O.J.'s Trumpet Page Articles and reviews

"Thoughts on playing the Horn well"

The great Norwegian horn player and professor of horn and chamber music, (Norwegian State Academy of Music,) Frøydis Ree Wekre, has written a very stimulating and useful book, called "Thoughts on playing the Horn well". This is a textbook about the art or skill of playing a brass instrument. It should be of great interest to all players of "the horn", whether it is a big horn like the tuba, a medium one like the "Horn" or a small one like the trumpet or the cornet.

Very often we see brass methods that, if we examine them closer, are quite narrow or only represent the authors own view or approach of mastering the instrument. Some of the more absurd of these methods focus only on small aspects of playing, like high notes, "Double High C in 37 Weeks" or states something like "The Final Embouchure Method".

This is not the case with Frøydis Ree Wekre's book. She has a broader view - the book is more academic so to say. When there are different opinions on a topic, she presents them all, and just says what she prefers. In chapter 3 for instance, called "Thoughts on the work of the facial muscles", she discusses two theories:

Theory I: "One position and one specific muscle tension" or "the poker-face-concept" (Philip Farkas).

Theory II: "Just do what you have to do" or "the rubber-face-concept" (Dale Clevenger).

About her own preference she states: "And, maybe needless to say, in my own playing and teaching, I tend to use and recommend the dynamic approach much more than the static".

The book is divided into 16 chapters. It covers subjects like: playing well, warming up, practicing, the facial muscles, sound production, breathing, intonation, memorizing, thoughts on being your own teacher, and a lot more.

Even if the book is mostly a textbook, there are some nice exercises in it. Some of those exercises are derived from well-known trumpet literature (James Stamp, H. L. Clarke) and some are her own. Frøydis Ree Wekre has a list of great players and teachers who have inspired her: Vitalij Boujanovskij, Arnold Jacobs, Wilhelm Lansky-Otto and James Stamp.

The book is ISBN 82-993244-0-8 (1 Edition, 1994.) To all fellow trumpet players and other brass players, who likes to understand and learn more about our art: Go and get it!

O.J. 1998