The Horn Handbook: Quotes


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One reference text I keep coming back to is The Horn Handbook, by Verne Reynolds. One of my favorite chapters is the last one, “Teaching the Horn.” Below are some of my favorite quotes from that chapter. On a side note, although I never studied with Mr. Reynolds, I did have the opportunity to study with a couple of his former students during my summers at Brevard Music Center; Cynthia Carr and Dr. John Ericson. I consider my summers there as some of the most important in my musical development, and I highly recommend attending Brevard to any serious musician. Now on to the quotes:

It was once believed that several year’s experience in a symphony orchestra was prerequisite to college teaching, or, after long service in an orchestra, a ‘college teaching job’ would be a fine way to finish one’s musical life. Few college positions in applied music today do not demand a high level of performing ability and an educational record that signifies intellectual breadth and vigor. This combination of strengths is needed to obtain a professorship, to advance in the academic world, and to prosper in the private studio.(p. 221)

If we are content with teaching as we were taught, with feeding upon the labor of others who provide us with music and information, and are satisfied with playing and teaching the same music year after year, our students are likely to follow our example. This is not teaching as it is understood in most disciplines. In their undergraduate years our students are especially sensitive to the models they see around them. These are the years that set up lifelong patterns of attitude, industry, and behavior. (p. 224)

A fine studio teacher continues to learn. Just as fine players must set aside time for practice in order to progress, studio teachers should organize their professional and academic lives to include reading and research. A day without reading can be compared to a day without practice. (p. 239)

A successful private teacher combines kindness with determination. The teacher’s effectiveness is not lessened by a genial countenance. Kindliness is a manifestation of benevolent strength. Determination is strength of conviction aided by perseverance and confidence. All of these-determination, strength of conviction, perseverance, and confidence-are qualities that a fine private teacher strives to instill in students; they are also qualities that must be present in the teacher. (p. 240)

And one final quote from the “Epilogue II” section. Quite inspirational!

Which instrument requires the physique of an athlete and the heart of a poet? Which instrument demands dedication, perseverance, industry, honesty, and an indefinable musical gift? Which instrument rewards the player and the listener with perfect joy? The horn, the horn, the horn, of course. (p. 247)

By James Boldin

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