Technical Materials II: Standard Materials I Teach From

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As mentioned in my previous post, in terms of materials I started out as I was taught but over the years began to experiment with other materials.

In the initial comments to the first post Pares Scales came up right away as a favorite out there. I have had a couple students come into my studio who had used this with prior teachers and I certainly could tell a difference as their finger technique was much more worked out. The materials are formulaic to be sure but they do work you through the keys well toward the goal of being able to toss off scales in any key. I experimented some with the Schantl book as an alternate but for me Pares works out better in lessons. I will probably keep using it for some students (I think it is especially good with students committed to a music education program, as the same book is available for every instrument and they can make use of it in lessons on other instruments later) but in the last couple years I have been developing my own technique book.

Another favorite and old standard is Kopprasch. It is really hard to beat it for working out articulations in particular; there is a way that number 10 for example needs to sound. But on the negative side, and this may sound like heresy, some of the etudes are actually a bit long for introducing and working on transpositions. What I would like are some slightly shorter etudes of a similar style that I can use for more focused transposition study, and that is another element of what I have been working into my technique book.

Another book I can’t get away from is Maxime-Alphonse. I love the musical element and the variety in the content. The only negative really is that it is expensive, and I try to pick carefully which volume to buy and try to use it well.

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None of my teachers worked with me on Gallay. I like the unmeasured preludes and make some use of them but in particular now make use of the Op. 57 studies for second horn. I like how “orchestral” and characteristic they are for horn; in the last few years I have started using these with most every student who is up to the level to be able to play them.

The final area where I make use of some standard materials is in the low range. I like the Neuling etudes a lot but have concluded over the years that many students find them A) too long and B) too hard. I experimented with some other materials down an octave and finally found an edition of the Bordogni etudes down a fourth (the standard bass clef version not being low enough). I was not that happy however with that edition overall and have worked out a version of my own that I have been using with students recently. But one great point for me of the Neuling is that they are in and out of old notation bass clef, and a slightly easier set of similar etudes would complement the Bordogni. I feel that I have found this in the De Pre low horn etudes, which I have recently been making use of in lessons. As they are out of copyright I have also been working on my own edition of these.

Warm-Up materials are also technical materials, and I should mention that I do recommend the horn version of The Brass Gym and use these materials often but not so much as actual lesson material.

As noted above, I have some materials under development, which include some that I have newly developed, and I am still looking for more contemporary materials that hit the right place technically. More on those topics as the series continues.

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