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HONORS EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING PROJECT PROPOSAL FORM

Complete this proposal prior to your project’s start date and upload it in the UHP Database
(https://webapps.uc.edu/uchonorsstudent). Create a project (“Add a new record”) in the “Tracking Project” tab
and then upload your proposal document as an attachment. The deadline for submitting proposals is on the 5th of
each month.
While the quality of the proposal is most important, strong proposals are typically 3-4 pages in length (singlespaced). Please maintain the proposal format.
Basic Information
Full Name: Michael Sgrecci
UC Email: sgreccmd@mail.uc.edu
College: College-Conservatory of Music
Major: French Horn Performance
Title of Project: National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute
Thematic Area: Creative Arts
Expected Project Start Date: June 25
Expected Project End Date: July 26
Project Information
1. Provide a detailed abstract of your proposed honors experiential learning project.
The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Summer Music Institute is a 4-week long intensive orchestral
music institute hosted by the NSO at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Throughout the
institute, 60 other music students and I will rehearse in an orchestral setting for bi-weekly concerts, as
well as in smaller chamber music settings. I will take weekly private lessons with Laurel Ohlson, James
Nickel, and/or Sylvia Alimena, all members of the NSO French horn section. I will also attend
masterclasses and seminars concerning various subjects in music, attend side-by-side orchestra
rehearsals with the NSO, and attend NSO rehearsals and concerts.
With a typical day consisting of a several hour orchestra rehearsal, an hour of chamber music, one or
two classes, and 2-3 hours of personal practice, 4 weeks of those days will certainly exceed the time
requirement for experiential learning.
Clearly and thoroughly address how each of the following elements will be exhibited in your work:
2. Connection to Learning Outcomes within the Creative Arts Theme
• Possesses ability to define the creative problem; ability to frame and develop a problem
statement and appropriate methodology: Through personal practice, as well as private study with
lesson teachers, I will learn to identify and isolate problems in my playing, develop methods to
solve specific problems, and set goals which I will strive to achieve, resulting in solving the
creative problem identified. Example: While playing a certain excerpt, my slurs are not smooth. I
will identify why they are not smooth and isolate the problem, identifying what exactly I am
doing that makes the slurs rough. Then, I will develop a plan, outlining what I need to do in
order to make such slurs smooth. Lastly, I will set goals concerning the slurs and strive to
achieve them.
• Possesses ability to embrace contradictions and integrate alternate, divergent, or contradictory
perspectives: Working with other passionate musicians often results in contradictions in ideas
and playing styles within an ensemble. In ensemble playing, especially in a chamber music
setting, musicians have to sacrifice their own ideas and styles for a better presentation of the
product as a whole. In working with these ensembles as well as ensemble coaches, the other
members and I will learn to put our personal ideas aside in order to blend together as a whole.

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Example: One important aspect of ensemble playing is unification of articulations. There are
often many different interpretations concerning articulations due to ambiguous composer
markings that must be thought out and planned by the ensemble. Identical articulations in music
present a much clearer idea that is easily understood and perceived by the audience and is very
pleasing to the ear.
3. Connection to Goals and Academic Theories (include reference list, as appropriate)
A. Attending the NSO Summer Music Institute will further develop my skills as a French horn
player and musician, including ensemble playing, technique, musicality, tone, and networking
with professional orchestral musicians. My professional dream is to become a professional
orchestral horn player, so learning from professional orchestral horn players about orchestral
horn playing will definitely get me closer to my eventual professional goal.
B. “ Practicing Full Circle,” from Collected Thoughts on Teaching and Learning, Creativity, and
Horn Performance by Douglass Hill: I chose this resource to aid in improving my practice
habits. As a music student, practicing is one of the most important aspects of my education. It is
how I will improve and prepare for jobs as a musician. This reading articulates important aspects
of practicing and suggests how to get the most out of each practice session. This applies to my
experience at the institute because a large portion of each day will be spent practicing, and
making that time as useful as possible is of utmost importance.
“Part Two,” from A Study of Musical Intonation by Christopher Leuba: Although not titled, this
reading shows methods for instrumentalists to apply musical intonation to daily practice and
performance with others. My teacher and advisor, Professor Gardner, recommended this reading
because of it’s importance in the development of any musician. Without perfect intonation,
music is not pleasing to the ear. Thus, as musicians we strive to be as perfectly in tune as
possible every single day. This reading states how to make that a reality. I will apply it to my
time in the institute by listening and adjusting for perfect intonation with other musicians.

4. Initiative, Independence, and/or Creativity
In this institute, as with any musical endeavor, I bring my own personal musical ideas and skill set to the
table. If all music was played the same and there were no varying interpretations, it would be dull and
boring. Because I have my own interpretations to share with others as they have to share with me, we
will all leave better musicians with a wider breadth of knowledge and interpretation with regard to
making music. Personally, I believe what makes me unique as a musician are my musicality, my tone,
and my ability to selflessly listen and adjust within an ensemble.
I have demonstrated initiative regarding this project by applying to the institute and preparing my
audition music, as well as auditioning, to show that I have the abilities needed in order to be accepted.
Prior to the month I will spend at the institute, I will prepare my ensemble placement repertoire and my
solo repertoire I plan to work on with my private teachers and in masterclasses.
5. Reflection
Throughout the Institute, I will actively reflect on my days at the Kennedy Center using a blog that will
be linked to my Honors Learning Portfolio. Reflection questions may include: “What did I learn in my
lesson/coaching today?” “What did I accomplish in my personal practice? Did I achieve my practice
goals?” “What did I gain from the masterclass presented today?” “How did I contribute to the
orchestra rehearsal today?”
6. Dissemination

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My experience, reflections, and learnings will be presented online on my Honors Learning Portfolio. I
will share it with friends and family to keep them updated on my experiences, colleagues so that they
may know what to expect if they would like to pursue the same institute, and my professors and teachers
so that they can know how I grew as an individual and a musician.
7. Project Advisor
Randy Gardner, Professor of Horn; Chair, Winds and Percussion Department, University of Cincinnati
College-Conservatory of Music
gardnery@ucmail.uc.edu
513-556-9553
As Professor of Horn, Professor Gardner is my primary lesson teacher at CCM. He has helped many
countless students prepare for summer music festivals and will have a plethora of knowledge and insight
concerning my studies over the summer.
Budget (if applicable)
Every student attending the NSO Summer Music Institute receives a full scholarship including tuition,
housing, a food allowance, and transportation. Therefore, there is no budget for this experience.