Kyle Hayes, Editor
So You Want to Play Chamber Music?
A Brief Guide to Getting Started
By Ashley Cumming
Great high school band programs are fantastic for horns: we can play in the wind ensemble and orchestra, and we have some pretty cool solos for when we go to contest. But one of my favorite kinds of music rarely shows up before college: chamber music! Someone once called chamber music “a conversation between friends,” and I agree. We hornists arguably have the most variety in chamber music than anyone else: we can play in brass or wind quintets, with strings, and in groups of all numbers with wacky combinations of instruments: from horn, tuba and piano to horn, oboe and piano, to horn and harp or marimba! The horn is one of the most versatile instruments, and we have plenty of chances to shine – and performing is so much less scary when you share the stage with your friends!
On Flying With Your Horn
by Eric Grunkemeyer
Although I've only just started graduate school, I've already had to fly, both domestically and internationally, with my horn more than I would have liked. So here are a few simple tips that I have deduced from flying with my instrument, and also some that I have been given by friends.
Ringing in the New Year, Naturally
by Dr. Paul Austin
The horn is perhaps one of the most fascinating musical instruments. With its rough- and-tumble beginnings as an outdoor signaling device played by hunters or war mongers, today it enjoys its role as the heroic soul of the orchestra in concert halls played by professionally-trained musicians.
Currently horn students can get a boost in their training by gaining some knowledge about the natural horn. Perhaps this information can unlock a few mysteries about the valve horn, as well as give the satisfaction and peace of mind in leaving no stone unturned in their musical education.
The Hornist's Essentials
By Cathy Lemmon
One of the frequently arising questions, especially for younger players, is, accompanying the horn, what the best tools and other items to have on hand and readily available are. It can take years of experience to boil down what these would be. Playing recently in a pit orchestra for a musical, I started looking through the pocket on the side of my gig bag for spare batteries for my stand light. I couldn't see them straightaway, so I started unloading what was in there. The more I pulled out, the more I wondered if someone had managed to put an "Undetectable Extension Charm" on this pocket. I hadn't realized I had collected that many "things". But, you know what? These were all items I've needed at one point or another. So, looking at these, I thought, why not put together an "essentials" list—a kind of hornist's "emergency kit"? This would be something that would present at least a useful starting point to helping a hornist be ready and prepared for situations that, as a musician, will invariably happen. These "situations" can be as simple as having a sticky slide or valve during rehearsal or as drastic as having a valve string break in the middle of a concert. To have on hand what is needed when it is needed will save you a lot of trouble and headache.
Preparing for a Lesson
by Dr. Nicholas Kenney
Many students have come to lessons unprepared in the past. I have, you probably have, and your friends probably have too. Here are three steps you can take to make sure you are as prepared as you can be for your regularly scheduled lesson. These three steps are catered towards preparing you both for immediate success – having successful, meaningful weekly lessons – and for success as you aspire to be the best hornist you can be.