French Horn Practicing

Copyright © 2015 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

No pictures today.

Alice and I sat down for some more French horn practicing. I’ve taught other people to play, but this is different. It’s always different when it’s your own child, more so when your child has a disability.

One of the challenges of Down syndrome, which we’ve been hearing about from speech therapists for years is to have and maintain breath support. I can tell you from having Alice yelling at me or her brother that she has breath support. Consistent breath support is vital for playing a brass instrument.

In order to do help Alice learn, we’ve been sitting down for sessions that last no more than 10 minutes. We start by taking the mouthpiece out and doing buzzes. I’m not concerned about what sound she makes as long as it is prolonged and not a short burst. She can do about a second, maybe a little more. Lots of high fives.

Then I have her put the horn together. It’s important to learn how to put it together without getting the mouthpiece stuck. Learning to put the mouthpiece in with a gentle twist will cut down on the number of trips to the music store for an appointment with a bobcat.

Then I let Alice play notes. I help make sure that she has a good embouchure and encourage long notes.

Since we started, Alice is making noises that sound like notes and I’m very proud.

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