Orchestral Horn Playing 101, a Session at IHS 44


UPDATE: Materials related to this session have been updated into a Kindle ePublication, available here for $2.99


I am excited to lead a session on the Saturday afternoon of #IHSTexas, “Orchestral Horn Playing 101 – How to Get In and Stay In the Business.” It is a panel discussion and my goal is to feature a small panel of hornists that not only have at least five years of full time orchestral performing experience but also can present materials in an open way, like mentors to the audience.

Part of my personal preparation has been to create a PowerPoint to guide the discussion. The following is based on a draft of that PowerPoint, to give those that can’t be at the session a sense of the topics, and hopefully also a bit more of a sense of what it takes to get and stay in the business.

- - Please visit: Horn Notes Edition on Amazon - -

My essential outline is that you can build an orchestral career in three easy steps!

I. Serious Preparation
II. Early Professional Experiences
III. Full Time Performance

Within those topics the following subtopics are on the agenda:

I. Serious Preparation

  • Think big
  • Get your technique down
  • Get the major works down
  • Move on from a student model horn
  • Consider summer festivals and extra studies
  • Treat amateur groups and “wire stand gigs” seriously

II. Early Professional Experiences

  • Learn how orchestras work
  • Play extra
  • Be a good assistant
  • Build a resume
  • Start taking some auditions
  • Know who your audience is
  • Obtain the X-factor
  • Win an audition

III. Full Time Performance

  • The money question
  • Tenure
  • How to get fired

Feel free to comment below before the session with suggestions and I hope to see you there!

If you are on the fence about attending the symposium, I believe this will truly be a great horn event, one that I very much look forward to being a part of next week.

University of Horn Matters