The Man, Myth, Legend, etc.

Jeffrey Agrell

Welcome to my online home. I officially retired from university teaching in July 2021. I do have still a number of book and other projects to work on, so I won’t be idle; retirement presents a golden opportunity to work on projects of choice with no particular time pressure (except that of having to complete as many as possible before the obituary…).

With the exception of 4 months as a chambermaid at a Swiss hotel, I’ve earned my living from music since I was twenty-two. I was a symphony orchestra and opera musician for twenty-five years in Switzerland and taught horn and nonjazz improvisation at The University of Iowa since 2000-2021.

I have had the chance to do just about everything in the classical music realm over the years – symphony, opera, musicals, ballet, recitals, chamber music, and improvisation.

I’ve done over a hundred published articles on music. I have 7 published books on nonjazz improvisation (all publ. GIA): Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians, Vol. I (2008; 354 p.) and Vol. II (2016, 372 p. 642 new games) and five others.

I am also a composer. I have dozens of published works, I’ve won several composition contests and have written some pieces that have been widely performed in every kind of venue and have been frequently recorded on CD. I do occasionally accept commissions…

Specialties: Besides the regular French horn pedagogy and performance, I specialize in classical improvisation, its performance and pedagogy. I also compose chamber music, and enjoy generating ideas (brainstorming), and pursuing creative solutions to all kinds of problems. I am also an amateur sort-of jazz guitarist on the side (rusty compared to years past, but enthusiastic), ditto for various kinds of percussion.

My most recent books are: Horn Technique: A New Approach to an Old Instrument and The Creative Hornist.

I have to say that although I have had the chance to play so much music of many kinds over the years, my greatest enjoyment has come from teaching. I have learned so much from my wonderful students and am very grateful for the chance to have been a teacher, mentor, and friend for so many years. I will miss teaching in retirement, but now is the time for me to learn new things and come with new ideas and approaches, which should lead to new books that can get out there and do some teaching for me on a wider scale.

Let's collaborate.

Original Music

Check out recordings of my compositions.

The Literature

Buy directly on Amazon, or view more books to explore an inclusive list of my repertoire.

In this newest book, you will enjoy the wise and witty words of many of the world’s most original minds and use that energy to start (or continue) your own creativity journey.

The blues is an aural art, but this method uses notation as a springboard to (paradoxically) getting free of dependence on notation.

More Books

My Face Talking

Listen to interviews and podcasts featuring yours truly.