Other Considerations

Research response to 1997 survey published in “Selected Pedagogical Practices of College Instructors of Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone”:

Most of the woodwind doublers learned the three instruments in the following order:
saxophone, flute, clarinet. Thus, the study found that most of the doublers began as
saxophonists. In addition, most of the woodwind doublers' performance activity is in the form of jazz/chamber music ensembles, solo recitals, or concert bands. The survey found that the study group is not involved in asmany orchestral performances.


Additional research, experiential observations and suggestions:

-keep in contact with other woodwind doublers in your area

-if possible, build a website with audio clips demonstrating your playing and/or create a demo CD of your playing to distribute with your business card

-introduce yourself to local band directors, church music ministers, as well as woodwind teachers at nearby universities

-typically, most woodwind specialists begin as either saxophonists or clarinetists and it is common to begin learning additional instruments during the last years of high school

-before learning another instrument, the aspiring woodwind specialist should first master the basic concepts on their first instrument (scales, articulation, embouchure/tone production)

-for best results, only one instrument should be added to your arsenal at a time (i.e. more than one instrument should not be started concurrently)

-versatility is essential: learn all musical styles (classical, swing, Latin, rock, and country); develop your sight-reading skills; learn to improvise and transpose at sight

-develop articulation appropriate for each of the styles listed above

-listen to many recordings and when possible, sit in on live rehearsal and performance situations so that you can hear up close aspects of each instrument such as: key noise; escaping air and exhalations; and extra noise such as in flute tone production that is not heard further out in the performance hall

-obtain as many scores as possible – continually build your library of scores and technical studies/materials

-obtain the best professional model instruments you can afford, and I recommend, especially for saxophone, to purchase the same make of instruments within an instrument’s family (the same brand of soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones)

-regularly have your instruments regulated

-find the best technician(s) in your area and have them work consistently year-to-year on your instruments

-check tenon corks regularly to ensure tight seals between the joints of the Clarinet

-the Saxophone mouthpiece should form a tight seal with the neck cork – any mouthpiece movement during performance indicates an improper fit and leakage and will adversely affect instrument response

-make sure the Flute’s head joint cork is sealing well and regularly check the position of the cork position by inserting the notched end of the cleaning rod into the head joint - if the notch appears in the center of the embouchure hole, the cork is properly positioned

-leaks due to worn/poor fitting corks on all woodwind instruments will adversely affect overall response and intonation

-be able to sound like a soloist, when called for, as well as a section player and maintain an easy going "non-prima donna" attitude when working with other musicians

-when learning a new double, approach the instrument as though it’s the only instrument you play

-tackle with patience and wise practice the idiosyncrasies of each instrument (e.g. crossing the break on Clarinet; the altissimo register on Saxophone; the third register fingerings on Flute)

-during undergraduate and graduate studies, buckle down and practice – once you enter the actual/professional world of doubling, there will be far less time to practice

-when preparing for an upcoming gig, it is often necessary to focus on only the instrument(s) involved as well as the particular musical style of the impending performance; out of necessity, other instruments may need to be put to the side during these times of preparation

-learning multiple instruments provides exposure to new methods of teaching, additional repertory, new approaches for performing each instrument, and overall broadened musicianship

-performance and teaching opportunities increase dramatically for musicians who pursue woodwind, brass, string of keyboard multi-instrumentalism