Random Monday: Open Educational Resources and Getting Back to Nuts and Bolts

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It’s a hit!
Since announcing major updates to the Resources area, our click-tracking stats have gone through the roof!  The chart below shows what links people are clicking on that go to external sites or resources.

(The number one PDF download so far has been the parts to Tchiakovsky’s 5th symphony.)

A key concept in presenting these these materials on Horn Matters is that they are Open Educational Resources (OER).

Open source educational materials have grown into a huge movement in higher education and we are planning to ride this wave. Be looking for this area to grow and expand over time.

Time to clean my mouthpiece
In an art-piece performance, an opera singer in the U.K. was hooked up to a device that converted her breath into edible algae.

Yes, that is right, I said edible algae. 

During the art-piece, the head-mounted, face-clinging device was worn by an opera singer who used her breath to feed algae with carbon dioxide. Later, the audience was encouraged to “taste her song.”


One could only imagine what this device would output if hooked up to a horn bell or mouthpiece.

Obituary for Peter Civil

A musician from Northampton who played with The Beatles and Mantovani as well as some of the world’s top orchestras, has died aged 83.

French horn player, Peter Civil, was born in 1929 into a distinguished musical family. He began studying the French horn aged 10 and carried on playing the instrument throughout his time in the military, with the Band of the Irish Guards.


Getting back to the roots
Jeffrey Agrell takes a look at ancient and medieval philosophers and their opinions on music.

Music has been around a long time. Most folks just play it and/or listen to it and enjoy it.  But some folks think about it, talk about it. This has been going on for a long time. Sometimes it’s interesting to look back and see what the sages from the ages thought about music and the role of music in human society way back then (of course, their music sounded much different from our music.


Following your path
Pursuing a specific career passion can certainly be an adventure, especially if it is in the Arts. If things do not pan out as you would like them to, there may come a time to make some hard decisions about fine-tuning your career path.

Today, I’m a computer science professor at Georgetown University, and I love my job.

The most important lesson I can draw from my experience is that this love has nothing to do with figuring out at an early age that I was meant to be a professor. There’s nothing special about my choosing this particular path. What mattered is what I did once I made my choice.


A ray of sunshine in a sea of gloom
In light of the labor meltdowns in U.S. orchestras in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Indianapolis (among others), this story about the Buffalo Philharmonic and its recovery is worth recognizing and celebrating.

Rochester’s orchestra is on the ropes, struggling under a hefty operating deficit. The Chicago Symphony was temporarily silenced by a strike. There have even been lockouts – at the Minnesota Orchestra, which has canceled all concerts through November; the Indianapolis Symphony, which scrubbed the first part of its season; and the Atlanta Symphony, weighed down with debts of $20 million.

And yet, in the midst of this dissonance, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra plays on.

The group released its annual report last month, and the outlook is as bright as a Mozart minuet. The 2011 fiscal year ended with a balanced budget. The BPO has a cumulative debt of $2.5 million, but that is modest by industry standards. JoAnn Falletta, the BPO’s popular music director, is one year into a five-year contract. The musicians have a contract that will see them through to the year 2016.


Random videos

Today’s video theme is Nuts and Bolts, beginning with how factory horns are made.

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How to oil valves.

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How to string valves.

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How to take your valves out.

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