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A Guide for Aspiring Professional Saxophonists

…or just anyone!

Eric Daniel

Eric Daniel

Dedicated to those of you who will do more
than just read this book... .


The purpose of this book is to help you better understand how to prepare yourself to be-
come a professional Sax player. Hopefully, after reading this little book you'll have a clearer
idea of how to proceed day by day toward your goal.

First I'd like to share a bit of my personal background with you. I began my musical journey
back in 1961 as a beginning clarinet student living in a small town called Bridgewater,
Massachusetts, USA. I was fortunate because it was about an hours drive south of Boston, a
great cultural center and home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Boston Pops
Orchestra, Berklee College of Music, the World Champion Boston Red Sox, The Legendary
Boston Celtics, Joe Viola, and Joe Allard!

There were many occasions to play in youth orchestras, and big bands were very popular
(many high schools had jazz big band, concert band and marching band, as mine did). It
was much easier to find situations to learn to play saxophone in during that period.

The Boston theatre scene was flourishing and there were lot's of musical shows in town at
any given moment. Many Broadway shows use Boston as a place to tune shows up before
opening on Broadway. The musicians are hot and the best players play like the best players
in New York or Los Angeles. In fact many top players have spent a few years in Boston be-
fore moving to NYC or LA. Many have passed through the now world famous Berklee Col-
lege of Music, as I did. Others attended the less well known but excellent and extremely
selective New England Conservatory, which I attended briefly as a clarinet major in 1970.

The Count Basie Band was still touring, as were the bands of Buddy Rich, Maynard Fergu-
son, and Woody Herman. Many of the sax players in those bands were trained in Boston by
the best sax teachers in town: the legendary Joe Allard (New England Conservatory) and
Joseph “Joe” Viola (Berklee College of Music), not to mention seasoned pros like Andy
McGhee (Woody Herman and Art Blakey veteran, Berklee staff). The list goes on and on.

The point is that, when I was growing up as a musician around Boston there were lot's of
opportunities for young players to get experience not only playing but working. There was
lot's of competition (and lot's of great sax “brothers”, too) and you had to be hot just to
survive, and not only on sax, but on clarinet and flute as well! A few rare “monsters” also
played oboe (such as Joe Viola).


Unfortunately. international Pop tours. but it's more difficult to get “live” experience in some of these situations nowadays. Theatre orchestras are smaller Pop horn sections are smaller. TV bands. clubs. career-wise. You must adapt. Now this book does not promise that you will become a rich and famous Saxophone Idol. and in some geographic areas.… 4 . Big bands are almost completely extinct. the next year hornless garage bands are in style. Give you in- sights into what I consider to be the most vital aspects of how to prepare yourself for “Saxophone Survival” in today's musical environment. string sections have been all but eliminated by synthesizers (for economic and logistical reasons). This is my personal view of what you should include in your. Rock festivals. many music programs in public schools have been hit by budget cuts. Maybe I can be of some help… What I'd like to do with this little book is to share my experiences with you. You need to learn how to survive before you can truly thrive. (see the “Credits” section for details. Now you still have to be able to perform in as many types of situa- tions as possible.) Try these ideas for yourself…. Recording has become digital and more decentralized geographically and many projects are being realized in personal studios all over the world. I have been using these techniques for over 35 years of playing all kinds of music in theatres. you'll find it is a very useful guide. So what's happening? What's happening now is that you must either learn to adapt to the ever changing musical environment or risk extinction. and recording studios in the USA and Europe. One year everybody wants horns.Things have changed a lot since then. Its Saxophone Survival Kit time y'all! DJ's have taken over the dance clubs and discos. it's nearly impossible. but if you want a satisfying career as a Professional Saxophone Player. discos.they work. digital sampling of horn sections is on the increase. You still need to be well prepared but the type of music has changed and changes continually. Blues festivals. everything is changing fast.

Can We Talk? It's About Your Attitude 50 7. "Eric Aftab Daniel. and your eyes and ears open! 43 6. Goals 6 2. Section Playing 29 4. Finding Work 33 5. from Before to Now…The Scenic Route" 58 8.. Musical Preparation 12 3. Always keep your goal in mind..THE SAXOPHONE SURVIVAL KIT Contents The Saxophone Survival Kit 3 1. Sax: Eric Daniel Credits 61 5 .

more from surprise than anything else. There was the world outside as well. It began to be a top priority item. along with eating. Consider this well. sometimes get lost and learn many. Your family and friends helped you with encouraging words and smiles when you succeeded.. and other rooms full of new sights and sounds. a hallway.e. Question: "So. smile for the camera!”) Before long you began to get the hang of it..” Technique”). and of course. what's all this got to do with Saxophone Survival?" Answer: "Everything!" 6 . just like all those big people you saw moving around you. trying to communicate. play games.Put them to use. you know "The Big G". When you fell. With your new increased mobility "chops" (i. have fun. Consider well the words of advice and concepts you'll find within the pages of "The Saxophone Survival Kit".. it was possible for you to explore nature.and this time. Read them. arms. this new possibility of standing up on your own two feet. discovering areas new to you. sleeping. the kitchen. and legs and helped you to develop your coordination (your "technique" so to speak). could sit you down on your little baby butt very quickly indeed if you lost your balance! Your parents. you eventually arrived at a point where you could pull yourself up to an upright position and stay up for a few moments before falling back down. You crawled and toddled your way around your home. at the discovery that an invisible natural force. GOALS Desire Anything and everything you've ever accomplished in your life began as a desire. reflect on them. and of course. Through repeated efforts. get into trouble. day in and day out. places you'd never been able to get to on your own before. Finally you began to take your first toddler steps.. maybe you cried or laughed at first. coming from and going to places from beyond your immediate field of vision. an inborn natural desire to walk.. which strengthened your hands. Gravity. many more new things about the world around you. You worked on it all the time. You enjoyed the experience.. friends and relatives (your first Teachers) helped you understand it was no problem and encouraged you to try again (“…. the freedom. Let's get started! 1. Before you could walk you had the desire.

making a living in the music world are the same as learning to walk or talk or anything else you know how to do NOW that you didn't know how to do BEFORE.. There are different time frames to consider as well. Fine tune it from time to time as you begin to better understand your more intimate. DESIRE is what gets everyone moving. it's fundamental that you formulate YOUR PERSONAL GOAL. Always keep your goal in mind. There are long. “…if it's worth having. but a desire for WHAT? Very good question. you see. trust me. It will keep you on course to your tar- get. It all starts with DESIRE. make it easy on yourself and dedicate as much time as it takes to create a well-defined GOAL.Learning to play the saxophone and. Just the idea of having a goal and finally knowing WHAT you want to accomplish will be stimulating and energizing for you. The same principles apply. a destination. to be of use to you. it will be much more difficult for you to make this journey. this burning desire will help you to keep going and overcome the inevitable difficulties which will arise to test your determination to succeed. All the necessary hard work seems lighter and even fun because it is YOUR goal. This will eventually help you “cut through the crowd” of less oriented musicians. Desire. Okay. Write it down. Your long term career goals can be reached by setting up and working toward inter- 7 . It gives you a sense of direction. it's worth working for. To KNOW you're doing it because you really want to do it. bravo! But I'm afraid you'll have to fill in the answer for yourself. your personal OBJECTIVE that you are striving to achieve. Setting Goals The earlier in your musical life you begin to set goals for yourself. it's just that. the better your chances for Saxophone Survival will be.” This goal. medium and short term goals. at this point. It's difficult enough already so. but fortunately. deeper object of desire. Someone said. I think of it as a kind of gyroscope in a spaceship's guidance system. No. Strong DESIRE is a necessary ingredient for Saxophone Survival. without DESIRE it's highly unlikely that you'll be successful or even survive in Saxophone Land. I'm not abandoning you so soon on our little journey. I mean. DESIRE WITHOUT A GOAL IS MEANINGLESS.. it's never too late to create a worthwhile goal. if not impossible altogether. must have an object. Take time and give this a good think because without a well-defined goal. if you're up for it. I'm mean. This is of the utmost importance! You must concentrate on it and work toward it continually until it becomes your Center of Gravity. The next question which comes to your mind may be. It's a great feeling to know WHY you are doing something.

mediate and short term goals which will help to keep you on the right track.

