Professor Corno: On What Other People Hear (and Don’t Bore Me)
Listening to other horn players talk about the horn and horn recordings and horn soloists and horn workshops I often wonder what other people hear.
Other people may go crazy over the same performance, standing ovations and such. Why? Are they hard of hearing? Maybe not but they do need to re-evaluate their standards and use their ears. Fame proves nothing other than good marketing.
Speaking of fame, for me I have never heard one hornist play that I would not know exactly what to say to them in the first lesson. Virtuoso? Or ego driven fraud surrounded by yes men? I am not easily impressed.
I am convinced that some of the so-called “experts” and “virtuosos” out there need to have their ears checked. Maybe they sat in front of a trumpet section too long. They can’t have great ears based on what I hear from them.
My ears are so good that you probably can’t to conceptualize how good they are. Here is an attempt. Imagine how a horn sounds on AM radio driving in a car. Then imagine that recording on YouTube and then an iPod. Then imagine that recording in a mastering lab on the most expensive speakers possible and then being performed live in one of the great halls of the world sitting in the best possible seat. Many people seem to think the iPod sounds good enough. Develop your ears! Demand the highest level.
The iPod sounds better than YouTube but big deal. The result is a generation of horn players who can be easily fooled into thinking above average is outstanding. I can’t be fooled and know what the top level is for horn. Try to see if you can get there too. Above average is not good enough. You have to hear the imperfections to appreciate the perfections of a great performance.
Beyond that the curse of really developing that ability to hear on the highest level is you can really tell what is called great and what is called boring. Very little is great and I hate boring performances. In conclusion, players need to aim to amaze and listeners need to set a very high standard. And don’t bore me.