Thoughts on Teaching and Playing the Horn

Book Review: The Essential Guide to Horn Maintenance, by Glen Perry

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August 31, 2014 • Equipment, Reference, Repair, Reviews

The subject of maintaining and performing basic repairs on the horn is obviously very important, but to my knowledge it has not been discussed previously in a single, dedicated volume. Glen Perry, a freelance horn player and professional repair technician, takes on this daunting task in his new book, The Essential Guide to French Horn… Read More ›

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Book Review: The Essential Guide to Horn Maintenance, by Glen Perry

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The subject of maintaining and performing basic repairs on the horn is obviously very important, but to my knowledge it has not been discussed previously in a single, dedicated volume. Glen Perry, a freelance horn player and professional repair technician, takes on this daunting task in his new book, The Essential Guide to French Horn… Read More ›

Area Horn News »

Conference Report: 2014 International Women’s Brass Conference

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After a 1600 mile round trip, we returned to Louisiana early yesterday morning from the 2014 International Women’s Brass Conference, hosted by Dr. Raquel Rodriguez at Northern Kentucky University. Our performance went well, and overall it was a great experience. For more details on our program – Music for Brass Trio by Women Composers –… Read More ›

Biographical »

The Road to Recovery: An Interview with Bruce Atwell

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In the world of horn playing, Bruce Atwell has done it all. He’s performed in high level professional ensembles – the Philadelphia Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Milwaukee Symphony, to name a few – recorded multiple solo CDs, performed at numerous workshops and conferences, and taught at the college level. He is currently Professor of… Read More ›

Chamber Music »

More Works for Horn by Jan Koetsier

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Although my solo CD Jan Koetsier: Music for Horn contains a large sampling of the composer’s works for the instrument, there are several others which I did not record. There were various logistical reasons for not including these compositions, chief among them finding the required personnel, as well as the sheer number of works. There is enough… Read More ›

Embouchure »

Video: Lip Trill and Range Development Exercise by Douglas Hill

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Here’s a short video demonstration of a great exercise for working on lip trills and range development. The exercise can be found in two publications by Douglas Hill, Warm-ups and Maintenance Sessions for the Horn Player, and High Range for the Horn Player. Both books are highly recommended, and I have used them regularly for… Read More ›

Ensembles »

Sunday Review: New York Brass Arts Trio, Feats of Brass

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This week’s review will take a closer look at Feats of Brass, a fantastic new recording on Arabesque Records by the New York Brass Arts Trio. The ensemble is composed of three world class musicians, David Jolley (horn), Joseph Burgstaller (trumpet), and Haim Avitsur (trombone). The performers themselves don’t really need any introduction, so this review… Read More ›

Equipment »

Mouthpiece Survey Results

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and find yourselves refreshed and ready to tackle another year! I’ll be posting my usual semester preview next week, but as promised, here are the results from the Mouthpiece Survey. Before getting to the results here are a few points to keep in mind. Creating this… Read More ›

Etudes »

New Resource: Kopprasch Guide, Tips and Suggestions for the Op. 6 Studies

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Over the last few days I’ve gone through all of my posts related to the Kopprasch Project, and compiled them into a single document. As I wanted to focus only on tips and suggestions for the etudes themselves, the original posts have been edited for content. A link to a YouTube video of each study… Read More ›

Film Scores »

Friday Review: Video Games Live Concert

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Last weekend I performed with the South Arkansas Symphony for a program called Video Games Live. The show has been around for nearly 10 years, and has toured internationally. All of the music for the show is taken from current and past video games, and includes live and pre-recorded video footage, light effects, and other… Read More ›

General Information »

Thoughts on David Zerkel’s “Some Suggestions on Being an Effective Music Student”

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Recently David Zerkel, Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Georgia, posted a great Facebook note titled “Some Suggestions on Being an Effective Music Student, 2012 Edition.” The note quickly went viral, at least amongst music teachers, and can be easily found on Facebook. In addition, Kyle Hayes has reposted the note… Read More ›

Health »

Musician, Heal Thyself: Canker Sores

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Canker sores: these minor annoyances can become an issue for brass players, and over the years I’ve dealt with my fair share of them.  First, the disclaimer: I am not a physician, and the following material is based purely on my own experience.  It is not meant to be medical advice – when in doubt… Read More ›

Historical »

More Information on John Barrows

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Dave Stoller in Colorado recently posted some wonderful reminiscences about his former teacher John Barrows on my earlier article  “What Alec Wilder Thought of John Barrows.” With Dave’s permission I am re-posting them here because they will probably be of interest to lots of readers. Thanks again to Dave for sharing these! At the end… Read More ›

Instruments »

A New Toy

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Near the end of last semester I purchased a new toy — a natural horn. It’s a great little instrument, and perfect for my needs, which mainly involve demonstrations for students and general noodling around. The horn was created by removing the valve section from an old York single F horn, and the work was… Read More ›

Opera »

IHS 45 Report

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I returned yesterday from the 45th International Horn Symposium, hosted by Professor Dan Phillips at the University of Memphis.  First, hearty congratulations and a huge thank you to Professor Phillips and his students for putting on a fantastic symposium this year! Though there are similarities among all events of this type, each has its own… Read More ›

Orchestral Playing »

Have Horn, Will Travel: An Interview with Lauren Robinson, Part 2

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This Part 2 of a 2-part interview with Lauren Robinson, a professional horn player living and working in Denmark. Read Part 1 here. You’ve been active in music education as well, working as a teaching artist for The Philadelphia Orchestra’s School Partnership Program. Can you talk a little bit about this program and your experiences… Read More ›

