Submitted by George Cable

I knew and studied with Wendell Hoss from the early 1960's to the early 1970's. He was a gentle compassionate man who loved the horn and promoted it throughout his life. In or around 1974 Mr. Hoss sold his home in Glendale California and moved to San Diego to retire. The horn community here in San Diego enjoyed his comradery and the horn ensembles he arranged. Mr. Hoss had a studio in down town San Diego where he taught lessons and practiced (he was around 80 at that time.) He also taught horn at San Diego State College for a few years until he had a stay in a local hospital with a cancer scare. Nancy Fisch left her job to be a his companion and caretaker through the last years of his life. Mr. Hoss was able to stay at home during his illness with her help and not in a care facility. (he died in 1980.)

Mr. Hoss was an excellent instructor, who taught the horn student mental and physical aspects of horn playing, music phrasing, and the love of the beautiful horn sound. He would give the student exercises in which he would mentally work out in his mind without music. An example is the Chord Inversion Exercise. The interesting thing about this exercise is one needs to change only one note at a time to progress through the exercise. Mr. Hoss would instruct the student to play a major arpeggio in root position followed by a minor arpeggio in root position built on the same note, and then, keeping the bass note the same (the lowest note), progress to first inversion major and minor and again keeping the bass note the same, in second inversion major and minor. The student needs to change only one note to change to the next chord except going from first inversion major to first inversion minor. After completing the chords the student would change one note and move up to the next chord in root position a half step higher and go through that series in the same manner. The student would struggle learning these arpeggios but would learn to visualize the music in their minds. (An example is included here.)

During one of my lessons with Mr. Hoss, I asked him if he knew of any etudes in compound meter, such as 7/8, for intermediate students in. He said he could recall none, so I put it out of my mind. A few days later I received a letter from him which included an original etude in 7/8 meter. The etude is reminiscent of Strauss' Til. Several years later when he retired and had more time, the local hornists suggested he publish a book of etudes. The etudes were published in 1980 by “A Moll Dur Publishing House” as “Nine Studies For Horn.” I believe the book is out of print now. (etude printed here)

Chord Inversions Exercise.jpg
7-8 meter.jpg
AuthorGeorge Marshall