Documentary of the history of the Los Angeles film studio horn players from the 1920s through the 1960s. “Featuring …interviews with LA music legends, the film follows the development of the motion picture industry…”

From the web site (

The roaring twenties… California’s economy was booming. Hollywood became the epicenter of filmmaking. Silent films had gained great acclaim, and musicians were hired to play in the theatre to provide a live soundtrack for the movie. As technology advanced, studios began to record sound on the set, and the musicians would record the score off camera while the actors filmed their scenes on camera. Later, the soundtrack was recorded separately and added to the film in post production.

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C. J. Leuba plays Gallay (I) – video

French Horns, Unwond and Entwined

(Photo credit: meg_nicol)

58 Ways to Improve as a Horn Player

  1. 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.
  2. Don’t bring your cell phone into the practice room.
  3. Warm up with comfortable overtone series patterns. Know the numbers of the overtones (hint: the central C E G triad is 4 5 6).
  4. Work on overtone skips separately from adjacent overtone movement before you mix the two.
  5. Learn new scale types, not just octave major scales, e.g. minors (natural minor, harmonic minor, melodic minor, Dorian mode).
  6. Practice scales in all lengths, not just octaves.
  7. Work on arpeggios of various types and lengths, not just scales.
  8. Practice patterns (decorate a scale in some way, then play it in diatonic sequence up and down, e.g. scales in thirds).
  9. Be able to turn around at any time when you play scales.
  10. Start scales with a pick up or after beat one – not always on the strong beat.
  11. Every once in a while, don’t play anything in 2/4 or 4/4 the whole day. Continue reading »
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The 4X Solo


(Photo credit: El Bibliomata)

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).

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