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Showing posts from March, 2019

Section Playing

Section Playing
Each member of the horn section plays a different role. From the perspective of a work that is written for four different horn parts, composers tend to follow a standard model to get the sound that they want. It is important to know where you fall within this model and how to be your best self in the role you have been given. The first horn: also known as the principal horn, this position is the leader of the pack. This part is normally written the highest and sometimes requires the use of an assistant. This is your go to reference point for articulations, dynamics, and overall musicality. They usually have the most featured parts and should also help lead the section with breathing and entrances. If you have questions about your music, this is your first point of contact. If the principal does not know the answer, they will usually ask the conductor or have you speak to him after rehearsal or during a break. This person will hopefully lead by example and set the overal…

Ensemble Types

Ensemble Types
Most of us spend our pre-college lives in the band setting. If we are lucky, our school has an orchestra program that tries to incorporate winds. In the band setting, we are surrounded by other woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. Bands are the leading forces in school ensembles through college, but then there are not many examples of bands outside of the school setting. They are many military bands that exist across the world, but professional bands outside of military connections are rarely found. Orchestra is the other most common type of ensemble you could be a part of. In this ensemble, the winds sections are greatly reduced and the string family is added in. The standard setting is for two violin sections, a viola section, cello section, and bass section. If you are put in orchestra for the first time when you enter college, do not be afraid to ask your teacher and your colleagues for tips and advice. It is a different setting from band and can require a di…

Intonation

Intonation
Learning how to play in tune with yourself and others should be a fun process for you. It takes patience and attention to detail, but the end results are life changing for your playing. First off, make sure you have a metronome and a tuner. There are lots of apps that exist today for these, but if you are willing to spend a little money, I recommend the TonalEnergy Tuner. This app lets you have the metronome and tuner going at the same time. You can also have the app play drones, which we will get to shortly. First, make sure that your horn is in tune with itself and a tuner. There are many different types of horns with different tuning systems so it is best to get help from someone with experience tuning the horn the first time you do this. I also have found this video by Matthew Hogan useful for students to get an introduction to tuning the horn. The best place to start is by learning your tendencies. Each note will require a little adjustment to get perfectly in tune and th…

Listening

Listening
Something that I feel gets missed a lot in the music world is time spent listening to music. I am not just talking about listening to horn repertoire, but listening to music across the whole spectrum of “classical music.” You can learn just as much information from listening as you can from practicing and finding some time to genuinely listen to and enjoy music each day is valuable. Finding things that interest you is a great place to start. You can absolutely incorporate music from the horn repertoire, but I do stress that you expand upon that. The things that have helped me the most are finding pieces with voice. These can be music from the opera literature, but also songs from the standard vocal repertoire. Listening to the way that they shape phrases and the way that they treat breathing can be educational and transferable to our own playing. YouTube is a great resource for finding recordings. You can look into new symphonies or operas you have not heard before and also g…

Mind Mapping Your Practice

Mind Mapping Your Practice : The Anti-Practice Journal Approach to Journaling Your Practice By Tracy Bass University of Missouri - Kansas City Dissertation Points Credit Spring 2019


Introduction
Most of us at some point in our lives have been instructed to keep practice journals or maybe we were even required to keep them. My freshman year of college was the first time I had seriously taken lessons and my horn teacher required us to keep a practice journal. This usually led to me making up what I had done minutes before my lesson and just scribbling down my thoughts for the week. I was practicing regularly, but just could not get on the practice journal train. I expressed my dislike for this method with my teacher at the time and she offered great advice and gave me some direction to do some further research about practicing. This led me to find Randy Gardner’s article from the February 1996 edition of The Horn Call titled “Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan.” I can not stress how important t…