High Eb's, hard licks

Stardate 201612.15 - Key of Eb Harmonic Minor

As you know, faithful readers, I'm all about going boldly. But today's practice was about being a little less bold, a little more slow and measured. 

In my warm up, I stretched myself to reach tonic (Eb above high C) in arpeggios and scales. Instead of rushing the air and going by guts alone, I slowed down. Going slowly allowed me to check for mouthpiece pressure (spoiler alert: there was a lot) and ease up. Then, like magic, those high Eb's started popping out.

It is not my habit to practice playing above high C - and I'm certainly not here to brag about playing up there! There are others who play those notes more, better, louder, softer, etc.. But it so happens that I need to be able to hit a high Eb reliably for a concert coming up of the Ligeti Horn Trio. So I must practice them now.

Speaking of the Ligeti, there are about eight bars that took up a great deal of my practice time, today. The eight bars have four "licks," mostly for natural horn. They have to be fast, short, and are musically structured around syncopated accents. So, naturally, I'm practicing the licks slow, slurred, and with INSANE accents. I made myself a little practice-part to read: 

The little "grace notes" are there to help measure the distances with intervals that are tricky for me to hear. The fingerings are all chosen by Mr. Ligeti himself.