Projects, anyone?

Well, it’s May. That means it’s time to pick some projects to complete over the upcoming summer (or winter if you live below the equator). The changing of the seasons is a good time for “out with the old, in with the new.” I do nothing without goals. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with doing nothing! But after your time-for-nothing, it’s project time. Here are some project ideas you might try.

Create a practice shrine

Clear away everything in your practice space and put only things in it that serve your artistically-focused, inspired, motivated state of mind. I’ll post a picture of my practice shrine on the IHS Facebook page. We can all share photos of our practice spaces and steal useful ideas from each other.

Book a public performance


Find a venue that might enjoy live music. Have a plan as to what that music could entail – horn and piano, chamber music, an orchestra? Convince the management that they should let you use their space. Then agree to a date, select repertoire, find musical colleagues, create advertising, and then the fun begins – learning about the horn, music, and yourself!

Know the score

Play along with your favorite recording of a Mahler or Brahms symphony. Play each horn part. Pick a piece a month and really get to know the score. Read biographies of the composers, their letters, and research world events at the time the music was composed.

Add a daily wellness goal

Invest in your peace of mind and body. My school’s dean, Gwyn Richards, has a simple daily wellness goal of sweating. Every day, he changes into exercise clothes and does some physical activity that breaks a sweat. That’s it. That simplicity makes wellness success unavoidable, right? What activity can you add to your day that invests in your wellness?

I researched other peoples’ morning routines and borrowed some ideas that I now enjoy throughout the rest of my day. I wake up and (before checking emails!), I make my bed, do a beginner yoga 15-minute session (off the “yoga studio” app), sit for 10 minutes (in meditation or silence), make tea, and then write in a journal for at least five minutes. That writing turns into planning my day.

Be solution-oriented

All projects can be worded in a “what to do” way. Don’t make it about avoiding or taking things out of your life. Whatever you want to avoid, do the opposite. For my healthy eating project, for example, I don’t try to avoid pizza, I eat as much salad as I can get my hands on. A pint of water can replace beer...most of the time!

The best project you could complete this year is getting to the IHS Symposium! You can see and hear world-class performers and teachers, world premieres of new horn music, and the biggest collection this year of horn and horn-related vendors. See all your horn-loving friends and make new connections, too.

The members of the IHS Advisory Council cannot wait to see you there in June, wrapped in the sights and sounds of the horn, in the natural beauty that surrounds Ithaca College. Bring your horn, play with others, try new horns and new music with new friends, discover new equipment and new approaches, and go home exploding with new inspirations!

Hoping to see and hear you soon,


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