Horn study at the School of Music at The University of Iowa is designed to equip players with a comprehensive knowledge of practice techniques, experience in performing as a soloist and in ensembles and chamber music, knowledge of horn history and repertoire (solos, etudes, orchestral literature, chamber music, horn ensemble), horn pedagogy, and related issues, such as recording, stage presence, auditioning, equipment, and so on (see below).
All horn majors study with Dr. Ambrose. Non-major horn players at UI are welcome to participate in horn seminar and horn choir as well other large ensembles (depending on an audition). Lessons normally center around technical development, solo literature, etudes, and orchestral repertoire.
The Horn Studio has digital audio and video recording equipment (Sony PCM550, Zoom Q3) so that all performances in lessons, seminars, and recitals may be quickly and easily recorded in high-quality digital format for listening and analysis. The student may take a copy of the recording along on their flash drive, CD, or (for smaller files) have it sent via email. Students may also borrow the instructor’s personal professional level mics and equipment to record as well.
Students are advised to have their own instruments, but there are a small number of rental instruments available. If you need help deciding on what horn to buy, contact Dr. Ambrose.
There are a wide variety of performing opportunities available in the UI School of Music. There are also semi-professional and professional orchestras in the region where advanced students may find additional playing opportunities.
The horn studio meets once a week for horn seminar, which offers opportunities for performance, masterclasses, working with guest artists, and learning about all manner of horn- and music related topics. The studio also takes advantage of the rich tradition of horn ensemble music and gives horn choir concerts. All brasses occasionally meet in combined seminars for performances or common topic discussion, workshops, or guest artist appearances.
There are also studio recitals where all players perform, either in ensembles or solo (with piano accompaniment).
Some of the subjects covered in Horn Seminar in recent years:
•Warm-ups and Practice Techniques
•Horn resources (books, articles, internet, dissertations, videos, etc.)
•Listening - famous horn players and CDs
•How to compose your own etudes, duets, trios, etc.
•Peak performance: mental aspects of performance
•How to record yourself
•Horn history topics
•Composers and the horn
•Horn players as composers
•Baroque horn playing
•Soundpainting & improvisation
•Studying horn abroad
•Playing horn abroad (employment possibilities)
•Orchestral excerpts; solo/section
•Section horn playing
•Horn construction, care & maintenance
•Auditioning; auditioning for military bands
•Horn alone - repertoire
•Playing the blues
•Orchestral etiquette, section roles
•Franz Strauss festival
•Student composition performances
•Famous horn players
•Buying a horn
•The Beethoven Sonata
•The Haydn horn concerti
•History and demonstration of the Alphorn
•Playing Horn in Broadway Musicals
•Life as a Freelancer
•The Overtone Series
•Scales, Arpeggios, Patterns
•The Physiology of Brass Playing
•Playing Low Horn: Bach, Funk, Gardner, Excerpts, Clefs and More
•Becoming Tiger Woods on the Horn: Microprojects and other Delights
•Paris Conservatory teachers/players of the 19th Century
•Dealing with and Preventing Musician's Injuries
•How to make a Podcast
•The Hunting Horn
•Teaching and Playing in Thailand
•Book reviews: Talent is Overrated; The Talent Code, Make it Stick, Mastery, Dennis Brain bio, Philip Farkas bio
•Descant and triple horns
•Mental preparation for performance
•Listening - Famous soloists
•How to audition
•Peak performance, performance anxiety