As you achieve the short term goals, create new ones and move forward. Every time you
achieve one of your short term goals your self-confidence will increase and boost you for-
What would you like to be able to do a year from now? Two years from now? Six months
from now?
Maybe you'd like to be able to jam with the better players in your school, or in your town,
or compete successfully for a spot in the jazz band, or improve your reading skills, break into
the recording studio scene, improvise better, make an album or whatever. It's up to you to

You might be new in town and feel the need to make your presence felt, meet people, get
into the local Musician's Union and begin working as soon as possible. Maybe you want to do
more challenging or better paying kinds of work. There are many situations in which you will
find yourself on your quest for Saxophone Survival.

Your number one desire will become evident to you very soon if it isn't already evident to
you...look inside yourself. What do you really want?

What turns you on musically? What gets you excited and makes you feel like playing?
Harness that energy and put it to work to achieve your goal.

There's always some kind of music or work that will attract you more than the others. This is
your musical "Center of Gravity", so to speak.

Expose yourself to the best available examples of various musical styles.

Be methodical, do your homework, get recorded examples of everything you can.
Check out the most representative players in each genre. (I've provided a partial listing in
the “Styles” section of this book.)

Concentrate on what you enjoy the most but be sure to familiarize yourself with as many
aspects of playing as possible.

Versatility is very important, vital actually, for Saxophone Survival.
Keep your goal in mind.

“Single-mindedness ensures success…” (Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan)

Some Sample Goals

Here are some examples of goals that are helpful as stepping stones to Saxophone Survival, to
becoming a truly Professional Musician. These apply to all levels, from the Beginner level and
on up into the Pro Level. For now it's a general list, I'll touch on these topics in more detail
in the "Preparation" section of this book.

One or more of your goals could be to:


• Find the best available teacher in your area, hopefully an experienced Pro.
(This will help tremendously.);
• Improve your Saxophone Technique;
• Sharpen your sightreading skills;
• Learn to improvise in various styles;
• Transcribe your favorite players' solos;
• Participate in Ensemble Situations (school & community orchestras or bands, small groups,
• Audition for Regional and All-State competitions (in the USA) and the like;
• Audition for one of the Armed Service Bands (a good “earn while you learn” idea);
• Learn to play the Sax-related "Doubles" (other saxes, flutes, clarinets, oboe, ethnic, etc);
• Improve your transposition skills;
• Acquire basic keyboard skills;
• Learn Pop and/or Jazz Standards and improvise over the chord changes;
• Acquire some Basic Arranging skills;
• Organize a small group for jamming and or gigging;
• Develop, Maintain, and Expand a network of contacts to create more work possibilities;
• Learn how to do Studio Recording Work;
• Learn how to do Pit Orchestra Work;
• Learn how to do home recording;
• Learn how to use music copying programs ("Finale", "Sibelius", etc);
• Write and record your own original music;
• Develop an original, identifiable style;
• Create a Web site to promote yourself and help other musicians;
• Organize your teaching activities;
• Specialize in what you like to do best;
• Become a recognized authority in your specialty by writing articles, reviews and books;
• Improve your lifestyle;
• Feed your Spiritual Life (The best source of strength and inspiration);
• Contribute some of your time to helping others;
• Dedicate more quality time to your family.

Remember to take time to seriously focus in on your Personal Goal.
Fill in the distance from where you are now and your long term goals with intermediate
and short term goals which will act as stepping stones to the eventual achievement of the
main object of your desire.

Be as honest and objective with yourself as you can about your actual level. Take a good
look at your strong and weak points. (This is where a good Pro teacher can really help.)

Your Goal will be your guide now as you move into the next phase...ACTION!

So….what's your plan?

Your Action Plan

Once you've identified your primary goal, you'll need a good plan to help you get there.
The first thing I do when I'm starting out a new project is buy a simple notebook of lined


paper and a new pencil with an eraser. Everything having to do with this project, or goal,
will be entered somewhere in the notebook.

Put your imagination to work!

In a very free-flowing way, write down everything that comes into your mind as a possible
thing to do, any step however big or small, that could bring you closer to your goal.
Write EVERYTHING that comes to mind. The sky's the limit! Do it. Don't stop to analyze at
this point, just keep that pencil moving until you have no more ideas. Squeeze them all out
onto the page! Leave some extra space because more ideas will come when you eventually
return to read over your list.


At this point, you should have quite a few ideas jotted down. Read them over to yourself.
This time try to judge them by order of their importance.

Make a new list of your ideas in what seems to you to be their order of importance as steps to
take toward your goal.

These points you can consider to be the key features in your action plan. What other steps
would be helpful towards the execution of these key features? Write them down.

Now re-organize everything into a neatly structured outline form.
You now have a good layout of your action plan!

Monitor your progress!

At this point, the only thing left to do is to start carrying out your plan!

Set up a way to monitor your progress.
Target dates, income figures, metronome markings, or any other suitable reference points
are helpful in measuring your progress to your goal, whatever it may be.

An obvious example here can be found in the use of a metronome while practicing. The
gradual increase of metronome speeds while working on staccato passages, personal jazz
phrases you're developing, or any number of other practice or performance materials is
clearly seen day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year,

Your goal might be to put a group together to play your own compositions and eventually
Here the plan will be more complex. Your writing time must be planned into your day.
At a certain point you must contact the musicians you'd like to play with, organize rehearsals
and, if you want to keep your group together, find gigs.
You must decide where to record and arrange for studio time as well. It's a lot of work but, if
each phase is planned out well, it can be carried out in a smooth, orderly way.


you'll get run over if you just sit there. Don't forget…. Patience and constant day in. Patience is really the proof of the confidence or faith you have in yourself to accomplish what you have set before you as a goal. day out effort is your best strategy for eventually arriving safe and sound at your desired destination.Set reasonable deadlines for the completion of the various phases of your project. if you want your plan to work…. Just your plan! “Even if you're on the right track. You will succeed by always trying to move forward along the guidelines set down by you in your action plan. Patience Pays! Working steadily and patiently will pay off in the end. So work calmly and well. or “Saxophone Survival”. It may be too ambitious. on the short term (weekly or monthly) side. Think of your project. Not challenging enough? Move the metronome up a notch! You've got the idea. you may need to “tune it up” from time to time.” ( Will Rogers) 11 . As you begin to act on your plan. lighten it up a taste. if so. the goal for which you have created your plan.

