Summer French Horn Academy Online

Summer 2021 Online Programs Now Open!

Part of Mason Summer Music Intensive Week!


Camp director, James Nickel of the National Symphony Orchestra, invites you to join him for Mason Arts Academy’s French horn camp.

Our days will be filled with guided warm-ups, mock auditions to help get you comfortable performing in front of others, and ensemble playing from duets to horn choir. We will cover general music topics such as improving rhythm and intonation, and some horn-specific ones such as transposition and repertoire. In addition to our group sessions, each person will receive private lessons. I look forward to seeing you this Summer!


Ages:  13 – 18
Dates:  June 28 – July 2, 2021 (M-F)
Times:  9:00 am – 12:00 pm EST
Tuition:  $250
Location:  Zoom (Details provided in Welcome Letter)




Register Now




Instructor: James Nickel
Mason School of Music Professor
Read about Professor Nickel

James Nickel has served as Third horn with the National Symphony Orchestra since 2008. Previously, he was the Assistant Principal horn with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Associate Principal Horn with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as guest Principal hornist with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra on their European tour in 1998, and performed with the orchestras of Houston, Detroit, Fort Worth, Rhode Island, and the Boston Philharmonic. He can be heard on recordings by the National, Dallas, Detroit, and Montreal symphonies, and also with his horn colleagues from the Dallas and Houston symphonies on their Crystal records CD Texas Horns.

Professor Nickel has been featured as a soloist with the National Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, and the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. While performing with the SE Iowa Symphony he participated in a two week residency of Iowa performing 3 school concerts a day, recitals, and soloing with the orchestra.

In the summertime Prof. Nickel has participated in the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in Stellenbosch, South Africa, the Music in the Mountains festival in Durango, CO, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Spoleto festival, the American Wind Symphony, the Texas Music Festival, the and Sarasota Music Festival.

In addition to his performing, Mr. Nickel is adjunct professor (Applied Lessons, Horn) in the School of Music. He also serves on the faculty of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Professor Nickel earned his B.M. from the New England Conservatory of Music. He is a native of St.Petersburg, Florida, but now lives in Virginia with his wife Julianna and their two children.




“I really enjoyed learning about new ways to warm up and getting yourself ready to play the horn as well as talking with guest artists from New York, Tokyo, etc.” – Summer French Horn Academy 2020 Participant

See More Testimonials

“The French Horn Academy was outside-the-box programming. I liked it was an interactive class showcasing other ways horns are utilized outside of the “traditional.” I also liked getting to meet the guest artists and learning about their journeys to where they are today. ” – Summer French Horn Academy 2020 Participant

“Everything was fantastic! I enjoyed meeting Mr. Nickel and the horn guests and their topics” – Summer French Horn Academy 2020 Participant




Full Camp List