All teachers, certainly including horn teachers, amass a lot of material over the years in the ceaseless quest to increase their knowledge and improve their craft, the better to continually upgrade what they teach and how they teach it to students. It’s a lot of work, and it never stops. Vacations are always packed with special projects to increase skills and knowledge, creating new teaching materials and revising old ones. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but the good news is that it is always interesting. Learning is life; stagnation is brain death. Back to the materials part. We all create a lot of materials. Sometimes the materials become books that are published and thus spread the materials far and wide, like Doug Hill’s Collected Thoughts..., a wonderful compendium of some the materials and articles Prof. Hill has turned out over an outstanding career spanning over three decades. My Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians is an augmented & edited collection and method that comes from the first half-dozen years of teaching my “hobby” course, Improvisation for Classical Musicians. My upcoming book A Systematic Approach to Horn Technique is the product of years of thought and experimentation. I’ve also turned out a fair number of articles and compositions over the years. There are a lot of teachers, especially university teachers (who have to continually file CVs and demonstrate creative production), who create new teaching materials. But I have to take a moment to salute a man who apparently never sleeps or gets sidetracked with distractions like email, Facebook, Twitter, eating, sleeping, and so on (may I have the envelope, please):
I’ve never seen snow like this, and I grew up in Minnesota. My actual driveway is only a suspicion. I should have planted tall stakes with flags on them to mark the corners of it. My snowthrower is going to have a heart attack trying to chisel its way through, oh, 2+ feet of new snow. I’m glad I don’t have to either drive (classes cancelled) or fly anywhere at the moment (two weeks ago it took two days to fly back to the midwest from Boise, and that was in fairly nice weather. I can’t imagine trying to sort out the fourteen umpty-jillion cancelled flights). For those of us who are socked in (read: all of us), choices are limited. Life is simple. Stay home. Stay warm. Snuggle. Sip Glögg. Get in your fuzziest pajamas and stay there. Consider the snowbound hours a sort of gift: you can’t go anywhere or do anything else, so what should we do with these “extra” hours. Bad weather can be a boon to musicians. In those years I lived in bad-weather climates (Alaska and Switzerland [it rains a lot where I was]), I always thought: perfect climate for musicians – you can stay indoors and practice and not feel guilty that you’re missing beautiful weather outside.
Let’s see: snow day activities. Let’s brainstorm in the snowstorm….