some teachers are more classically oriented and perhaps less familiar with improvisation. the fundamentals of saxophone playing are the same and must be gotten under control before any specialization can begin. Some teachers specialize in jazz improvisation exclu- sively. 12 . Try calling that one first. you should direct your search toward that area. Imagine all the time and frustration “unlearning” bad playing habits can take. Ask all the music stores for names of sax teachers. Don't stop at the first name that comes up. MUSICAL PREPARATION Find the best teacher for you Having a great teacher from the very beginning of your experience with the saxophone is the best way to get started. Time that you could be spending getting down to business and learning how to play the saxophone in tune. Take notes about any particular information that you are able to gather about the various “teacher-nominees” For instance. Some don't enjoy teaching very much…leave them out. If you already have an idea of what kind of music you would like to eventually be able to play. Another way of finding great teachers is by contacting your favorite players and asking for a lesson. This is advice especially good for more advanced players who are already playing but want to go into a more specific direction. Others are working freelance musicians who tend to be more well-rounded in their approach. Most music stores that sell quality saxophones usually have teachers they recommend. keep searching until you start getting multiple recommendations.from the beginning! How do you find a great teacher? That's a very good question. Whatever direction you choose. or even years of frustration and wasted time. you can apply your imagination and technique in whatever direction you find interesting or fulfilling. One name will usually begin to stand out from the others. Once the basics of playing the saxophone have been absorbed. An experienced teacher can save you months. cleanly and with a great sound….2.

prepare your lessons well. Intro “The Saxophone Survival Kit” is not a method book and certainly no substitute for an experienced teacher. You must demonstrate this by preparing your lesson assignments to the best of your ability. or her. Practice daily. If you study with a busy. he may eventually recommend you to someone for a gig. time by not preparing well for lessons. or one of his best students. or your teacher's. You may eventually become colleagues (as happened in my case). (This is how I got started). 13 . Make notes. plan your time. In this chapter we'll discuss the essentials every saxophone player should keep in his or her “Saxophone Survival Kit”. You may be able to attend a clinic or Master class to check out name players in their “teacher” mode.Often really busy musicians don't have time to teach on a regular basis but it's sometimes possible to get them to give you a single lesson. Ask questions. that you're serious. and have the advantage of being musical “work centers”. it will be easier for you to receive what your teacher has to offer. These are the tools you'll use to move forward along the lines you set up with your intermediate and short term goals. Don't waste your. working pro you will later find yourself in the position of having a friend in the business that may be able to help you get those all-important first “real” gigs. Do whatever you have to do to get with a great teacher! When you finally are with that teacher…trust him. Please remember to set short and mid term goals. in this section. but. try to assume their point of view. take bi-weekly lessons instead of a weekly lesson if possible. If you understand how to be a receptive student and trust your teacher. They may be able to steer you onto a lesser known but really great teacher. and be patient as you work steadily and methodically on the areas listed here. Big cities offer more choice of teachers. let's get it started…. In my opinion. Be alert and follow his or her instructions. In the preceding chapter I underlined the extreme importance of taking the time to really focus in on your Personal Goal. and be professional. and reliable. If cost is a problem. A lot depends on where you live. If you become his best student. the sacrifice of traveling a little farther so you can study with a great teacher is well worth the time and expense. Put yourself in his or her hands. capable. Okay. who knows? It's up to you to show him. I'll try to give you an idea of what you need to work on and some suggestions of how to proceed if you happen to be without a qualified teacher at the moment. Let him or her be your guide. Remember your goal.

vibrato. correct playing position. a lot of beginners and self-taught players slip into incorrect playing habits (unnatural playing positions. Much easier to begin learning than something like violin for example. which I highly recommend to players and teachers alike. color (or timbric) shadings. Most people can pick it up and get a sound to come out immediately. and a good bibliography. You will save yourself a lot of grief and wasted time. or worse. Let's go! Saxophone Technique Saxophone is a fairly easy instrument to get started on.Consider them the basic fundamentals for "Saxophone Survival". only to have to "unlearn" bad playing habits later on. various types of articulations and inflections. A very good general reference book. Your future progress depends upon your laying down a solid foundation to build on. embouchure and breathing problems. Discuss them with your teacher. and covers all the basics of tone production. or modulate your sound. ar- ticulation. embouchure problems. among others). If you consider the possible dynamic changes. a wide range of "special effects". 14 . Be careful about lending it out to your friends or students as it has a way of "disappearing"! Pick one up. work them into your personal study program. Because of this initial "easiness". so don't skip over any of these items. It's very clearly written. playing in the altissimo register (har- monics). and all the possible combinations of these. this is not an overnight thing. intonation. to the extent that you have developed and learned to color. So I repeat. right? Let's have a closer look. That's the good news. Be constant. with an inadequate teacher. you can see that the sonoric possibilities for expression at your disposal are virtually infinite! Just with your Sound! This is an area of prime importance and will be something you will work on continuously for your entire playing career. strange uncontrollable vibratos. Keep your personal goal in mind at all times. some good alternate fingering positions. continue searching for one as you work on your own. If you don't have a teacher right now. (ouch!). illustrated. It's much easier to get off to a good start playing the "right way" than it is to go it alone. Sound There is no substitute for a great sound! You will be able to express yourself musically and communicate with your audience. is Larry Teal's "The Art of Saxophone Playing". diaphragm breathing. do yourself a BIG favor and find a good top notch teacher.

listen..... (‘70’s today) Clarence Clemmons…. so to speak..... ......Lead Alto with the Count Basie Orchestra Earl Bostic….Very influential Jazz player form the ‘30’s (known as “Pres”) Stan Getz…... .. In the meantime...not only to the notes. .today) John Coltrane….... .... ... each with an immediately recognizable and stylistically important sound. ..Great all-around session player and soloist…great sound! Kenny Garrett…. .Very influential session man and soloist (often imitated) Eric Marienthal…...... .Bebop innovator Maceo Parker….. I feel you should be familiar with these influential players as they each have made. .... We'll be taking a closer look at this in the “Improvisation” and “Communication Through Music” chapters.Rock tenor concept (w/ Bruce Springsteen) Mike Brecker….. there are other important areas you must address yourself to as well (like reading and improvisation skills).. or are making a big contribution to the conception and perception of the saxophone sound heard in top level playing situations. Listen to the feeling behind the sound and phra- ses........Check his work with Steely Dan......’60’s Tom Scott…. ......Gaining control of your sound will enable you to work in a wider variety of situations as well.. .. . ..Legendary jazz tenor (‘50’s.. It can make all the difference in your career possibilities and in your enjoyment of playing in general.. Listen... .. .. listen....2007) 15 .Extremely gifted and influential jazz tenor player (‘70’s ...Leader of The Cannonball Adderley Quintet Charlie (“Bird”) Parker….Famous for solo on “Girl from Ipanema” and much more (‘60’) Sonny Rollins…. keep sound in the forefront of your mind at all times..... but I believe it is the single most important element of all.. when it comes from your heart...... thus improving your chances for "Saxophone Survival”! The entire range of human emotion can be transmitted or evoked by the sound of a saxophone and it is your sound which.Soloist of the original version of “Harlem Nocturne” Paul Desmond….. . ...Jazz tenor giant…big influence…post-bop King Curtis…..Funky Alto soloist with James Brown (great groove and attack) David Sanborn…. and His group “LA Express”....... Make a point of checking out all the players who have made a contribution to the evolution of the tonal approaches to saxophone playing. Do some research into the history of the saxophone and saxophone playing........... Alto Sax Johnny Hodges…. ... Here's a short list of players. Try to get on the same wavelength...... There is no better way to start your practice routine than with tone studies designed to help get you in control of your sound.. ... will eventually touch the hearts of your fellow musicians and the listening public.. It's the best place to begin the musical day! Control of your sound is not the only element to consider in your musical preparation.Lead Alto with the legendary Duke Ellington Orchestra Marshall Royal…...Very influential modern jazz player (Miles Davis alumni) Tenor Sax Lester Young….Alto Sax with Dave Brubeck (“Take Five” soloist) Julian “Cannonball” Adderley…... ..R ‘n B / Soul innovator…... . .

