Red Chief has chosen to play French horn in middle school band next year. When I talk to brass players about it, they first thing they ask is, "Does he have a good ear?" The second thing they say is, "You know French horns are expensive, right?" Luckily for Red Chief, he does have a good ear (and about three years of piano lessons)—and as for the expense, well, see below. We were blessed.
I started looking for a private teacher early, hoping we'd find one by the end of the summer—and found one surprisingly fast. The good news is that he helped us find a high-quality used horn, and that saved us about $1700. And he's an excellent teacher and professional player. The bad news is that the lessons are downtown (not very close to our house) during rush hour on Friday.
Red Chief will have a whole summer of lessons under his belt before he starts band next year. So far he likes it enough to practice twice a day, and he's making good progress. (He can find four or five notes consistently! Hooray!)