The Words of the Great Horn Players are not Infallible Words

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We have some very thoughtful commentators on Horn Matters. University of Iowa horn professor Jeffrey Agrell wrote a great comment in reply to my post “PC on Farkas” in the series Things Horn Teachers Say, a comment well worth featuring in full as he addresses a rather difficult topic, that of as he words it “the Great Horn Players.”

As I once wrote in a Horn Call article, “Beware of Philip Farkas”, to me the principal danger of the Great Horn Players (teachers, players, book authors) is that people stop thinking for themselves, stop analyzing, observing what’s really happening, stop making their own decisions, stop looking for new ways to do things better and more efficiently. If the Great One said it, it must be true for everyone, all the time, amen, no further thought required. In fact, not everything works for everyone all the time. There are a lot of variables in people and what works for people. The Great Ones are a good place to start, but don’t let them keep you from making your own considered decisions and especially don’t let them kill your own spirit of inquiry and inspiration. The zen koan “if you meet Buddha on the road, kill him” means to me that you should not let any expert make all your decisions for you. Learn from the great ones, but don’t accept everything uncritically. Think about everything you do and see if there is a way to do it better, more efficiently, rather than just blindly follow a prescription. It’s easier and simpler just to “follow orders” than to wrestle with problems and work out your own solutions from what you know and observe. But it can pay big dividends.

We welcome thoughtful comments at Horn Matters, keep the discussion rolling. And check out the blog of professor Agrell, it is well worth visiting often.

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