Thoughts on Teaching and Playing the Horn

Back to Basics: One Month with the Standley Routine

October 5, 2015 • Practicing, Repertoire, Teaching, Technique

At the beginning of September I decided to take a break from my regular warm-up and maintenance routine – Douglas Hill’s Warm-ups and Maintenance Sessions for the Horn Player – and began working on the Standley Routine. Going in, I decided to commit to it for one month before making any long term decisions. If… Read More ›


Back to Basics: One Month with the Standley Routine


At the beginning of September I decided to take a break from my regular warm-up and maintenance routine – Douglas Hill’s Warm-ups and Maintenance Sessions for the Horn Player – and began working on the Standley Routine. Going in, I decided to commit to it for one month before making any long term decisions. If… Read More ›

Area Horn News »

Horn Symposium Update No. 4

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Today was a little bit different in terms of what I attended, but it was still a very productive day at the symposium. I’ll give my customary recap below, but have also included a list of some new music and equipment purchased during the week. Although I have been pretty selective at this symposium with… Read More ›

Biographical »

Old Photos: An Early Embouchure Change

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Going through a box of old photos recently, I came across a few pictures showing my embouchure setup from my early high school days. These photos were taken during the summer of 1996, and beginning that fall I made a pretty big adjustment to my mouthpiece placement. In the long run it was definitely the… Read More ›

Chamber Music »

Upcoming Presentation: An Introduction to Solo Duet Training for Horns


[This is the third and final post in a series related to events at the upcoming 47th International Horn Symposium. You can read the first one here, and the second one here.] I will round out my week at the 47th International Horn Symposium with a presentation titled “An Introduction to Solo Duet Training for… Read More ›

Embouchure »

Video: Lip Trill and Range Development Exercise by Douglas Hill


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 »

Upcoming Performance: University of Wisconsin-Madison Alumni Horn Ensemble


[This post is the second in a series related to events at the upcoming 47th International Horn Symposium. You can read the first one here.] The 47th International Horn Symposium is less than two months away, and I’m very excited to attend what promises to be a huge event. The lineup of artists, presenters, and… Read More ›

Equipment »

Summary Comments: Spun vs. Hand Hammered Bells

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Thanks to everyone who participated in my poll on spun vs. hand hammered bells. Though hardly a scientific study, it was really interesting (and fun!) to view the results and read the comments left on the page. The voting was pretty close, with Bell No. 2 being preferred by 56% of listeners, and Bell No…. Read More ›

Etudes »

Coming Soon from Mountain Peak Music: Solo Duet Training for Horns


In my Semester Preview, I mentioned a new book project for Mountain Peak Music. Work on the publication has been going well, with an anticipated release in 2015. The title is Solo Duet Training for Horns, and it will consist of duo adaptations of several standard solo works for the horn. David Vining, owner of… 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 »

Job Listings Page Update


Check out the Job Listings page for information on several upcoming auditions, including positions in the New York Philharmonic, U.S. Marine Band, and Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.

Health »

Musician, Heal Thyself: Canker Sores


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 »

A Treasury of Horns!

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I had the opportunity last week to speak with Craig Pratt, a longtime member of the Shreveport Symphony’s horn section, about his extensive collection of rare and interesting horns. Craig was generous enough to let me photograph some of these instruments, and offered very knowledgable comments about their history and design. His collection is surely… 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 »

Semester Preview, Part 2: Orchestral Bucket List, Horn Conferences, Book Projects, and More!!

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Here’s Part 2 of my semester preview, with some more brief descriptions of what will be happening in Spring 2015 and beyond (Part 1 is located here). Orchestral Performances: This spring I’ll have the opportunity to perform on three major orchestral works I’ve never played before: Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No…. Read More ›

Performing »

Notes from a Master Class on Performance Anxiety


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


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 »

Friday Potpourri


An assortment of news, websites, gear, and other items of interest from around the horn world. Just Sayin’: A new (and free)  smartphone app which allows you to “post any combination of voice, text, photos and video to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.”  Definitely some possibilities here for musicians. Horn Playing from the Inside Out:… Read More ›

Recordings »

Recording Review: Table for Three


Table for Three is a brand new recording from Summit Records featuring three very prominent figures in the world of brass playing – John Ericson (horn), Douglas Yeo (bass trombone), and Deanna Swoboda (tuba). All three are members of the brass faculty at Arizona State University, with distinguished careers as performers and educators. The album… Read More ›

Reference »

Review: Good Vibrations: Masterclasses for Brass Players, by Randy Gardner

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Good Vibrations: Masterclasses for Brass Players is the title of a new book by Randy Gardner, Professor of Horn and Chair of the Winds and Brass Department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. I have been meaning to write a review for the past several weeks, but as there are already some great ones out there… 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 »

Friday Review: New Publications from AvA Editions, Little Suites 1, 2, and 3 by Ricardo Matosinhos

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Recently I received several new publications from AvA Musical Editions, which specializes in the music of Portuguese composers. Though they aren’t very well known in the United States, AvA has a variety of high quality publications for horn and other brass instruments. Ricardo Matosinhos, Little Suite Nos. 1-3, for Horn and Piano I have previously… Read More ›

Reviews »

Summer Plans, 2015

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After a somewhat busier-than-usual end to the semester, I’m finally settling into a summer schedule. As always, the next several weeks will include some much needed relaxation and social time with family and friends. In addition, I have some exciting events and projects to plan for in the coming months. Here’s a brief summary, with… Read More ›

Solos »

60 Years of Strauss 1 Recordings!


**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 »

Five Years of Horn World

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Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of Horn World. Looking back at my first post from June 2010, I still feel very much the same about the goals and overall direction of the site. As a way to recap and reflect, here are some of the reasons I began blogging (taken from that first post), with… 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 »

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 ›

Uncategorized »

High School Recruiting Trip FAQ


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


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 »

Five Reasons to Join the International Horn Society

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For several years I’ve had the privilege of serving as an area representative for the International Horn Society, with one of my duties being to encourage and promote membership in the organization. Recently I received some information regarding the number of IHS members in each state here in the U.S., and the bottom line is… Read More ›


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