I just happened upon it and haven’t read it yet (available from Amazon.co.uk £2.99 Kindle edition only), but I can’t wait, and didn’t want to wait to tell you about it:
When All Else Fails: A Horn Player’s Vade-Mecum [Vede Mecum = handbook or guide] by Siwel T. Niareg (Lewis T. Gerian?). It is hot off the presses: publication date: 30 March 2012. The publisher is listed as Gwerin, which is apparently a business/web design company in Wales.
Here’s the product description:
From an inauspicious start in deepest, darkest Eastern Europe, Senoj Drofnyw has risen to become the most famous French Horn pioneer that nobody has ever heard of. As Founder and Grand Master of the exclusive and highly secretive Senoj Drofnyw School of Virtual Horn Playing, his closely guarded teaching methods and practicing techniques have been highly sought after, and the subject of much rumour and speculation. But now, for the first time, Senoj Drofnyw has granted exclusive access to his most intimate set of personal beliefs, and to the lessons which have been founded upon them. Even if you are not a French Horn player, you will recognise the all-pervasive omnipotence of Drofnyw’s holistic teachings, and their timeless relevance to all aspects of human life. Siwel T. Niareg (deceased)
I read a lot of journals, and not just horn journals. Sometimes you find really interesting stuff in, say Scientific American, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, Guitar Player, Popular Science, and so on.
I just came upon an amazing new finding in the American Journal of Acoustic Research that just might revolutionize brass playing. Recent findings from the Acoustic Research Lab at the University of Duluth led by Dr. Franklin Spassvogel indicates that significant gains in powerful and accurate playing were possible when the player was playing inverted vis-a-vis normal playing position. The lab constructed a specially built harness to examine the effect of the angle of playing (not just the instrument, but the head, neck, and breathing apparatus – i.e the whole body). The startling results were that the normal, completely upright position of playing was the least effective position for powerful accurate playing.
Any musician or music educator knows the manifold benefits and advantages that arts education of all kinds has for our children (see my earlier posts on this subject). It seems so obvious and proven beyond any faint shadow of a doubt that we all have worn dents in our foreheads from smacking them at the obtuseness of politicians who are determine to ignore the great advantages and joys of a well-rounded education that includes a healthy dose of creative arts study.
Why, oh, why do they think that way?! What is the matter with them? Is it so hard to discern that No Child Left Behind has fostered Every Child Left Behind?!
I may have chanced upon the answer to that question. Let us return now to yesterday for a short peek at a particular specimen of 130 year old journalism about the effects of brass playing; it is alarmingly difficult to refute the conjecture that this article is the secret central source of a certain attitude toward the arts apparently held by various contemporary politicians. Hold on to your hats. I quote (NYT article from July 28, 1880, public domain now, I believe):
The Brass Instrument Habit (anonymous)
It is generally conceded that the use of brass musical instruments has greatly increased in this country during the last ten years. Few persons, however, have any accurate idea of the appalling progress which this terrible vice has made. There is probably not a village in the whole country without its habitual and shameless players on the cornet, while the number of those who are addicted to brass instruments, either openly and to an extent which they call “moderate” or secretly and to a ruinous excess, is estimated by trustworthy statisticians to amount to fully 3 per cent of our entire adult population. In comparison with those figures the prevalence of drunkeness becomes insignificant and opium-eating hardly deserves notice.
Time for a little levity… Lifted from the UI horn studio web site, shamelessly adapted from a viral internet post on jazz band fines…
Orchestra Fines for Horn Players
Coming Late to rehearsal: $100
Coming Late to Performance: $500
Not Showing up at All: $400
Forgetting music: $50
Forgetting instrument: $100
Bringing wrong instrument: $150
Not noticing: $250
Not warming up: $50
Obnoxious show-off warm-up: $500
Playing highest note possible during warm-up: $107
Warming up with Principal Horn’s solos: Lethal Injection