Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
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In their pursuit of becoming accomplished performers, horn players spend a great deal of time studying proper brass playing techniques from the great pedagogues. The modern horn is a fairly young instrument (less than two hundred years old) and the most efficient pedagogical approach is still evolving. Because of this, horn players spend a great deal of time studying proper brass playing techniques from the great pedagogues. Books by Philip Farkas, Arnold Jacobs, Raphael Mendez, and more have many theories and exercises on how to breathe, the best way to perfect embouchure development, performance techniques, and more.
Modern pedagogues have been working to find a better approach to playing the horn. They are doing this by borrowing techniques from other pedagogies, as well as introducing ideas that focus on the science and understanding of exactly what the body does to create sound. Through the study of the work of these pedagogues as well as interviewing many of them and their colleagues directly, a new routine for horn was created. This daily horn routine expands on ideas of the modern pedagogues while borrowing techniques from Body Mapping, vocal pedagogy, and more. The focus of the routine is to give students a path to playing the horn efficiently and free of excess tension and focuses on three areas specifically; long tones, flexibilities, and articulations.
Through the long tones, a performer will study and understand how the breathing apparatus works. Once that is understood, a horn player can use that knowledge to study an efficient use of the air in order to create music. This paper provides that information, as well as techniques for putting that use into practice.
The second focus is to understand how to efficiently and accurately produce and use the embouchure. Once a proper body map of the embouchure is understood, a horn player can turn to learning the techniques that are used to change pitch and tone while avoiding excess tension and injury. In order to do this, horn players can turn to techniques of vowel production to efficiently manipulate one’s oral cavity size for accuracy in changing pitch and refining tone. The relationship of horn and vocal pedagogical techniques with regards to embouchure, mouth shape, and vowel shape using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) are put into practice in the flexibility exercises of the daily routine for horn players.
The third area explored relates directly to the use of the embouchure and vowel shapes while playing the horn. Focus is turned from the vowel to the consonant, providing examples of how to properly use plosive consonants to play the horn free of excess tension. The articulation exercise of the routine allows students to explore how the tip of their tongue moves in relation to the body of their tongue, which creates the vowel shape. Understanding the independent nature of the three parts of the tongue is necessary for a horn player to efficiently articulate and perform music of all styles.
The new routine for horn not only provides a better idea of the relationship of these techniques to horn pedagogy, but also puts these techniques into practice. The connections of these techniques may provide a more efficient physical and technical approach to playing the horn.
Brass; French Horn; Horn; IPA; Music; Performance
Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Music | Theatre and Performance Studies
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Holloway, Jon Allan, "Efficient Strategies for Playing the Horn" (2016). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 2867.
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