Thoughts on Teaching and Playing the Horn

Embouchure rss


Surviving a Three-Service Day

December 21, 2015

December is a busy month for musicians, especially brass players. With frequent Holiday Pops concerts, Nutcracker ballets, and church performances, double and even triple service days can and do happen. A “service” is usually defined as a 2.5 hour rehearsal or performance, and while many orchestras and other ensembles have contract language limiting the number… Read More ›


Old Photos: An Early Embouchure Change

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 ›


The Road to Recovery: An Interview with Bruce Atwell

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 ›

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 ›

Do you use The Balanced Embouchure?

Recently this question has come up in a couple of places in reference to my recordings of several Kopprasch etudes on YouTube.  Rather than address questions individually, I decided to write a blog post.  In short, the answer is no, I do not use any exercises from The Balanced Embouchure, although I am seeing this… Read More ›

Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Part 2, Listening with your Eyes

In  Part 1 of this series on Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book Blink, we touched on some of the parallels that could be drawn between professional tennis players and brass musicians – namely the concept that even professionals in both fields might not always be aware of what they are doing physically to achieve high-quality results…. Read More ›

Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Part 1, The Locked Door

If you’re a fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book Outliers, I highly recommend Blink, also by Gladwell.  Where Outliers deals with extraordinary people who seem to defy the normal limits of human achievement, Blink attempts to explain how we arrive at split-second decisions.  In an early chapter in Blink titled “The Locked Door,” Gladwell discusses… Read More ›

Another Reason to Join the International Horn Society

As if you needed another reason to join this wonderful organization – which is made up of horn players from around the world – the IHS has recently made available Two Surveys of European Horn Playing Styles, one completed in 1964/65 by Wendell (Pete) Exline, and the other in 2010 by Dan Phillips (IHS webmaster… Read More ›

Is Playing the Horn Natural?

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading a series of posts by Bruce Hembd at Horn Matters on his own personal study of embouchure function.  You can read all the posts by following the links below. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV As an analyzer myself I found Bruce’s posts insightful and… Read More ›

A Short Bibliography of Resources for Beginning Horn Players

In a previous post on horn syllabi I mentioned that one item often included on a college-level horn syllabus is a bibliography of resources.  These lists usually include a number of “must-haves,” as well as several other optional publications.  One project I have been working on is compiling a bibliography of resources directed at beginning… Read More ›


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