Warm-ups and Routines You May Not Know – Part III – Standley Routine

We’ll conclude this series on lesser-known warm-ups and routines with the Standley Routine.  From 1949 to 1957, Forrest Standley performed as Principal Horn of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and later taught for many years at what is now Carnegie-Mellon University.  Two of his former students, son Gene Standley of the Columbus Symphony, and H. Stephen Hager of Southwest Texas State University, have made available a revised and edited version of their teacher’s warm-up and daily routine.  Although the Standley Routine is fairly lengthy when compared to other daily routines – one hour and forty minutes according to the original preface – the level of thoroughness and organization is unparalleled.  After a brief long tone/articulation exercise, the routine is divided into six sections covering all the major and minor keys.  Each section contains four scale studies in two major and minor keys, four arpeggio exercises in two major keys, one endurance study in a major key, and two overtone series patterns in two major keys.  Though each section contains essentially the same basic patterns, the key changes provide variety, and the arpeggio and overtone exercises can be practiced with varying articulations.  For an even more complete session, players could also include their own favorite stopped horn and lip trill exercises at the end.  Gene Standley’s excellent suggestions provide further explanations on how to use the routine.  Having spent several weeks working with this routine I can say that it is great for flexibility and also for building a solid traditional technique.  The scale patterns are particularly good, as they “revolve” through all the modes in a given key.  For example, a scale exercise in the key of C major would begin first with c to c, then continue from d to d, e to e, etc.

If you found this series interesting, be sure to check out the complete article, which should be appearing in the October 2010 issue of The Horn Call. [Updated  January 10, 2011 – the article is now scheduled to appear in the May, 2011 issue of The Horn Call]


Warm-ups and Routines You May Not Know – Part II – Dufrasne Routine

In part two of this series we’ll look at the Dufrasne Routine.  In the preface to this routine, editor Thomas Bacon writes “In the first part of the Twentieth century, Louis Dufrasne (pronounced: doo-‘fraan) was a highly praised performer, who held major first horn positions in opera and symphony orchestras in Europe and the United States.  He was known for his beauty of tone, artistry and impeccable technique.” (p. 2)  Dufranse was also a well known teacher, and his students included Philip Farkas and Frank Brouk.  Mr. Bacon includes thoughtful comments and suggestions, such as the following.

Greatest benefit will come from playing it through entirely, from first note to last, as a daily workout over a period of time.  It can be played through in less than one hour – including appropriate short rests between exercises – but caution is advised when first attempting it.  The goal is not just to play it through in less than one hour, but rather to play each exercise beautifully and easily, with rich, full tone (even in soft dynamics), free flowing air, and little physical effort. p. 4

This routine begins with an expanding diatonic pattern beginning on c’, with the indication “Slow and even, without rhythmic impulses. Not soft.” (p. 5)  From there it progresses into a thorough workout, emphasizing flexibility based primarily on the harmonic series.  Generally, the exercises begin either open or on the 123 valve combination on the F horn, and work downward or upward respectively through the harmonic series.  The final two exercises provide a framework for practicing all major and minor arpeggios. To be able to play this routine proficiently at the suggested tempos would certainly require a thorough command of the instrument, as well as considerable endurance.  Although it is not indicated, the routine could easily be adapted to include work on the B-flat horn (harmonics and regular fingerings), as well as varying articulations (almost all of the exercises are slurred).  I’ve played through the routine a few times, and I really like a lot of the material in it, particularly the opening exercise.  It works great as a rewarm-up pattern.

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