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

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 is included as well. Teachers and students should feel free to edit and/or amend my comments as necessary. They are only suggestions. Enjoy!

You can download the guide here, Kopprasch Guide: Tips and Suggestions for the Op. 6 Studies, and also on the Resources page.


Kopprasch Project: Some Final Thoughts

koppraschcoversAs promised, here are some closing thoughts on the Kopprasch Project. I wrote a similar post at roughly the halfway point, which you can read here. Actually there is very little to add to what I said then, except to emphasize how beneficial this endeavor has been for me as a horn player and teacher. I am extremely grateful to have had the time and resources necessary to complete a project of this scope, and have plans for other videos (no more Kopprasch for a while, though) in the future. For those who might be interested, here are some statistics and other related information.

  • Project Duration: Jan 23, 2011  to Mar 28, 2014 (3 years, 2 months, 6 days)
  • Total Views:  ca. 75,000 and counting
  • Subscribers: 462 and counting
  • Editions: 60 Studies for Horn, Book 1 (International Music Company, ed. James Chambers); Kopprasch Complete (Cornopub, ed. Corbin Wagner)
  • Equipment Used:  Horns: Yamaha 667V, Hans Hoyer G10, Engelbert Schmid ES1; Mouthpieces: Laskey 75G, Houser Standley Cup with 17.5mm “E” rim
  • Video Hardware/Software: Canon Vixia HFR10, Sony Microphone ECM-MS907, Adobe Premiere, Camtasia Studio 7, Windows Movie Maker

One other welcome but unexpected benefit from this project has been lots of experience working with video equipment and video editing software. Though far from being an expert at it, I’ve at least become proficient, and can apply this knowledge to other aspects of my career. If you are an aspiring teacher and/or performer but don’t yet know how to record and edit a basic audition or recital video, start learning today! These skills will pay off in a variety of ways, some obvious and others not so obvious. To assist my own students in gaining this experience, I plan on making a brief video project an assignment for studio class next year.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my work on the Kopprasch Project, and would recommend similar projects to students and teachers. Yes, it is a lot of work, but the rewards are well worth it. I am also very thankful for the support and encouragement I’ve received from my viewers. Their unsolicited comments were very kind, and helped get me through some of the rough patches in this multi-year undertaking. Here are a few (authors’ names removed).

I have been enjoying your recordings of the Kopprasch etudes, as well as learning from them. As someone who picked up the horn after a 25-year hiatus, your Kopprasch videos are invaluable. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time and effort to publish these videos. I also read this blog avidly. It is truly amazing to have such resources at the tip of my fingertips; this was unthinkable for most of us at the time I laid down my horn so many years ago. Anyway, take care and thanks again!

I wanted to comment on your fine effort with the latest Kop. study – #40.  In reviewing the earlier studies I cannot help but notice a change in your playing which I suppose might come from more experience and confidence in doing more of these studies.  But I also wondered to what degree your change in equipment has also influenced matters – new mp rim, new horn – of what I can see.  I am quite convinced that your sound has changed; changes of various positions in your studio and perhaps better use of the recording equipment notwithstanding.
What I hear is a warmer, concentrated sound, with more liquid slurs, more compact attacks, and what also seems to be less effort reflected in a more pronounced sense of musicality (not that your previous efforts were not musical!).
I thought that you might appreciate the feedback.

Thank you for these recordings. They are fun and useful! Can I make a request? The horn players in Maryland would be very grateful to have a high quality recording of #49 and #50 as they are required to play those for the All-State audition in November. Could you please consider adding these to your wonderful blog? Thanks.

Great videos! I’ve been studying the Kopprasch method and this [sic] have really helped me getting through them, Greetings from Mexico!

I was really hoping you would continue your Kopprasch recordings onto book 2. They have been a amazing resource that I’ve been able to direct my section to.

Congratulations for continuing on this project. I’m sure a lot of horn students all over the world will enjoy.
Greetings from Portugal!
If you’re wondering what’s next, I don’t have any plans right now to record additional Kopprasch etudes, like the Op. 5 High Horn Studies, but I do have several ideas for tutorials on horn playing and chamber music in general. There are  several upcoming performances over the next few weeks, along with normal end-of-semester business like juries, exams, and final grades. I also have a backlog of recordings and publications to review. My summer plans include rest and relaxation, but also work on an article and a few arranging projects, as well as a brass trio performance at the International Women’s Brass Conference in June.
To be continued!

