UT Horn Day assists aspiring middle and high school horn players

Nicole Cobler

Middle school, high school and college French horn players came together onstage for a concert Sunday as a part of UT Horn Day in the Butler School of Music.

UT Horn Day is a free event open to middle school and high school students, parents and teachers. They can receive assistance from associate horn professor Patrick Hughes and Gerry Wood, adjunct horn instructor at the UT-Arlington with their regional tryout pieces.

Students could also try out different horns and play in the final concert.

The event was put on by the Horn Studio, led by Hughes and comprised of 20 undergraduate and graduate horn students and brought in more than 50 middle school and high school students combined.

Hughes started the event three years ago and has seen growing participation since it began.

“I feel like it’s a service to the community to get everyone connected,” Hughes said.

During the event, young French horn players practice their tryout music in this outreach opportunity and can test different horns, mouthpieces, mutes and cases. Various venders attended the event to repair instruments.

Middle school and high school students split up to practice individual songs but came together later to rehearse a song to perform alongside the UT Horn Choir. 

Music performance graduate Rose Valby, the studio’s sole assistant who organized the event, helped middle school students and conducted a piece. 

Wood, who plays with the horn group Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse, switched off with Hughes to help the middle school and high school group to offer them more insight on the music. This was the event’s first year to have another clinician for students.

Kaitlin Methven, a freshman at Westwood High School, said she received assistance on different horn fingerings and a piece for a regional competition.

“It definitely helps hearing what they’re supposed to sound like,” Methven said.

The LongHORN choir, which is part of the Horn Studio, played for the students multiple times throughout the day. The choir comprises non-music and music majors and has about 20 members.

Amber Hendrix, music and human learning graduate student, plays in the horn choir and conducted a piece for the middle school students.

“It’s good to work with professors on the all-region music so you can get different ideas,” Hendrix said. “I’m a big fan of working with different people on the same music so you can get different feedback and it helps you grow as a musician.”