Horn Repertoire Week 15: Final!

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Congratulations! You have made it to the end of an epic year.

As I wrote when this was first posted in 2013, it was a great exercise for me to put together the full year under the University of Horn Matters banner. I believe it was (and remains) the best overview of horn pedagogy and repertoire you will ever find. I hold it up against anything any other horn professor out there has ever put together, this was about as comprehensive as you could possibly get in two semesters, with no gimmicks and tons of information.

Of course, even with that there is still another level to the topic of horn teaching and horn performance. I hope that those following the course will aim for their own personal higher level, building on your experiences and on the tools you have gained here.

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As to myself, updating now for 2017, I have been thinking a lot about the state of the French horn world today. One central point of my recent commentary article, “The Future of French Horn Playing,” is that the horn world is very complacent and needs to demand better products.  This portion of that article (below) gets at part of the problem in terms of repertoire specifically:

A final big topic area I would like to point out, that the horn world is entirely too complacent about, is technical materials for horn study. Our typical etude materials are, you guessed it, dated and stuck in the 19th century. Of course, it seems like there are no options besides Kopprasch? Actually, there are surprisingly few choices from the past 90 years published for the horn, certainly not many at all that are easily purchased. I have attempted to fill this gap even myself with a series of contemporary etudes (an E-publication, more here), but the bottom line I have concluded is that it seems virtually impossible to get teachers to use new materials (or buy E-publications, either). It really is past time to give serious consideration to teaching from some different materials. In my own case, one possible solution I see is to make more use of contemporary solo horn literature, something I plan to explore in my teaching going forward.

Back in 2013 I was working on big drafts of big books, which stalled. I need to go back to them but really need to think out a new organizational scheme or presentation that will make it something new and distinct among all books published on the horn. There is a huge need. As I say in the article linked above, the Farkas book is very dated, a lot has changed since 1956, and it is up to us now to actually develop and demand better products.

University-of-Horn-Matters-StoreThank you again for following this course, and I hope that it has made a positive difference in the horn world. And remember, if you followed it all the way from the beginning to end you certainly should purchase some University of Horn Matters gear to celebrate.

This is final article of a fourteen week course in horn repertoire, the second semester of a broad overview of horn repertoire, performance, and pedagogy. The introductory article is here, and the series is presented for the educational purposes of our readers.