Want to know more than your teachers? One way to know more is to combine information gleaned from a variety of sources with critical thinking skills. Development of both will be a goal of The University of Horn Matters horn pedagogy course, which readers are encouraged to follow along with this fall. The full course of study may be seen here.
As a prelude to the course, I would offer this quote from University of Iowa horn professor Jeffrey Agrell, originally left as a comment on the Horn Notes Blog but soon expanded into a short article.
As I once wrote in a Horn Call article, “Beware of Philip Farkas”, to me the principal danger of the Great Horn Players (teachers, players, book authors) is that people stop thinking for themselves, stop analyzing, observing what’s really happening, stop making their own decisions, stop looking for new ways to do things better and more efficiently. If the Great One said it, it must be true for everyone, all the time, amen, no further thought required. In fact, not everything works for everyone all the time. There are a lot of variables in people and what works for people. The Great Ones are a good place to start, but don’t let them keep you from making your own considered decisions and especially don’t let them kill your own spirit of inquiry and inspiration. The zen koan “if you meet Buddha on the road, kill him” means to me that you should not let any expert make all your decisions for you. Learn from the great ones, but don’t accept everything uncritically. Think about everything you do and see if there is a way to do it better, more efficiently, rather than just blindly follow a prescription. It’s easier and simpler just to “follow orders” than to wrestle with problems and work out your own solutions from what you know and observe. But it can pay big dividends.
The University of Horn Matters horn pedagogy course was originally posted in the fall of 2012 and has been further revised every year. The majority of the readings are from the Hornmasters series in Horn Matters; the course references 8-12 articles a week, which flow fairly quickly and give readers a lot to think about as they develop their own view of the bigger picture.
The online course functions as a version of the same course offered in the horn studio at Arizona State University. In addition to the readings and discussion of the readings, students taking the live class will also write a book report on The Inner Game of Tennis and do an observation project (described in the actual course syllabus), plus keep a concise journal to reflect on the weekly readings.
While a number of the resources cited are long out of print, readers following this course are also highly encouraged to purchase any of the texts cited or quoted that are in print, as there is much more to be found in each book than just the short quotations given in the readings.
While it is hoped that this course will be of interest to horn players of a wide variety of interests and levels, this course would also serve well as an excellent review for graduate horn students anywhere who have upcoming comprehensive exams.
Finally, I would conclude with a note directed to my own former students, especially from a few years back or more. I have taught the horn pedagogy and repertoire courses a bit differently every year. Reflecting on all the past versions I believe that I have the content much more ideally organized for a course of this type than in any prior year.
And, speaking of horn repertoire, there is an entire companion repertoire class as well. But, first, on to pedagogy!