Your Horn and More team is happy to bring you this new regular feature, the Area Rep Corner. Here our representatives and regional coordinators from around the world can introduce themselves and share news from their local horn communities. Our first contribution comes from Jonathan Luxton, IHS country representative for Ireland.
Notes from the Emerald Isle
Since joining the International Horn Society, I am still the only member in Ireland. However, I have not been idle!
I have been able to carry on teaching online since March, and for the last three months, I have started directing the historic Limerick St. John’s Brass & Reed Band.
We are now in lockdown again, so my efforts to start an outreach programme with the band for young students in the local area have been put on hold. We were sponsored by Fine Wines Limerick so we could start an instrument bank, and we were able to begin teaching adults. It was wonderful to see the band hall filled with colourful P bones and P cornets. When will they start to make P horns??
I teach at a small music school in Killaloe, the Munster Music Academy, where so far I have one trumpet student. The school offers a good variety of instruments, but the majority of students (or their parents?) solely want to study the piano. This I just do not understand. By playing a string, woodwind, or percussion instrument, students have the opportunity to play in amateur orchestras, bands, ensembles, etc. I believe the opportunity to play in youth groups is so important for social interaction, friendships, teamwork, and responsibility to others, learning about other instruments, and expanding your musical education. If you only study the piano, it can be a very solitary musical experience. Interestingly, in November last year, I was invited to deputise as conductor of a local amateur orchestra. The orchestra had a fine string section but no oboes, bassoons, or French horns. Where are these amateur players?
The band’s outreach programme for teaching brass and woodwind to students is called First Steps in Music. I’m excited to have the opportunity to introduce brass at the grassroots level with these young aspiring players, and hopefully through them and their parents help to begin to spread awareness of brass in Limerick.
I am passionate about children having the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. I was brought up in the UK when instrumental lessons were free. We are offering local schools in Limerick the chance to study for a small weekly fee, and we will provide the instruments.
I have only been in Ireland for just over a year. In my time freelancing and teaching, I have met some wonderful horn players, but I have noticed a surprising lack of amateur brass and woodwind players in general in the greater Limerick area.
I believe that there is a wonderful opportunity here in Ireland to bring brass players, old and new, out of the woodwork, in addition to inspiring a new generation.