Random Monday: Forecasting, Stereotyping and Hero Worship


Louisville Orchestra Auditions Bus SignWill I get a job before I graduate?
This is the time of year that music professors get a lot of questions from prospective students.

…The question is, “Do you think I can get an undergraduate degree in performance and get a job, thereby avoiding graduate school?”

I imagine the main driver of this question is that most music schools, CIM included, are becoming more and more expensive and parents are (rightfully so) becoming more and more debt-averse.  Families are looking for ways to get a quality education for their talented musician without incurring a crushing load of debt.

One solution might be going to a top school like CIM and hoping the student will, in four years, come out ready for the job market. Does this regularly occur?

The answer is almost always, “No”.

It is rare that a 21 or 22 year old wins an audition for a full time orchestra job.  Most positions are won by people in their mid-20s or older.


A tip of the hat
French Horn Rebellion give kudos to Gail Williams.

The cycle of teaching and learning
The second article in a series about Bradley Zint’s participation to play alongside the Pacific Symphony professionals has gone online.

From within a case on the floor of a suburban San Diego living room I picked it up, a battle-worn and scarred French horn, made that way after years of playing exhaustive symphonies.

Not long after I buzzed a few notes, the sounds piqued the interest of my girlfriend. She was seated nearby, listening with amusement.

“Can I try it?” she asked.

It was an innocent enough question, though it was a significant moment. There in San Diego, the city where I grew up, was the first time she heard me really play my instrument.

“Sure,” I quickly replied, equally piqued by her sudden interest. “Why not?”


Pride and prejudice
The topic of prejudice in the horn realm has often been a topic here at Horn Matters. At Neo Classical, Holly Mulcahy takes it up a notch, looking at stereotypes in our business.

 If musicians aren’t careful, they risk creating self fulfilling prophecies by forcing stereotypes onto our colleagues.


What is a hero?
Along the same line of thought, Jessica Ducharme at Brass Musician takes a thought-provoking look at our musical heroes. Students in school that are aiming for an orchestral career tend to idolize orchestral musicians in particular.

As young musicians, it is easy to develop this idea of a “musical hero” and apply it to the great musicians that we listen to. As young musicians, how can we not admire the powerful and seemingly perfect sounds that emanate from the back row of the orchestra? As young musicians, how do we make the distinction between professional orchestral musician and god?

It’s easy. Professional orchestral musicians are not gods. They are not automatically deemed heroes. Professional orchestral musicians are simply that– professional orchestral musicians


Brass Musician is for sale
Speaking of the web site Brass Musician, it is now up for sale.

Dennis Brain obituary
One of the world’s most authoritative resources on classical music has made public the original 1957 obituary of Dennis Brain. Beyond the facts of his death, the article goes into great detail of Brain’s life and activities.

His only interests in life, apart from music, were his family and motor-cars. I do not believe he ever played a rehearsal or recording session or even a concert session without having the latest copy of The Autocar or The Motor open on his music-stand.


Random meme

Cereal Guy Ewan McGregor Meme French Horn

(Updated version.)

Random videos

Bernhard Scully goes to the forest.

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Arkady Shilkloper performs Julius Blues (Tribute to Julius Watkins).

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Do you need proof that a young Ewan McGregor played French horn?

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Jeff Nelsen talks about Fearless Performance.

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University of Horn Matters