It has been a while since I last visited the archive of posts from the original HTML Horn Notes Blog. This post dates all the way back to 8/12/2004 and was written right after a summer of teaching and performing at the Brevard Music Center. It speaks to what you can do with your summer if you are a student serious about advancing on the horn.
How much progress can an advanced horn student make over the summer? After the summer at Brevard I am more convinced than ever that a serious horn student can make towards a semester of progress over the summer by attending a strong summer festival. This summer I saw a number of horn students make great progress, progress that I believe will be noticed when they get back to school in the fall. As I think back to my own studies, going into college I must have had a good ear and a fair degree of raw talent but I also had an embouchure problem and was thinking small in terms of goals. I have certainly taught many students who were stronger horn players than I was in high school. I really did not get going on the horn until my Sophomore year of college, and the following summer I went to the Aspen Music Festival which, as I have mentioned in a previous “horn note” (see Striving for Tone) was a very pivotal summer for me. In total I went to Aspen three times, attended the Bay View Music Festival in Michigan one summer, and was in the National Repertory Orchestra one summer as well. The result of this was a lot of progress on the horn, I believe in excess of two years of college study. The point of this being to use your time well all year! Without getting preachy, you only have the time you have; try to get to a summer festival if you can to make the most of your summer next year. In the right study and performance situation you can make great progress that will certainly pay off if your goals are focused around horn performance.
If you are not at a summer festival you can obviously still make good use of your time. I heartily recommend something like a Summer Excerpt Project for example (check this article for more ideas), and get in a few good lessons! And as Phil Collins notes over at Trumpet Matters, they don’t have to be with a teacher of your instrument in his recent article “Getting Extra Input.”