Random Monday: Myth Busting, Controversy and Sound Projection

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More myth busting
David Wilken offers a very reasoned counter-argument to perceived dangers that playing “on the red” (an embouchure that rests completely within the lip vermillion) is bad for you.

On the general topic of speaking in absolutes, his parting comment resonates most strongly and is something to think deeply about.

At the very least, I think it’s helpful for all of us to qualify our statements in such a way that it is obvious whether we’re speculating, offering personal anecdotes, or actually do have evidence to back up our suggestions.

Emphatically discouraging a mouthpiece placement on the vermilion may very well be best for the majority of players, but there are more individuals than most seem to think that not only can play this way, but actually perform best like this.


In another excellent article, he further notes that anecdotal evidence (no matter how abundant) is neither statistical nor scientific.

Educational guru embroiled in controversy
Benjamin Zander was a cornerstone for many years as the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at the New England Conservatory of Music. Recently, he was suddenly terminated by NEC President Tony Woodcock over a charge related to the employment of a videographer who was a registered sex offender.

Zander, usually overflowing with laughter and enthusiasm, wearily runs his hands through his frizzy white hair. He’s unhappy with himself and he’s unhappy with NEC’s leaders, who he feels rushed to judgment. He notes that when NEC president Tony Woodcock fired him last month, Woodcock hadn’t yet discovered that it was the school’s opera department – not Zander – who first hired videographer Peter Benjamin, a registered sex offender, to record performances by NEC students.

“It’s about as bad a situation as things can be,’’ Zander says.


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Projectile musicianship

I think I can say without fear of contradiction that no-one who saw his performance on the french horn at our quatercentenary concert is likely to forget it. If he had only managed to vomit over the sponsors in the front two rows, he would scarcely merit a mention in the school magazine.

But the unique combination of a three-day bender with the hi-pressure directional capabilities of the horn resulted in a jet of such severity that a number of parents were hospitalized and stomach pumped side by side with young Martin himself. I still shudder at the merest hint of gin.


Random pictures

Living with embouchure dystonia
Katie Berglof writes about her experiences with focal embouchure dystonia (symptomatic) with peripheral trauma. Buzzing appears to be a big part of her recovery process.

Random videos

A new YouTube channel devoted to the performances of Nagy Miklos includes the Leopold Mozart concerto in a live performance.

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Somewhere in South, Texas, a horn is born. (A video by Leonard Brown.)

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A lively performance of the rarely performed Telemann Concerto for 3 Horns and Orchestra.

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Donato Inglese having some fun backstage with a few friends..

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University of Horn Matters