Fall Semester Preview

Classes began last week at ULM, and I am looking forward to an exciting semester of teaching and playing. Here are some highlights coming up in the next few months.

Horn Studio

This semester ULM horn students will be working on weekly assignments from The Brass Gym by Sam Pilafian and Patrick Sheridan, edited for horn by John Ericson. I have assigned parts of this book to students in the past, but I thought it would be fun this year to make it a project for the studio. If you aren’t familiar with The Brass Gym, here’s a brief summary from my article published in the May 2011 issue of The Horn Call. 

This superb workout proves that daily routines can be exciting, engaging, and yes, even fun to play. Ericson has taken the original routine as developed by tubists Sam Pilafian and Patrick Sheridan and adapted it wonderfully for horn…Although designed as a complete routine, any of the patterns work quite well when excerpted and placed into other routines, or saved for later practice throughout the day.

Some of the exercises are quite challenging, but they build towards the difficulties in a gradual and logical way. In addition to their Brass Gym assignments, my students will also be keeping practice journals. There are some really nice (and free!) smartphone apps out there for keeping track of your practice sessions, including PracticeMusic (iPhone) and JustPratice (Android). What I like about both apps is that you can program in your repertoire and view reports about practice sessions over a period of time.

Horn and Percussion Recital

On October 8th, Dr. Mel Mobley and I will present a joint recital of music for horn and percussion. I’ve been busy practicing this challenging, but fun music, and I plan a few more posts about specific works in the near future. Here’s the program.

  • Susan Salminen, Fanfare for Horn and Timpani
  • Daniel McCarthy, The Call of Boromir for Horn and Marimba
  • Verne Reynolds, HornVibes: Three Duos for Horn and Vibraphone
  • Mark Schultz, Dragons in the Sky for Horn, Percussion, and Tape
  • Steven Winteregg, High Veld Sunrise for Horn and MIDI
  • Randall Faust, Call and Response for Solo Horn

New Trumpet Instructor

We are excited to welcome Dr. Aaron Witek as our new trumpet instructor and member of Black Bayou Brass. As always, our trio has several performances lined up for the year, and we are looking forward to working together and making great music. More updates to come!

LMEA Clinic

Our university will be featured this November at the state music conference in Baton Rouge, and a number of our students and faculty will be performing for the attendees there. The brass faculty will be presenting a lecture demonstration on chamber music. We’ll be playing several excerpts from different pieces and providing some tips on developing a brass chamber music program at the junior high or high school level.

Orchestral Concerts

Another highlight of this year will be playing some great repertoire in the Shreveport Symphony, Monroe Symphony, and Rapides Symphony.  Here’s a few of the bigger pieces I’ll be performing with these groups.

  • Brahms, Symphony No. 1
  • Strauss, Don Juan
  • Dvořák, Symphony No. 9
  • Britten, Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
  • Copland, Fanfare for the Common Man
  • Ginastera, Four Dances from Estancia

Reviews and More Reviews

I have a backlog of materials that I plan to review, including Fergus McWilliam‘s “anti horn-method method” Blow Your OWN Horn! and a series of etude books by Ricardo Matsoinhos. I have the gist of what I want to say mapped out in my head, so now all I need to do is carve out some time to write the reviews!

All in all it is shaping up to be a busy, exciting year, and I wish the same to all of my colleagues out there!

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