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English horns have a somewhat unusual name, considering that they are neither English nor horns. Instead, this instrument is a cousin to the oboe that rings one perfect fifth lower. Translation errors are probably to blame for the odd name, but an instrument sounds the same in any language and the English horn's smooth, rich tone has made it important in music for more than two centuriesâ€”even if nobody could initially agree on what to call it. Though it's important to note that the English horn and the oboe are two very different instruments, one thing that they do have in common are the fingerings. This means that if you're an oboe player just picking up an English horn for the first time, you're already well on your way to learning it. You'll need a bigger embouchure and stronger airflow to play the English horn, which is no surprise considering that it's quite a bit larger than the oboe. Like most instruments in the brass and woodwind families, the English horn is available in multiple levels of trim designed to best suit musicians in different stages of their careers. For a beginner, it's hard to go wrong with a student-oriented instrument such as the Fox Model 555, which comes with a starter set of everything you need to get up and running, including two bocals, a reed, cleaning swab and cork grease, as well as cases for the reed and the English horn itself. Student models like this are often made of resin, which has exceptional durability that makes it excellent for taking to band practices and trips. Professional English horns, like those from Marigaux and F. LorÃ©e, are usually crafted in Grenadilla wood. As a word of advice if you're moving for the first time from a resin English horn to a wooden one, make sure to read up on 'breaking in' the instrumentâ€”it's an important part of getting a wooden English horn. With a number of English horns to choose from, there is sure to be one that meets your needs. If you're not sure whether resin or wood is right for you, there are even hybrid instruments that use Grenadilla in the lower joint and bell with a resin upper joint, giving you the advantages of each material in the parts of the instrument that need it most. Choose an English horn in your preferred material and with the bundled accessories you need, and set your sights on perfecting your skill with the oboe's big brother.