11 Tuesday Mar 2014
24 Monday Feb 2014
58 Ways to Improve as a Horn Player
- Before you start playing, stand up and stretch. Give your head, face, and scalp a massage. Eyes closed, focus on the word “horn” for 1 minute. Breath deeply.
- Don’t bring your cell phone into the practice room.
- Warm up with comfortable overtone series patterns. Know the numbers of the overtones (hint: the central C E G triad is 4 5 6).
- Work on overtone skips separately from adjacent overtone movement before you mix the two.
- Learn new scale types, not just octave major scales, e.g. minors (natural minor, harmonic minor, melodic minor, Dorian mode).
- Practice scales in all lengths, not just octaves.
- Work on arpeggios of various types and lengths, not just scales.
- Practice patterns (decorate a scale in some way, then play it in diatonic sequence up and down, e.g. scales in thirds).
- Be able to turn around at any time when you play scales.
- Start scales with a pick up or after beat one – not always on the strong beat.
- Every once in a while, don’t play anything in 2/4 or 4/4 the whole day. Continue reading »
29 Wednesday Jan 2014
We usually have everyone play a short solo in our weekly horn seminar after about three weeks into the semester. This semester we’re doing something new: everyone is playing a short solo (most are doing the Saint-Saens Romance) four times, in four different ways:
1. Normal mix of F/Bb fingerings.
2. F horn fingerings only
3. Bb side (trigger) only
4. Natural horn (i.e. hand horn)
Working on hand horn is new to many and takes more getting used – it’s a totally different way of thinking. We have our wonderful Seraphinoff natural horns to use for this.
Oh, yes, one other thing we get to practice: during any “normal fingerings” performance, we will be adding an extra challenge: bad behavior from the audience – we will talk, move around, make noise, send and receive phone calls, etc etc, doing our best to detract from the performer’s focus and concentration. If they can maintain their focus through this, normal concert conditions will be a snap. (We will be behaved during the other 3 types of performance of this piece).
14 Tuesday Jan 2014
Economies and societies grow from innovation. People innovate when they have experience in creativity. And creativity comes from experience in creative arts. The math here is about as simple as it could be, but politicians of late have been energetic in their efforts to cut funding to the arts and education, like that guy who decided that he could lose weight quickly by cutting off his head. Very quick, very effective in the very short run, and disastrous in the long run.
Thus I am overjoyed when somewhere, a folk comes to its sense and promotes quality of life and the well-being of society. I just read that there is a fund call Music Generation in Ireland (supported by the band U2 among others) that raised millions of Euros for music education programs. It was launched in 2009 with a $9,000,000 donation by U2.
Quote: “Music Generation is a great example of how when we put our heads together we can deliver really exciting arts in education programs in new and innovative ways through partnership.
14 Tuesday Jan 2014