins, 2008; Hornist, Prairie Wind Ensemble; retired music educator
· Meryl Brown, MM ’06; Owner and Director of Developing Melodies
· John Hansen, BME ’06; Director of Bands, Midland High School (Varna, IL)
· Jennifer Szynal, BME ’06; Band Director, Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet, IL)
· Dr. Anna Henry Leverenz, MM ’05; US Army Band of Europe
· Heather Husley Perusek, MM ’05; US Army Ground Forces Band; formerly US Army Band of Europe
· Patrick Hill, BS ’04; Assistant Director, US Naval Academy Band
· Chris Render, MM ’02; Associate Director of Bands, Metamora Township High School; Director, Eureka College Band
· Peter Dahlstrom, MM ’01; US Air Forces in Europe Band
· Darcie Condon, BME ’00; Director of Bands, Heritage Grove Middle School (Plainfield, IL)
· Dr. Molly Gholson Carlson, BS ’99; Director, Hagerstown Community College; formerly Assistant Director, UW-Madison School of Music
· Shay Einhorn Henshaw, BME ’99; Director of Bands, Adams School and Jefferson Elementary School (Marion, IL)
· Ryan Heseltine, MM ’99; US Air Force Heritage of America Band
· Victor Pesavento, BS ’99; JoAnn Kane Music Service; 250 film credits in the Academy Awards; Music Director, Golden State Pops Orchestra
· Rachel Maxwell, BME ’93; District 308 Band Coordinator; Director of Bands, Traughber Jr. High Band (Oswego, IL)
· Timothy Mason, 1992-3; US Army 1st Cavalry Division Band
· Kent Baker, 1987-92, US Air Force Ceremonial Brass
· Dr. Melissa Edwards, MM ’89; Director of Admissions, Eastern Music Festival
· Dr. William Schaffer, MM ’89; Professor, Auburn University; La Grange Symphony; Principal horn, Sinfonia Gulf Coast
· Mike Indykiewicz, BM ’82; US Marine Band “President’s Own” (retired)
· Ruth Slone, BM ’82; Principal, Peoria Symphony
· Raymond Landon, BME ’81; former hornist and current musical resources specialist, US Air Force Heritage of America Band
· Rodger Burnett, BM ’76; Principal, Pacific Northwest Ballet; Professor, University of Puget Sound
· Christine Vandre, BME ’75; Hornist, Prairie Wind Ensemble; retired music educator
Like the Illinois State University Horn Studio Facebook Page which includes new mp3s and a schedule of upcoming events.
Subscribe to the Illinois State Horns YouTube Channel
Illinois State University Bands
Illinois State University Orchestra
International Horn Society
International Horn Competition of America