Kopprasch Project “The Final Five” No. 57

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 at half tempo. Using B-flat fingerings for notes at the bottom of and just below the staff helped with clarity. A knowledge of harmonic function is important, if not critical, to mastering this etude.

Kopprasch Project continued, No. 55

Here’s another installment of Kopprasch for your post-Thanksgiving enjoyment! Like a handful of other studies in this collection, No. 55 is slow and lyrical, but with greater demands in flexibility and range. Suggested tempo range is eighth-note=72-80, although anything faster than eighth=76 seemed a little too frantic for me. A light, quick single tongue works well for the sixty-fourth note runs in measures 2 and 32. The large grace note leaps found at the end of each section can be problematic, but I found a good burst of air (“tah-huh” or “tah-hee”) combined with the appropriate changes in tongue and jaw position to be helpful. Another concern for me was intonation in the low range: G tends to be sharp (two octaves below g’ in the staff), and c (one octave below middle c’) tends to be flat.

In the interest of comparison, I used Windows Movie Maker to edit and produce this video (I have been using Camtasia Studio for the majority of my editing). I have been mostly pleased with Camtasia’s speed and ease of use, but was pleasantly surprised with Movie Maker.

Kopprasch Project continued, No. 54

Here’s the latest installment in the Kopprasch Project. After 54 etudes and nearly three years, I am glad to see this extended project nearing its completion! No. 54 is similar in scope to previous studies in the collection (scales and arpeggios), but with a higher difficulty level. The suggested tempo is quarter note = 84-100, and my personal tempo is around quarter=96. One issue with this study (and others) is breathing. The logical place to breath is after the eighth note in measure 9, but at a fast tempo it is a challenge to take a full enough breath which will last until the end of measure 16. I chose to take a little time in measure 9 and really tank up on the air. In addition, it helps to strictly observe the mezzo forte marking beginning at m. 9.

Kopprasch Project continued, No. 53

The relatively few lyrical studies in Kopprasch’s Op. 6 collection are among my favorites. Not only do they provide some much needed variety, but they also force me to work on elements of my playing which can go unnoticed in the faster, more technical studies. Suggested tempo markings in my edition are quarter=54-66, and I prefer this one on the slower side, maybe even quarter=52. To my ear that keeps the turns and 32nd notes from sounding rushed. Another thing to try is practicing the arpeggios with the corresponding tonic drones to ensure that each note is centered and in tune. I “splee-ahed” the sfz in measure 9 a bit, but I was happy enough with the rest of this particular take to keep it. One technical note is that the microphone gain was set a little too high, so there is some distortion in a few places. Will fix that on No. 54.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 51 and No. 52

To start off the fall semester here’s a few more installments in the Kopprasch Project. No. 51 is an Arban-style exercise which really works out the often nebulous mid-low register. This one was particularly challenging for me because of where my embouchure “break” falls. Some practice techniques that helped included slurring everything, using B-flat fingerings, and playing the principal notes of each measure (the first 16th note in each group of 4). It’s still not perfect, but my consistency did improve over time. Suggested tempo in my edition is quarter=66-88. My tempo on the video is around quarter=66-68.

In contrast, No. 52 focuses mainly on scalar passages in the key of E minor, with a few leaps thrown in. Coordinating the various articulations is important, and the normally ultra-predictable Kopprasch does throw in a few twists. Suggested tempo is quarter=84-108, and I ended up around quarter=96-100.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 48

This week’s Kopprasch is a study in articulated chromatic scales, mostly within a one to one and a half octave range. Suggested tempo in my edition is dotted quarter=104-144, (or quarter=104-144, if you are using the Gumpert/Frehse edition) and my tempo is around dotted-quarter=132. Try to make a distinction between the accented and unaccented dotted quarters.

Kopprasch Project continued, No. 37

Here’s the latest installment in my Kopprasch video project. It’s been a while since the last video, but I am hoping to pick things up in the next few months and record more frequently. The Cornopub edition suggests a tempo range of quarter note=72-112, and my tempo settled around quarter=88. As always, consider using some B-flat horn fingerings below the staff for better clarity.

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