Random Wednesday: Playing Catch-up, Memes and Plastic Brains


Wish granted
Through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a Chicago area teenager with Ewing Sarcoma had her wish granted to play with the Chicago Symphony horn section.

That dream came true Thursday afternoon when Hanna performed with the members of the CSO’s French horn section. She also will attend a regular rehearsal, receive a backstage pass and get tickets to a symphony performance.

Kudos to all six members of the CSO’s horn section, who all have graciously volunteered to grant Hanna’s wish: Dale Clevenger, Daniel Gingrich, James Smelser, Oto Carrillo, David Griffin and Susanna Gaunt.


Enough is enough
At The Horn, a pithy commentary on our moral hangups with über-composer Richard Wagner.

What made a mere composer, albeit  a towering  genius, into a  bone of contention all over the world for nearly two centuries?  The answers are very complex. Wagner is a polarizing figure  in classical music and opera; people tend to  love or hate his music; few are indifferent to it.

There is something about his  music which fascinates and thrills some listeners yet also something which disturbs and repels many others.


Comparing descant horns
James Boldin takes a field trip and reveals a huge collection of mouthpieces and mutes.

Having a good time
Dr. Noa Kageyama asks “do we take ourselves too seriously?” and explores the topic of play and playfulness.

What makes a good leader?
While this article from The Chronicle is aimed at university faculty, a number of the points made can be easily applied to the music world.

A good leader doesn’t think he or she knows everything, or always knows better than other people.

A good leader not only listens, but listens to lots of different people—and takes their advice and their views into account when making decisions.

A good leader recognizes the importance of giving up control in certain areas because other people know more about that area and/or bear primary responsibility for it. Inclusiveness and delegation, together, are the essence of shared governance.

A good leader doesn’t just pretend to listen or pretend to delegate. He or she doesn’t merely pay lip service to the concept of shared governance or attempt to manipulate the process for personal gain.

Once all sides have had their say, and the decision-making ball is in the leader’s court, he or she will make that decision and accept responsibility for it.

A good leader is not constantly pointing fingers or blaming others for problems—even if they actually did create them.


Mind over matter?
Dr. Roger Martin, a flute professor at Tenessee Tech, posits on his experience with focal dystonia in his fingers.

The issue of internal dialogue bears close examination.  In his book, The Inner Game of Tennis, Timothy Gallwey gives us brilliant insight into how our minds work with our bodies and if you have not read it, do so.  Most of us have had the experience of internal dialogue intruding during a performance, giving us directions on how to play mixed with judgmental comments and random thoughts.

It’s distracting and rarely beneficial.  Let all of that internal verbiage go and focus on tonal imagination.  Easier said than done, right?  This approach helps me – every time the inner voice intrudes, I think, “Thank you, but listen to my sound.”  I return my attention to what I am hearing in the moment and to tonal imagination.


Random memes

A few of my favorite memes from past Horn Matters articles.

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Necessity is the mother of invention.

Chuck Norris Plays Konzerstuck

What if Action Mega-Star Chuck Norris played French Horn?

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Do as I say, not as I do.

Meme - Clean your mouthpiece

LOL Cats, ‘Goggies’ and yes, French Horns

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Ensemble deportment.

Orangutan French horn meme

Saturday Funnies Meme Flood

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Well that escalated quickly…

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We hear that a new principal is needed in Chicago.

Keanu blows his big chance at first horn.

Internet Memes ‘Sad Keanu’ and ‘Strutting Leo’ with French Horns, I

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Polly wants a raise.

Parrot plays french horn meme

Saturday Funnies Meme Flood

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Don’t mess with Chuck.

Chuck Norris French Horn


8 Chuck Norris Memes with ‘Walker Texas Ranger’ as a French Horn Player

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A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Brain Memes and Random Videos

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Random Videos

On my end at least, there has been a small flood of junk email stemming from something just like this. (The difference being that this video is a joke.)

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Two trombones and two slide-cams.

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Marc Papeghin and company offer a tribute to a video game franchise.

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Your brain is plastic and to a certain degree, you are what you think.

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A nice profile of a veteran musician in the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.

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A great video on over-training.

University of Horn Matters