Random Wednesday: Windmills of the Mind

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Noise pollution
A new study indicates that French horn players are in danger of developing noise-induced hearing loss. This risk for horn players is reported as the highest among professional orchestral musicians.

Where are those ear plugs I bought a few years ago?

Cornerstones of creativity
While this study dates from 1968, there are some contemporary lessons to be gleaned. The basic idea to this reader is that creativity is something that we are all born with, and if we are not careful, it can be lost.

Practice make perfect?
In a related study, the term perfectionist is taken to task.

Many famous artists have run into this problem and have been so bothered with it, that they decided to take their own lives. While playing the horn and aiming for perfect results may not drive you to do the same, there is something to take to heart when reading this article.

There is perhaps a difference between playing something perfectly and aiming for excellence and high standards.

Everyone is a critic
Taking this train-of-thought further, when studying music and preparing for a career in music, a student may experience a lot of criticism. In some cases harsh criticism can be motivating, but in other cases it can deliver injury if given in extreme or if taken too personally.

Speaking for myself, I once had a well-known teacher tell me to give up on music and to do something else. At the time, this news was harsh and heartbreaking. I stopped studying with that teacher and moved on to another teacher who was more supportive and positive. Fast forward to today and here I am, with a day-job outside of music.

What are your thoughts on mean teachers? Should you do yourself a favor and take it in stride, or should you move on (or even fight back)?

(While you are at it, take a look a some of the articles here at Horn Matters on the topic of narcissism.)

Your brain is flawed
The topic of cognitive bias has always been fascinating to me. How is it that one person can think that something is beautiful while another thinks it is absolute trash? This article offers a few answers and ideas to take to heart when thinking about horn playing and your personal preferences for one type of style versus another.

Husband kicked out of house, takes up the P-bone
File this one under “News of the Weird” but the photo on this page says it all. This is what playing on a P-bone will get you.

New resources from Julie Landsman on the Caruso Method
Julie Landsman, former principal horn of the Metropolitan Opera and faculty teacher at the Julliard School of Music, has graciously offered her knowledge, experience and materials for the “Caruso Method.”

While his main instrument was the saxophone, Carmine Caruso has become somewhat of an urban legend among brass players. A hodgepodge of his methods and materials can be found online, but these new resources from Ms. Landsman are probably the most comprehensive and clear. She offers printed materials on her web site and a series of YouTube videos.

Random Videos

The life of an orchestral horn player.

The life of a Viennese horn player.

The life of being happy.

Life in outer space.