. of course.. adjusted your sa- 16 ... or whatever attracts you. parties and receptions of all kinds ...Founder of super funk band... .. and closing up your throat in the process? Pay attention to your body.) As you progress you will undoubtedly develop a preference for a certain type of sound as you listen to the various saxophone players around.. Now that you've taken a few deep breaths.. musical shows. loosened up your shoulders.. but try not to become a "clone" of them.Bari Sax with Duke Ellington Orchestra Gerry Mulligan…. jazzy.. Advanced Player. Remember also that different musical situations often call for different stylistic approaches. this will happen more or less naturally as you become a more mature player.. TV. .. especially if you're interested in film and TV session work or Broadway-style show work.. brighter or darker. . . stop and notice your physical self for a moment.. (Bear with me.Have fun listening to and learning from these saxophone greats! Sound: “From the Top” If you are a beginner.. the list could go on and on but a good familiarity with these extremely distinctive players will take you a long way toward having an idea of the most characteristic saxophone sounds used in big band playing.... You will need these skills in the future... Tower of Power Of course. . jazz player Stephen "The Doctor" Kupka…. film soundtracks.innovative jazz bari player…’60’s..Soprano Sax Sidney Bichet…. How's your posture? Is there tension in your shoulders? Tightness in your chest and throat? Does your horn come up to your mouth naturally or are you bending your head down to meet the mouthpiece.. or even a Good Sound. jazz and pop recording situations. Obviously. (Along with the basic fingering positions for all the notes from the bottom to the top of your sax.. Check your body position out.. fortunately.beautiful soprano solo work w/ Sting on “Englishman in New “York”) Bari Sax Harry Carney…. before you can have a Great Sound... Right? So let's talk briefly about getting that First Sound. classical. or one of your students...Top session player…’70’s check “Sanford and Son” TV Theme) John Coltrane…... you will be occupied with trying to produce a good basic saxophone sound at first.... Check your- self in the mirror.”Simpsons” bari sax .) Before you blow…... pop. .... Be yourself..Soprano sax pioneer …’20’s and ‘30’s Jerome Richardson….. this might be helpful for you too.... not to mention club dates and “functions” type gigs such as conventions. Of course it's important to have a personal sound and..Check famous “My Favorite Thngs” solo…’60’s Branford Marsalis…. . It's natural to emulate your favorite players. ‘70’s Ronnie Cuber…. Mr. you need to have a Basic Sound....

17 . This is your “pivot point” or. you will eventually “get the feel” of this optimum mouthpiece “sweet spot” and return to it “automatically ” each time you prepare to blow into your saxophone. you're probably taking too much mouthpiece. now you've found your raw sound. (Examine the profile of the mouthpiece against a light source to see the point I'm referring to. Let your jaw relax. …same energy and body awareness but take some of the rough edges off the sound. release the octave key and let the note shift back down to the original octave without changing your lip or jaw position. Now BLOW! That's good. as the now legendary sax master Joe Viola described it to me many years ago.. Keep blowing. How? Imagine yourself blowing into the center of the sound. i. “the sweet spot”. If. One test to see if the “spot” is good is to play a 2nd line “G” and pop the octave key without changing your lip position. Your lower lip should roll slightly over your bottom teeth and touch the reed at the same point.) Let the weight of your head rest easily upon the mouthpiece as well. Memorize the physical feeling you get when you are “dead on” the sweet spot.xophone strap to get the mouthpiece moved up to a natural position. now this time blow AS HARD AS YOU CAN! Don't try to sound pretty. it's muffled or “stuffy ” and “dark” sounding. let's go for your second-line written “G”. Keep doing this process until you find the spot that sounds best to you. you're beyond the “sweet spot” Back off your position slightly and try again. Take a five minute break and come back to your “sweet spot”. Blow again.e. After repeated attempts. (Warn your family members before you do the “loud honking” routine. and loosened up your belt to allow room for some good “diaphragm breathing”. as it can be rather frightening to the unprepared! ☺). The sides of your mouth should close in around the sides of the mouthpiece as if they were elastic bands. you are at “the sweet spot”. independent from the upward support your lower lip is applying to the surface of the reed at the “sweet spot”. very bright and nasal sounding. When the octave shif- ting becomes “smooth” (no perceptible change in lip/jaw position). just give it a LOUD HONK! Okay. If it's really honky. on the other hand. Your top teeth should rest on the mouthpiece at the point where the reed and the mouthpiece meet. try taking a bit more mouthpiece and try again. Hang on a second! I forgot to tell you how to find the ideal amount of mouthpiece to put in your mouth! This is very important..

When you play through the chromatic scale on a pianoforte. The possibilities for expressing yourself are limitless once you begin to get control of your sound. Too! The market is literally flooded with saxophone method books. It's really a shame though because scale studies should be right up on top of the “All-Time Cool Things to Practice Charts. play ballads or slow etudes.. using the sound you've achieved on the G as your point of reference.” Here are a few reasons why: 18 . striving for uniformity of sound. Chromatic Exercise for Tone Development: Get Your “Voice” Together Your sound is your "voice". but the best is to just… BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR SOUND AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES! YOU alone are responsible for what comes out of your horn. and interval studies.. Strive for this evenness of sound as you practice your scale exercises. especially young beginning players. the tonal quality of the adjacent notes is very similar and it is difficult to perceive any change in timbre from one note to the next. you'll need to move on to the other notes on the saxophone.Once you've established your “sweet spot" on a second line G. Most of them include a fingering chart and pages of slow note drills usually followed by pages and pages of written out scale exercises. There are loads of ways to work on your sound.SOUND. This is most easily achieved by doing slow chromatic exercises at first as they allow you to really focus in on your…. they almost always lack imagination in their presentation thereby bringing everyone down. Scales Need Love. Unfortunately. This is best accomplished by moving away from this G chromatically. Thinking of a piano keyboard will help you understand what I mean. Your main concern should be to go for a sound which is as homogeneous as possible as you move through the chromatic scale. You know what I mean? I'm talking about the “medicine” effect.

and mixed). Proceed through all the keys until you can play them all perfectly by memory. These studies set the groundwork for successful improvising Begin with the major scales. Good sight readers are in demand because they require less rehearsal time. try doing fingering drills of scale passages without actually blowing when your lips become tired or you have a problem playing at certain hours where you live. • Your recognition of scales and arpeggiated passages will improve the speed and accuracy of your sight-reading. studio time being ex- 19 . Often you will only have a first read-through. Reading Skills The ability to read music well is a necessity for most types of ensemble playing. thus saving time and money for the client in work situations like theater shows or TV situations where rehearsal time is very limited if you consider the amount of music which must be prepared. of course. Take this same approach when working on the harmonic minor scales as well. travelling. Recording studio situations require very quick reading also because. You should become very intimately acquainted with all the major and minor scales as soon as possible. then fourths. legato. • They are fantastic ear and technique builders when studied intelligently. begin playing them in intervals. At this point. etc) and then you will play it “once down from the top” and that's it. fifths and so on. • Thorough knowledge of scales is a requirement for good improvising.• They are the basis of tonality in music. Always try to use your time intelligently. An important step in scale studies is to become familiar with the chord structures that are built up from each scale degree. pause for possible comments by the director (he or she may need to make some last-minute change in the parts or a suggestion about interpretation. ask your teacher for help in choosing the right books for your particular situation. A good book to have which explains scales and modes (chord scales) in great detail is Jerry Coker's “Improvising Jazz”. the next time you play those arrangements will be at “showtime”. Study mentally when you are stuck in waiting rooms. Begin with diatonic thirds. Try out various articulation patterns (staccato. and interests. To improve more rapidly. etc. * See the “Resources” section of this book for a list of good method books and. You must make it your business to become a proficient reader and eventually become an excellent sight reader. level. Another good reference is Jamey Aebersold's highly successful series of play-along CD's which include a good syllabus of modes and chord scales to use when improvising.

