Dreams and Nightmares Related to the French Horn


Even in middle age I still have fairly vivid dreams that I remember well after awakening.

Some of these dreams are horn-related, and the more anxiety-ridden versions tend to cycle around several reoccurring themes:

  • Who vandalized my horn?!
  • My bell flare is turning into putty!!
  • Where is the concert??
  • Where is my music???
  • My chair is not right!!!!

Who vandalized my horn?

Most recently I had a dream of an orchestra performance at an outdoor venue. The occasion was a pops concert of some type that featured the music of a famous, classic rock band. The members of the band were present at the rehearsal, seated off to the side like a panel of consultants.

One of them thought it would be funny to fill up my French horn with water when I wasn’t looking.

As I struggled to empty out gallons upon gallons of water from my horn, I could see the members of the band smugly snickering to themselves. They were very proud of this stunt.

I was extremely irritated and could not understand why someone would do such a thing. I may have even hurled some profanities in their direction.

No sooner than I had purged Niagara Falls from my horn, that I found something else. I blew a few notes and sand and dirt started pouring out the bell.

My frustrated reaction sent the band members into hysterics.

I frantically spun my horn in clockwise circles dumping out an endless cascade of sand, rock and pebbles. I could only think of the damage this was doing to my valves and how I wanted to throttle one band member in particular who took it upon himself to approach me and make light of my desperation.

I muttered something to him, which I think I said out loud in the real world, and I woke up.

Putty horn

One theme that seems to keep coming back is when the bell flare of my horn becomes suddenly soft and pliable. Each time I look down to it, it looks less and less like a horn bell and more and more like a floppy hat.

I try my best to re-mold the bell back to its proper shape, but it generally makes things worse. Sometimes the consistency becomes like pizza dough, holes and rips start appearing.

One nice thing with this dream though is that I usually figure it out that it is nothing but a dream in my head. I give the horn a good toss, giggle to myself and move on towards happier things – like running in a field of daisies, taking flight like Superman or rolling in soft, fuzzy puppies.

My chair is not right!

This dream is again anxiety-related and centers around the positioning of my chair in a rehearsal or concert. The typical scenario is that I arrive somewhat late and my chair is precariously situated on a high riser of some sort, with the chair and stand pushed tightly up against one another. Usually the riser is too narrow and the chair legs are dangerously close to tipping off the edge.

How am I supposed to fit in there and play?” is the question I ask.

Playing along with it I try to make the best of a bad situation and end up struggling to fit into the constrained space. Sometimes the chair will sink into the riser as if it were also made of pizza dough, and other times I realize that this is a dream and we are back to tossing the horn and rolling in puppies.

Fun dreams

Not all of my music-related dreams draw from personal angst and anxiety. Some are actually quite fun.

  • I can play and improvise on the piano like a mad genius
  • I hear cool movie scores to action-related sequences
  • I am performing or improvising the world’s greatest horn concerto

I can’t remember the last time though that I had a dream of “uh…WHERE ARE MY PANTS?!” but this video below captures that scenario (and other ideas) in a truly surreal and darkly-humored manner.

How about you? What are some of your weird music-related dreams?

University of Horn Matters