A surprising truth about horn professors


Back a few years I wrote an article on horn professors and accurate biographies. Following up on that topic briefly, I’m one now! Full Professor of music at Arizona State as of May, 2018, with 21 years of full time teaching behind me. Which is to say, it is not an easy process, it is a very difficult process, which is why there are only about a dozen full Professors of horn teaching at universities in the United States.

The surprising truth is that some people either intentionally or inadvertently short-cut the process by using careless wordings in their biographies. As a result, they give the impression that they are a professor of music, but that is not their actual academic rank at all. Being a fan of accuracy, I’ve tried to explain this deception issue in various ways over the years. The following used to be in a FAQ at my ASU site, and hopefully brings a little more clarity to the topic of what is a horn professor.

What is an Associate Professor? Do you play in the Phoenix Symphony?

These questions come up often enough that they both deserve a brief answer.

Those unfamiliar with university hiring policies in the USA might guess that an Associate Professor is some sort of associate to a Professor, but this is not the case! Associate Professor is an academic rank granted to many tenured, full time faculty members at universities, and this is my current academic rank at ASU. The majority of full time, tenure track university hires in the USA are at the Assistant Professor rank. With time (and tenure) an Assistant Professor will become an Associate Professor and then a Professor. After my Doctoral studies I performed full time in Nashville for six years (with one year off, when I taught full time in Taiwan), shifted my focus and taught full time at the Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam) as an Assistant Professor for three years, was an Assistant Professor at ASU for six years, and now serve as an Associate Professor at ASU. The bottom line is I am the full time, tenured horn professor at ASU and I hope to be here for many years.

[Part of what confuses the issue is many part time horn faculty at schools will call themselves “Professor of horn” in their bio when in fact their actual academic rank is something more like instructor, lecturer, or adjunct professor].

I also get asked fairly often if I play in the Phoenix Symphony. I do play extra with them on large works from time to time, which I enjoy doing, but as I am full time faculty at ASU I am not a member of the Phoenix Symphony.

University of Horn Matters