Random Monday: Ghosts, Piggly-Wigglies and Travelling by Air


TheScream21.jpgGhosts in the machine
A good amount of time was spent over the weekend with our ailing Sales Area – for the time being I have reverted it back to the default plugin. No items have been lost in this process, but if you happen to peruse the Horn Matters Classified Ads please be aware that its appearance and functionality may be in some flux until further notice.

From May to September
Longtime Cleveland Orchestra member Richard Solis has retired after 41 years in the orchestra. Meanwhile, a piece over at the Chicago Reader on Dale Clevenger asks a difficult question on his retirement.

For the love of playing
Every week a number of Philadelphia’s office professionals show up with instruments in hand to practice for the all-volunteer Philadelphia Wind Symphony.

“We have this group made of people very much like myself, people who weren’t making a living playing — but there are some professionals and then there are amateurs,” Stephen Slater, who plays the French horn and serves as the director of development for the all-volunteer, 60-member group, said. “I love the diversity. It felt really enticing how diverse the group was.”


Going hog wild
Phil Collins reminds us that sometimes you have to play like a pig.

Is playing like a pig ever acceptable? Certainly you’ve been challenged to approach the music as aggressively as a hungry dog with a bone, but have you ever considered unleashing all restraints and going absolutely hog wild after the music? The results might surprise you.


A look into the Dark Side
This humorous look at symphony orchestras at Cracked.com has been out there for a while. Be aware that the humor is sharp and the language is salty and colorful to say the least. Caveat emptor. 

(If this sort of thing is your cup of tea, then you might also enjoy these meanderings from the notorious mind of Archibald Noodlefish.)

Of particular interest to myself from the Cracked story was the case of Abbie Conant and the discovery of “You Sound Like A Ladies Orchestra,” A Case History of Sexism Against Abbie Conant In the Munich Philharmonic. This made for some interesting reading indeed.

Another benefit of playing an instrument
A recent study suggests that playing a musical can enhance one’s ability to visualize objects in 3D.

Can you mentally rotate a three-dimensional object, getting a clear sense of how it looks it from a variety of angles?

It’s a specific cognitive skill that has been the subject of much study in recent years, since it’s a key component of processing spatial information. Professionals ranging from auto mechanics to brain surgeons rely on this ability.

A newly published study suggests there may be a way to enhance this important skill, and it does not involve spending hours in front of a computer screen. Rather, it suggests students might want to put down their laptops and pick up a musical instrument, or suit up and take to the sports field.


Travelling with an instrument
A new site calling itself The Yard takes a look at the difficulties of travelling on an airplane in the U.S. with a large instrument. In this era of compact horn cases this problem has perhaps become less of an issue for horn players, but it is certainly a great benefit to have a federally-mandated policy.

Thanks to a decade of lobbying by the American Federation of Musicians, a unified, national policy for airline travel within the United States has been passed by Congress in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill. According to the AFM website, the FAA allows “any instrument that can be safely stored in the overhead compartment or underneath the seat to be brought on board as carry-on luggage.”

For larger instruments, “the bill sets standard weight and size requirements for checked instruments, and permits musicians to purchase a seat for oversized instruments, such as cellos, that are too delicate to be checked.”


Random pictures

Random videos

A horn player’s ex-girlfriend.

* * *

Great horn licks from John Williams film scores.

* * *

Fans of memes and the Trololo song might enjoy this.

* * *

Phil Meyers talks about cadenzas.

* * *

A new series on horn techniques from eHow has appeared on YouTube.

* * *

University of Horn Matters