Try actually marking a few bars of any music. place a vertical “imaginary bar line right through beat “three”. or 3rd endings. 2nd. it's possible to develop and improve your reading ability through methodical practice. play easy. Fortunately. tempo and key changes. in 4/4 time. dividing the bar exactly in half. This will allow you to determine the exact placement of all the notes in a phrase. Okay. as you do when reading words aloud. (Just for laughs. dynamic and articulation markings. try to feel the groove in a “Two feel” (as if you were playing in “Cut time” (Instead of feeling it as a fast four). picture an “imaginary bar line” placed right on beat “three” of each bar. Remember your goal and your action plan. If you do this you will eliminate many problems before they have a chance to become problems. What do I mean by the expression “seeing” fast tempos this way? By “seeing” I mean that as you are “reading ahead”. 20 .. This way you will have “target points on “one” and “three” which your mind can lock onto when calculating (much quicker than Pentium 4) where to place the notes in time. It's definitely a big advantage for you if you can enter a situation and perform well with little or no rehearsal. Go ahead. try patting your foot in a fast 4/4 tempo. • Try to “read ahead” of the notes you're actually playing. eventual time signature. the client is usually interested in getting as much material as possible recorded in the allotted time. (This may seem too obvious to mention but it's surprising how many mistakes you can avoid this way. • Break down unusual rhythmic passages by “sub-dividing” the rhythms into smaller time values (eighth or sixteenth notes for example).tremely expensive. that you have handy in light pencil. D. That's right. now count off the same tempo but this time tap your foot only on “one” and “three”. As you get more experience sightreading at quick tempos. without having to actually mark them in pencil. and unusual technical passages.. In other words.S sign and Coda markings. Notice how your eyes lock onto where “one” and “three” are. • When playing in fast 4/4 tempos (“tempi”). It's important to keep your place all the way to the end. Your eyes must always be ahead of your fingers. try it. See how much more relaxing it is this way? You will play more relaxed at fast tempos if you get used to feeling and “seeing” fast tempos this way. any repeat signs with their respective 1st.) Check the following items: Time and Key signatures. Some quick tips for improving your reading (and especially sightreading) skills: • Look over the part(s) before you begin to play. you will begin to appreciate this way of visualizing the bars. you will concentrate on where “one” and “three” are felt. Practice hard.

Never use ink on parts. (a”simulated rehearsal situation”). • Keep your ears open. make it a point to not stop or slow down because of mistakes or unusual technical passages the first time through. Concentrate. Take advantage of eventual breaks or “dead” moments during rehearsals. Other people (like eventual “subs”) may read the parts you mark. which is the most common transposition you will ever see. After you've done this. Listen to the lead alto or lead trumpet and make a note to yourself about where they are cutting off notes. Make notes or reminders for yourself lightly in pencil. Don't distract your colleagues or the musical director. • Don't let little mistakes become bigger mistakes by getting flustered. The idea is to try to “surprise yourself ” by reading material unfamiliar to you. This is the road toward good sight reading. Test yourself by reading music you've never actually worked on before. have a look at any problem passages. or silently. etc. fingering silently. as suggested above in the paragraph about “subdivision”. By preparing various types of etudes week after week. • Mark your parts lightly with a medium soft pencil that's easy to erase. Continue playing until the end no matter what happens. and then move on to another piece. Then try transposing from Eb or Bb parts. wrong notes and all. The real work of building up your reading skills is done “at home alone”. (There may be new changes later). (For sightreading practice. so spend some time working on this as well. Your rhythmic interpretation will be much more in tempo and precise this way. Get used to transposing into different keys at sight as well. When working on your sight-reading this way. any articulation variations they are playing. If you let a wrong note break your concentration. Remain calm and keep your place all the way to the end of the arrangement. (hopefully both). It's going to come in handy sooner or later. Start with transposing from “concert C” parts. Read it again once. As always. “seeing is believing” so check it out for yourself. Develop an action plan for improving your reading. go over the problem passages to yourself.Try it out for yourself: • Extremely slow tempos may be easier to play at sight if you “feel” the time passing in “eighth” or possibly “sixteenth” note increments. so please be clear and neat when making pencil markings on parts. be they classical or jazz. you will eventually get used to seeing and recognizing standard rhythmic and melodic configurations in different styles at sight. that one mistake can lead to other mistakes.) This is something that takes time and dedication to accomplish but. The second time around should go much better. if you work methodically 21 . eventually go back to the problem areas for a closer look. As soon as you get a chance. Use your metronome. this is another area in which an experienced teacher can help you tremendously. depending on what sax you play. Of course. as usual. but quietly.

a musical about the life of composer Eubie Blake. It was set in the 20's. slow downward “falls”. Style and Interpretation Style and interpretation can be studied by listening to and analyzing performances by Sax players or ensembles of different styles or time periods. It was really a lot of fun in the end. timbre (darkness or brightness of the sound). I darkened up my sound. Knowledge of styles…. and any types of effects (bending up to notes. How you perform when that moment arises can either augment or diminish your chances for Saxophone Survival in a given performance situation. This is another item that will contribute greatly to enhancing your chances for Saxophone Survival. again. 30's and 40's. (As in the little story above. velocity and wideness of vibrato.a very interesting area. Knowledge of styles is particularly important in Studio. In the theater scene in Boston.) Preparation is the keyword here. short upward or downward “rips”. If a musical or a film is set in another time period. The music was recorded in Rome with an all star group of soloists. I REALLY had a chance to check this out again in the late 80's when I played 2nd alto on the sessions for the film “Bix”.) 22 . there was an improvised soprano solo right on the Overture! I tried to get into it “in character” with some Sidney Bichet-like phrases and got through it okay! That “broke the ice” for me mentally and the rest of the show went well.on this area. you will be surprised at how many good playing opportunities will open up for you! It's fun. (At home alone. glissandos. I began to work regularly in the theaters around town. got onto his vibrato concept and stayed on him like glue with my phrasing and articulation! I was already familiar with the rhythmic concept of the 30's so we really had fun trying to recreate the sound of those original arrangements. long. Improvisation All Sax players are eventually called upon to play an improvised solo. too. with a couple more solos here and there. embellishments like trills. TV. presence. I'll never forget it. you will be expected to play in that style. shakes. After those gigs.. Make it your business to check out representative players from various time periods. in the late 70's I actually began subbing regularly and eventually getting “first calls” of my own thanks to some successful “sub” dates I did at the Wilbur Theater on a show called “Eubie”. or Theatre work. etc) that seem to characterize a given style. Note items like the rhythmic interpretation of phrases. Bob Wilbur was the Musical Director and “Authenticity Controller” on those sessions and did not want to even hear any “out of character” warming up in the studio! Bob played a vintage soprano with just the right sound for the gig. Italian film director Pupi Avati's film about the life of Bix Beiderbeck. or “growling”.

