Playing the French Horn with No Arms – Amazing Story of Overcoming Challenges

If you think playing French horn with no arms is impossible, you will change your mind after seeing this AMAZING video. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uWCN2p18WM) It will inspire you and your students. (Discussion Guide below)

Felix Klieser was born with no arms, so uses his feet to do most things. This includes eating, dressing, writing … and being a professional French horn player. The musician has toured with Sting, has recently released a second album and has a diary full of concert bookings.

When he was 4 years old he was outspoken that he wanted to learn to play French horn. He began with his first class at age 5. This German musician recently became an ambassador for the One-Handed Musical Instrument Trust (OHMI), which helps fund the development of adapted or specially designed instruments for musicians with one hand and other limb differences.

For a print interview with Felix Klieser, click here. (My favorite part is: “Outside of music, why do you dislike talking about living with no arms?” “Because my life is very easy. I am a musician and I want to play concerts; the rest is private for me.”)

Here is a Discussion Guide to use with your students before and after watching the video. I’d recommend not telling them what the video about is before discussing the first group of questions. Then if you feel you need to prepare them for the video after answering the questions, that’s great. After the video discuss the second group of questions. Download a free PDF version here – Felix.Klieser.Discussion.Guide.Overcoming.Challenges.

Before the video clip:

What are some of the challenging things about playing your instrument?

How do you feel when you can’t do something easily? 

Do you like it when you have to work a really long time to do something?

Do you ever feel like playing an instrument is easier for someone else?

When you get frustrated, what do you do about it?

If you quit things as soon as they get tough, what would your life be like now?

If you quit as soon as things get tough, what would your life be like when you’re older – college or professional?

Do you think learning to play an instrument teaches you perseverance?

This video is not in English. Students can read the subtitles, but even if they couldn’t understand a word, they would still get the point. They should still be inspired.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uWCN2p18WM
(As always with youtube, there may be an ad before the video. Just skip it.)

After the video:

What struck you about this video?

What kinds of things did the performer talk about?

Did he complain about his challenges?

Do you think he had to work harder than the average person to learn to play?

Why do you think he did that?

Do you think that the fact that he persevered on his instrument shows something about his overall character?

Does he have the type of attitude of someone you would want to work with?

Does this video change the way you think about challenges on your instrument and in your life?

Download a free PDF version of the discussion guide here – Felix.Klieser.Discussion.Guide.Overcoming.Challenges.

Related Reading:
Retention Strategies to Keep Your Band Students IN (during the summer)
Reach Higher
Lesson Plan with 5 short TEDed videos about music

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