Several months ago, I stumbled across the Facebook page for the horn studio at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Under the expert tutelage of Randy Gardner, the studio consistently produces great horn players and teachers. One post on their Facebook page that caught my eye mentioned the “Randy Gardner Accuracy Challenge.” Intrigued, I followed the link to the blog of Rachel Hockenberry, a horn studio graduate assistant at CCM. On her blog she explains how the challenge came to exist, and how to execute it.
Never forgetting about his students during the summer, one of a few summer projects Mr. Gardner assigned us is what I will refer to as the Randy Gardner Accuracy Challenge, or simply The Challenge. Mr. Gardner created and subjected himself to this exercise over the course of a summer during his college years. The Challenge requires the participant to own book 1 of the Maxime-Alphonse 200 Etudes nouvelles melodies et progressives pour cor. Here’s how you play:1. Open your Maxime-Alphonse to the first page.2. Play the first etude PERFECTLY three times IN A ROW. Do not miss a note. Do not even let so much as an unclean attack make its way into your performance. Follow all articulations, dynamics, phrasing and tempi.3. If you miss a note, DO NOT STOP. Finish the etude, then start over.4. If you mess up in your second or third repetition, you must complete the repetition and then start over again at performance #1. For example: if you miss a note in the middle of your second repetition, you must play to the end of the etude, and then start over with attempt #1.5. You guessed it: even if you miss the very last note of your third repetition, you must start the cycle over again. You must play the etude perfectly three times IN A ROW before you can move on to the next etude.6. Repeat this process for all 70 etudes.