gradually assimilating the things you're hearing. widely used harmonic progressions and chord scales for use when playing through these progressions. Work on standard harmonic progressions found in jazz standards and pop songs. to mention only three. This definitely includes the chromatic scale. When you have achieved a degree of fluidity when playing the major and minor scales you should begin to study the basic. Cannonball Adderley. David Sanborn. The key is to do a great deal of listening and analysis. At this point. Junior Walker. etc) for Blues phrasing. The Blues is a good place to start learning how to improvise. Everyone does this differently based on their personal tastes and personality. There are various types of Blues. (Your reading will improve also if you take the time to also write the solos out precisely. are great to listen to for good Blues phrasing. Rhythmic concept and the various scales and modes to use. especially modern players like Michael Brecker. Eventually you can move on to more harmonically rich progressions such as used in Jazz-blues or Bebop blues.I'll limit my comments about this to four words of practical advice: “Begin at the beginning!” To begin learning to improvise you must have a very good knowledge of the fundamentals. Begin with tunes you can use immediately on specific gigs or for jamming when the opportunity arises. in particular Volume #2 entitled “Nothin' But the Blues”. begin with the Blues. Move ahead step by step. Guitar players like Buddy Guy. It's a play-along CD with a great rhythm section (they always show up and they never get tired!) and music booklet which includes excellent information about chords and available scales for improvising on blues progressions. and then incorporate them into your personal way of playing. Transcribing solos (learning solos note for note) from recordings is another really great way to learn more about improvising and develops your ear tremendously. and John Coltrane. Listen to Charlie Parker. to mention a only few. for Saxophone Survival you must be able to improvise in the 23 .) As I mentioned above. Eric Marienthal. Listen to R&B Sax players (King Curtis. to hear jazz harmony and phrasing on the Blues. Notice how the players you listen to incorporate chromatic devices in their solos. Create chromatic interval studies for yourself. I highly recommend the “Improvising Jazz” CD/Booklet series by Jamey Aebersold. BB King or Eric Clapton. Personal preferences aside. Kenny Garrett or Dave Liebman. Maceo Parker. Start out with simple blues progressions such as used in Rural blues or Blues-rock.

as opposed to when I began playing professionally back in the late 60's. television. He will know how and when to get you started based on your progress in the area of scales studies and general technique issues. Doubling Intro Playing more than one type of saxophone and other related instruments will give you a big advantage on the journey toward Saxophone Survival. were made possible by my ability to perform well in a variety of styles on the various saxes. Jot them down in your notebook for further development. i. there's much more time and effort involved in preparing yourself to perform on multiple instruments but it's definitely to your advantage as it set's you apart from the crowd of non-doubling saxophone players. expressive. As you become more familiar with the harmonic progressions you will be able to play more fluid lines through the chord changes and begin to do something resembling “expressing yourself ” The more you work on this area. which is very useful. flutes. It will happen that you will “discover” phrases that you like by accident. Remember. you'll soon discover that these versatile players are still the most in-demand for studio. and then return to the phrase you were working on. Observe how the notes of the melody relate to the chord progression. 24 . However. and double reed instruments like oboe and bassoon are becoming more of a rare breed. the solo will sound at least “credible” which is a good place to start. flutes or clarinets. The solo should be at least “credible” however. the more fluid. In fact. an experienced pro teacher can guide you through this area.e. Come back to your notebook later to work on your newfound licks. unintentionally. Become a more valuable player! The major part of the most rewarding musical experiences that I've had personally. By “credible” I mean that the solo should be in style. musical and satisfying your improvisations will become. They're happy mistakes sometimes and may lead to a more original or personal phrase to develop. You don't have to try to make musical history every time you have a solo to play. rhythmically and harmonically coherent. if you check around for yourself. thereby keeping the sound of the group fresh and interesting. so far. Broadway musical orchestras and even small combo situations. sax players who double well on clarinet. quality live concerts. If you do appropriate to the arrangement you're playing. Nowadays. Naturally. a sax player with a variety of doubles at his or her disposal is in a position to greatly enhance the sound of any group by tastefully switching instruments during the set. the melody is your friend. Try to let the sound of the harmony come out by using “guide tones” (the harmonically characteristic notes of the chords) as strong notes in your solo. Have fun! It's helpful to keep a music notebook nearby when you practice playing short phrases or “patterns” in all the keys. Once again.

is equipped with a “register” key which. Eb Alto. when pressed.Before we get deeper into this important survival area. Piccolo Flute and Bb Clarinet and Bass Clarinet. One big difference between playing saxophone and playing clarinet lies in the fact that on the Saxophone there is an “octave” key which. You should learn the “legitimate” i. Flutes: Piccolo Flute in C. Tenor. For now. Very simple. a “D” one octave above will sound. Alto Flute. Soprano Flute in C. when pressed. Eb Alto. Bb Soprano. Bass Flute in C Double reeds: Oboe. especially for those all-important. Saxes: Eb Sopranino. For example if you play a written “D” (one space below the staff. in treble clef) and apply the “octave key ” to it. I strongly recommend getting together with an expert clarinet teacher. My personal list: Soprano. if you are playing the same written “D” and subsequently apply the “register key ” to that fingering position.) The trick is to grasp the important differences that exist between one instrument and another and concentrate on these areas until they begin to feel as natural to you as your primary sax does. shifts the pitch of the note you're playing up one twelfth (one octave. you can move ahead with patience and confidence because you have already learned a lot about music from studying your primary instrument. Bassoon Other: Recorders. Baritone (saxes). Fortunately. Bb Bass Clarinet. Bb Tenor. at least in the all-important initial phase. an “A” (one line above the staff. Eb Baritone. It takes work but is definitely achievable with the guidance of an expert teacher to keep you away from problems that can prove overwhelming if you try to “do it yourself ”. shifts the pitch of the note you are playing up one octave. let's have a quick look at a list of the commonly used “doubles”. The clarinet. assorted Ethnic instruments. All you need to do now is apply your knowledge and musical experience to the technical and stylistic aspects of the other sax-related instruments (which already have many things in common with your main instrument. There's so much to learn! One step at a time. however. 25 . plus a perfect fifth). in treble clef) will sound. Alto Flute in G. C Flute. formative first lessons. and newly evolved wind-driven synthesi- zers. “classical” clarinet concept from a top teacher. Here we go….e. stick with me and I'll try to give you an idea of how to proceed. English Horn. Alto. On the clarinet. Clarinet As always. on the other hand. Clarinets: Bb Soprano.

It's a good idea to use an inexpensive small mirror for checking your embouchure but if possible a floor length dressing mirror is even better as it will allow you to check out your total body position while practicing. as always. birdlike passages in the upper register. at the same time. Slow interval studies will help reinforce your brain-finger connection while. organize your practice time. There- fore. Lots of finger work is required so. pay close attention to details such as lip position (embouchure). All the same principles apply. If you don't cover the open holes completely the note will probably come out as a squeak. Take your time. but only after you have a reasonable command of the “classical” clarinet concept. The first thing to do. jazz. ever!” (Did I say that?) Seriously speaking. Played in the low register it can create a sense of mystery or sensuality. scale and arpeggio study should be at the top of your practice sessions. By “credible” I mean you should be in tune. you must sound like a “real” clarinet player! Be patient. arm and hand position. it is also often used for quick. helping you to refine your sound. especially when they discover that their favorite licks will all have to be adjusted for the new clarinet fingerings they must now use! The only solution is to take that clarinet out and practice playing it just as seriously as you study saxophone playing until you begin to feel natural with it. The sound of a flute can create a marvelous range of atmospheres. Of course. Other musical styles of clarinet playing such as swing. clarinet playing requires very precise finger placement. Dixieland should be studied as well. etc. Monitor your progress. Then make sure to get the chromatic scale well under control. flute is my favorite double. or are currently doing with the sax. or not come out at all. articulation. On the clarinet instead we find a mechanism which combines pad-covered holes and open holes which must be hermetically sealed with the cushiony “ball” of your fingertips. and be able to interpret the music in the appropriate style. Always search for and listen to the best classical Clarinet players you can find. this is especially true of alto flute.Another important difference between these two instruments is that the saxophone mecha- nism is based on closing (covering) or opening (uncovering) the tone holes with pads. and keep your goal in mind always. This is a very big Saxophone Survival item! Flute “I love playing the flute…. is to get your sound going. In other words. open or closed sensations from your throat area. “live” or on recordings and try to emulate them. and of course. What march would be complete without the high trilling of the piccolos and flutes? 26 . just as you did. once again. For sax players this creates some difficulties at first. have a good clarinet sound. right after the long tone work and interval studies. As usual. Exactly as you would with your reed problems. Be methodical. you need to become at least “credible” in whatever clarinet situation you find yourself involved in. possible areas of unnecessary muscle tension in your shoulders.

