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):
John Ericson, professor of horn at Arizona State University.
No moss grows on JQE. I was reminded of this once again just now with the announcement of two more of his publications, Ultimate Horn Technique, and Ultimate Low Horn. These are published by John’s own Horn Notes Editions (too much free time? Start a publishing company!), and join his other books: Playing High Horn, Introducing the Horn, Playing the Wagner Tuba, and A Mello Catechism [mellophones]. You can also buy his CDs at this site: Canto (lyric works for horn) and Les Adieux (solo works of Franz Strauss). John is also the co-manager (with Bruce Hembd – both are hornists and web wizards) of the mother of all horn blogs, Horn Matters, a site that every serious horn player should visit regularly – current content is about 1,400 articles! Mr. Content, you will not be surprised to know (or be reminded), is also responsible for Horn Articles Online, a collection of about 60 of his articles – tons of information here, especially about the natural and early valved horn.
Here’s to you, Mister Ericson (it should be Doctor, but I’m working in a song quote here)! And a great thanks from the rest of us slugabeds who both enjoy and wonder at your prodigious output (ok, there’s the shame thing for feeling positively motionless compared to you, but I’m trying not to think about that part). Keep up the great work!
One more thing: The reason I’m doing this blog is because John encouraged/harassed me to not wait/waste another day – to start writing, now! So I did. One more thing to thank him for.