Performing »

Notes from a Master Class on Performance Anxiety

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To close out this week’s series of master class notes (read Part 1 and Part 2), here are my notes from a talk given by David Sternbach, Research Director of the Center for Arts and Wellness at George Mason University. A former horn player himself, Mr. Sternbach visited a studio class during my time at… Read More ›

Philosphical »

Book Review: Notes of Hope

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One summertime activity I really enjoy is catching up on my reading list, which consists of a variety of books; some purely for pleasure – the Riverworld Series by Philip José Farmer and The Bourne Legacy by Eric Van Lusbader – and others for professional purposes. Notes of Hope, the topic for today’s brief review,… Read More ›

Physical Issues »

Thoughts on Lip Balms: Comment on Horn Matters Article

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Over at Horn Matters, John Ericson is wrapping up a great 14-week online course on horn pedagogy, and one of this week’s topics is lip care and lip balm. Dr. Ericson has invited comments on this issue, but rather than take up too much space on his site I thought it would be best to… Read More ›

Practicing »

Wednesday Review: Horn Fundamentals, by Bruno Schneider

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Most horn players today are fortunate to have a wide variety of quality practice materials available to them. Using the internet, one can readily find dozens of great methods, etudes, and other exercises to purchase (for a list of some of them, see this article). One recent addition to these materials is Bruno Schneider‘s Horn… Read More ›

Random »

Students: Looking for Something to Do this Summer?

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We heard some great brass juries today – bravo to all the students on their hard work!  I’m planning to post a bit more about juries on Wednesday, but for today here’s a list of some projects for horn students (and other brass players) to consider over the summer break. Summer is a great time… Read More ›

Recordings »

Recording Review: Solo, J. Bernardo Silva

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I received this very fine recording several months ago, and have listened to it multiple times. The soloist is Portuguese hornist  J. Bernardo Silva, a member of the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, and faculty at Espinho Professional Music School and at the University of Aveiro. Having previously reviewed  a handful of unaccompanied horn recordings… Read More ›

Reference »

Public Service Announcement: Private Lesson Scams

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Every semester I receive at least a few phishing emails – scams masquerading as legitimate requests to set up private lessons. Although the details of each email scam vary a bit, they all go something like this: Re: Private lessons for my daughter Hi, I want some private lessons for my daughter,Mary. Mary is a… Read More ›

Repair »

Horn DIY: Changing Mute Corks

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Here’s another entry in the “Horn DIY” series, changing mute corks.  My go-to straight mute is Ion Balu’s “Red Mahogany” model.  Over time the corks that came with the mute have worn and even started to break apart in a few places (see below). If you look closely at the top of the corks you… Read More ›

Repertoire »

Kickstarter Horn Solos Project

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Several months ago I contributed to a fundraising project on Kickstarter created by Jay Anderson, a software engineer and horn player. Anderson’s goal was to create clean, accurate type settings of several dozen public domain works for horn. For more information about his project, follow this link. In short, the project was fully funded, and… Read More ›

Reviews »

Friday Review: New E-Books for Horn

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As noted earlier this year, I have a backlog of new publications, recordings, and other items that I’m slowly working through in my review series. This week we’ll look at three electronic publications related to teaching the horn, I Like to Practice Scales, by Ricardo Matosinhos, Introducing the Horn, 2nd ed., by John Ericson, and A Mello Catechism, 2nd… Read More ›

Solos »

60 Years of Strauss 1 Recordings!

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**See the end of this post for supplementary information. This is a project I have wanted to put together for some time, and have been slowly plugging away at it over the last few weeks. Inspired by this video of the opening chords of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, I thought it would be fun to… Read More ›

Teaching »

Kopprasch Project “The Final Five” No. 57

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Number 57 is an arpeggiated study in staccato articulations, and it is deceptively difficult. Maintaining a centered tone and ringing staccato throughout this etude was a particular challenge for me. The tempo can range from quarter note = 108 – 160, as printed in my edition. Slurring the entire thing is helpful, as is practicing… Read More ›

Technique »

Developing Rhythm

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Kyle Hayes, editor of the International Horn Society’s Horn Zone and a graduate student in Switzerland, recently wrote in with the following question. Have you written anything on your blog with advice/aids in developing rock-solid timing?…Timing as in accuracy in rhythm, subdivision, and the like. Basically seeing the music and having the subdivision just happen… Read More ›

Technology »

Recording Project Update: First Edits and Beyond

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Here’s another brief update on my Koetsier recording project (read the previous one here). As of my last update I was still working on liner notes and waiting to dig in to some first edits of the pieces. I’m happy to report that I’ve completed the liner notes, coming in at 1954 words (2000 words… Read More ›

Uncategorized »

High School Recruiting Trip FAQ

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As part of a busy month of performances, the members of Black Bayou Brass (resident faculty brass trio at ULM) presented a series of concerts at several high schools in southern Louisiana. The concerts went well, and our audiences were very eager and attentive. There are some strong instrumental music programs in that part of… Read More ›

Warm-ups and Routines »

Long Tones: A Love/Hate Relationship

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This semester I added long tones back into my practice routine, and I’ve noticed some positive results over the past several weeks. To clarify, I normally play long tones in my warm-up routine, but it’s been a few years since I did any additional long tone work during the day. In graduate school I practiced… Read More ›

Websites and Blogs »

Funding Sources for Horn Players

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If you have a project in mind – either big or small – chances are that it requires (or would be improved by) some type of funding. Arts funding is incredibly competitive, but there are ways of putting together money to pursue research and/or creative projects. Here are a few resources and ideas to get… Read More ›

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