Report immediately to a top flute player/teacher! With the help of an expert player.e. Professional level flutes are expensive ($ 2500 for a silver production-line model. tone and more tone at home alone… as usual. there are now some very good student models available. During the same period jazz pioneer Rahsaan Roland Kirk was working flute into his poly-strumentalism based brand of free jazz. (How you do it is your problem!) So where do you start? By now. Of course. TV and Theater situations continue to demand a high level of proficiency on flute. bossa nova and eventually. among others. much more for the prestigious hand-made models). Some brands that offer free-blowing and in-tune entry level flutes are: Yamaha. bossa-beats. buy the best flute you can possibly afford. Check out this influential player's discography when you get a chance. chill-out moods.Thanks to late-60's Rock bands like “Jethro Tull” (led by lead singer/flautist Ian Anderson). choose the best quality flute you can possibly afford. (The eventual resale market value is something to consider as well when choosing a flute. Fortunately. One example in particular can be found in the highly successful latin. brazilian-grooves. Pearl. The increasing popularity of the Bossa Nova and Latin Jazz in general (in the 60's once again) provided a great occasion for sax players to stretch out into flute solos more and more often. enlist the aid of an experienced teacher/player when choosing a first flute. so you also know I'm going to say it's time to strive for tone. All this flute activity in the sixties greatly increased the popularity of the instrument and many sax players began to use it as an additional color instrument on small group gigs. Have them test several from your price range for you. unresponsive instrument is incredibly frustrating…. I highly recommend flute-playing not only because of the increased work possibilities it offers but because there is so much beautiful flute music around to play! Once you get started. vintagehouse sounds and 70's funky phat-beats. and articulation exercises which are necessary to get this instrument sounding as it should.leave it out. Playing on an out-of tune. and Stevie Winwood's “Traffic” (featuring sax/flute work by Chris Wood). As I mentioned above. tone. disco music recordings published by Herbie Mann from the 60's on up until the early 1980's. Jupiter. flute began to be heard by a vast pop-rock audience. Top arrangers and artists expect to hear those flute parts in their arrangements sounding absolutely gorgeous. (we sax players need all the help we can get to sound credible on our doubles).) I repeat. 27 . you'll really begin to enjoy working on the tone studies. scales and arpeggios. classical) flute playing. Prices range from as low as $200 but your best choices will probably be in the $ 500-900 range. lounge atmosphere. It's interesting to note the renewed interest in using the flute in such new areas as: NuJazz electronic. you know me. It will be much easier to play and sound good on because you won't have to work against it. Music by Bach and Debussy are great for really getting into the concept of “legit” (i.

move on to your reed instruments. try to do the flute tracks first. and chromatic passages. The reason for this is because playing sax and clarinet tend to be in conflict with the flute embouchure which requires sensitivity in the central inner portion of the lips. if available). Arrive in time to warm up well. Continuity is important for building and maintaining a good sound on flute. (Playing the second parts will really give your low register playing a workout!) Find a great teacher/player and stick to him. and then get your articulation going over scales. Your flute playing will be more precise with a fresh embouchure. Check the parts. Some players get so deeply involved with the flute that they give up the other instruments altogether! This is a very personal career choice.I recommend studying flute in the morning before you play anything else. Always warm up on long tones and intervals. or her. you are preparing to fail." (Benjamin Franklin) 28 . Once you've done your morning flute session. For this reason. *(Note: If you are doing a recording session on sax and flute. like glue! "By failing to prepare. I recommend a second flute session in the afternoon. of course. This way you can “refresh” your flute embouchure and be ready to hit it again the next morning. Alternate playing the first and second parts. arpeggios. Remember to seek opportunities to play duets with more advance players. This will destroy some of the work you did during the flute session.

The most common situation used to be the standard 5 voice sax section comprised of two altos. The principles of section playing are basically the same in all these situations. a four voice trombone section and a rhythm section made up of bass. or horn section is really great to listen to when it's TIGHT and IN TUNE. Assuming you have arrived at a reasonable level of instrumental proficiency. Naturally. However. concentration on your role in the section will be the next most critical factor to your success as a section player. the more proficient everyone in the section is. Saxophones tend to be used not in sax sections but in “horn sections” of various sizes ranging from two horns (usually a trumpet and an alto or tenor sax) to larger five or six horn configurations. A sax section. There are several factors you must consider to become a good section player: Concentration In whatever section situation you may find yourself called upon to perform. the better your chances of sounding good together will be. drums. sax sections tend to be smaller or non-existent. Nowadays however. with only slight changes or additional considerations when moving from the smaller horn section conception to the larger full big band five voice situation. In big band playing the “lead” alto conception becomes an important factor as well as the particular roles the inner voice players must understand as well. and guitar. a section of only fairly proficient players who are working as a team and concentrating on getting a good. an element vital to your performance will be concentration. two tenors and a Bari sax used in a big band which was in turn comprised of a four voice trumpet section. due to new economic and musical realities.3. hanging over longer on notes and not listening to each other! No contest! 29 . So. it's up to you do keep on top of the situation and give 100% towards achieving this all important end result. piano. SECTION PLAYING Saxophone players are very often called upon to play in sectional type situations. in tune and COMPACT section sound will come off sounding much better than 4 or 5 “hotshots” each trying to get noticed by trying to out blow each other.

which will be evident to you if you've done your listening “homework”. Keep your ears open for unison situations between you and members of the trumpet or trombone sec- tion as well. diminuendos. length of notes. it's up to you to decide the interpretation of the phrases which come up in the arrangement you are playing. which is just as important. follow the 1st trumpet's phrasing. Here is where all your listening and analysis of various styles of music will pay off. If the phrasing is inconsistent or unclear. Lead alto playing If you are playing lead alto. and type of vibrato (when harmonized only. creating dynamics (crescendos. everyone wants the music and the group to sound great. open-minded and diplomatic way. I'm talking about : how long to hold out the notes. 30 . are expected to clear it up by respectfully asking the composer or arranger of the “chart” to explain how he would like the phrase in question to be played. It's very important to try to maintain a smooth. inner parts player. instead of a full sax section. you find yourself playing in a small horn section. If something is unclear to you or there is a difference of interpretation going on within the section. and the like). You must interpret the arrangement in the manner most suited to the overall prevailing style. by all means ask the lead player how he intends to phrase the passage in question. If you have trouble hearing the lead player. Think teamwork! When the music sounds good everybody benefits. teamwork oriented working relationship within the section and in the musical unit as a whole. and decisions about articulation which may be ambiguous or not indicated at all in the written parts.Where do you fit in? There are two basics “positions” you can play in a section. NEVER use vibrato on unison passages). sforzandos. Differences of opinion about any aspect of the section's performance coming from within the section or between the sax section and any another section should be worked out in a friendly. It's much more fun and much. you. You must be 100 per cent alert to your musical surroundings at all times. Always be open-minded and friendly when discussing interpretation with sectionmates . the rhythmic “feel” to give to the phrases. Play under the lead player and match his phrasing. You are either the “lead” player or you are a supporting. the amount of accent to apply to notes. you are probably playing too loud. as spokesman for the sax section. If. After all. Use the keyboard as a reliable intonation reference as you play but be flexible when playing moving unison lines with guitars as they are often loaded with “effects” such as “chorus” and “finger-bends”. much better for Saxophone Survival! Inner parts playing Playing inner harmony parts within the sax section requires paying close attention to how the 1st (lead) alto is phrasing.

or “in the pocket”. Each day should bring you closer to your objectives (short.Intonation Intonation problems can ruin the sound of any musical ensemble so tune-up before you begin rehearsals. Playing in tune is an essential element for any good performance but is absolutely vital in creating a strong section sound. but a habit. Team up with the best trumpet and trombone players you can stand for this kind of thing. dynamics. use a “straight” (i.) Really…. If you've used your time well in the past you are already ahead of the game. A good chromatic tuner will fit into your instrument case and is an excellent investment! (A great way of checking yourself. now's the time to start! The first thing to do to maximize your use of available practice time is to lay out your practice routine in a way that it is always pointing you towards the goal(s) you have set for yourself. Excellence then. When playing unison passages with other instruments. (Make a *habit of being conscious of these “details”. whatever it may be.) During performances try to lock onto a solid pitch reference such as a keyboard while pla- ying. phrasing. There is also extreme attention being paid to articulation.e. lessons. If not. Tune up again after you and your horn are nice an warmed up.) Sections and section players that become “tight” are often called as a unit for touring and/or recording work. and breathing.” (Aristotle) Getting The Most From Your Practice Time Time is our most precious asset. you are probably part of the problem. Saxophone Survival requires “tight” section playing! “We are what we repeatedly do. and long term). is not an act. in fact. mid. etc. I mean. it is truly priceless. sometimes referred to as being “in the groove”. It requires constant vigilance and concentration…keep your ears open to what's going on around you. practice sessions. gigs. (I meant to say the best ones you can find. if you're not part of the solution. “no vibrato”) sound and try to lock onto the prevailing intonation of the moment. 31 . Keep it tight! “Tightness” happens when the section members are all playing with the same “time and stylistic” concept.

32 . and sing solos mentally over them. (This warm-up period should take about fifteen minutes to do. new fingerings. If that's a problem. Keep time with your stride as you walk Keep a music notepad or portable tape recorder nearby to help you remember ideas that come to you this way. look over trouble spots in reading material. any musical fragment you like will do. Make Your "Other" Time Count Review harmonic progressions mentally. or interesting discoveries you make during practice (variations on improv. (including metronome markings). Try to practice in the morning when you're fresh. in all keys and octaves. Playing first thing in the morning makes me feel more like a musician immediately. Move to "harmonics" off the low B flat.etc. You'll be surprised at the difference this can make from day to day! Breath slowly and deeply from the diaphragm ALL DAY LONG. method books. etc. Try to have a regular practice time of day."The Art of Saxophone Playing". Use "isometric" embouchure builders.). "Wake up" your brain/fingers connection with some short phrase or lick which you find difficult to play by "rote".Create a space that's as distraction-free as possible. open up and get your air moving with some loud. ef- fects. Some are mentioned in Larry Teal's book. Warm-up. even if you don't have much time. long low tones. Ask not to be disturbed during your practice time.phrases you stumble onto by accident. Make notes of questions to ask your teacher. It creates a sense of "continuity" and “rhythm” in your practice program.) Keep a log of your daily work on scales. then try immediately after work or school before you do anything else. Learn as much as you can about breathing. drink a glass of water. (Buy the book!) Do "fingers only" practicing when it's too late to actually play where you live. B.etc. Take short breaks every 20/30 minutes to rest your "chops". and C positions. clubs or at social functions such as recep- tions. 4 trumpets. conventions.4. your own music. “Hollywood parties”. 4 trombones + rhythm section) Various sizes of wind ensembles (contemporary or classical) 1 Sax alone (in recording studio or live situations with DJ's) 1 Sax together with a trumpet and or trombone (recording studio sections) Types of Work Situations Available for Sax Players Local Live situations Touring live situations Recording studio situations Interested? OK. blues. let's start breaking it down a little bit… Local live situations These situations are varied and range from playing jazz. and local festivals at open-air venues (in the sum- 33 .4 horns) Small big bands (Rhythm section + 4-6 horns) Big Bands (5 saxes. pop covers. quartets + 1 sax) Larger groups (Rhythm section + 2. funk. trios. Musical Formations Which Use Saxophone Players Small group situations (duos. FINDING WORK Before we get into the area of how to find work. easy listening. latin. etc…. let's have a look at the various types of work situations available for saxophone players. rock.

gigs lead to other gigs. can read well. you are not taking care of business as you should in some way. Cultivate your contacts “garden” well and you will begin to see better “harvests” coming in from this area. the market will begin to open up for you. then you'll have to check around with the working musicians and employers in the area to get an idea of the current rates musicians are getting for various types of gigs. but probably from other groups that the musicians you met there may be involved in. The possibilities for increasing your Saxophone Survival chances are enormous when you begin to create a network of good players. you will certainly get called back for other gigs with that group in the future. who just happens to play in 2 other bands. You will work more and more and the quality of the gigs you play on will improve economically and musically if you make it a habit to cultivate and expand your network to include contacts such as: Contractors. etc. the type. Keep players you enjoy playing with in mind (and in your cell phone ) and recommend them to people who may ask for help putting a group together for a function. artist's management agencies. or whatever. convention organizers. quality. clubowners. if you take care of business. If you live in the USA or the UK. some place like Italy for example. artists. dj's. more visible. booking agencies. never lose sight of your primary goal in the midst of all this versatility! “Straight ahead and strive for tone!” Here is where you can begin to “earn while you learn” If you take care of business on these kinds of gigs. number. Simply put. You must be trustworthy and discreet at all times. Keep alert for opportunities to grow musically and professionally. musical directors. tour companies. Somebody said. if not. Once you get that first gig. However. Not only will you get more work with that group. Depending on where you live. studio owners. producers. Try to always widen your horizons. there is a strong musicians union that dictates a minimum pay scale for the various kinds of “live” gigs in your area. and of course. it always pays to do the absolute best you can. to back up an emerging artist. “work like you don't need the money…”. If there is not a strong musicians union where you live. won't get everyone arrested. Work on your weak areas. These prices can vary widely. e-mail address and instrumentation with the musicians you meet at gigs or rehearsals. it's very important to play around in live situations with as many types of groups as you can for a certain period. Become known as a person to call when people need to resolve a musical situation. teachers. hopefully). and pay scale of local “live” work will vary. In any case. So you see. engineers. one of which is looking for a good sax player who is easy-going. Think of maintaining your Personal Standard and maintaining your 34 .mertime. It will really help you become more versatile. no matter what the pay is like or how “unimportant” the gig may seem to be. You may hit it of well with the drummer. and double on flute! Always exchange your name.

35 . by the way. finally agreeing that soprano sax was the best sound for these particular tracks. I eventually forgot about the whole thing as I was busy doing other things. He was a friend and I like to go into recording situations anyway so I said. They remained in the studio to continue working. Keep your goal in mind. Some ideas started to come as I played around the melody. He also asked me for a break on my usual price because he was paying for everything himself with no financial support from a record label (a common situation). A lot of new contacts for recording and touring with other popular artists came my way due to the exposure I received during this period. The project was his hit album “Rispetto” The producer-arranger turned out to be Corrado Rustici. where I live. I was called by Dave C. a good reputation. The feeling bet- ween everyone in the studio was positive and we recorded some good solo tracks which see- med to add energy. and his arranger (who I had not met before). you never know what can come from seemingly “unimportant” gigs! Strive to always do your best because if you take care of business every time you're called upon to play you will eventually build up a good list of contacts. to tell you the truth. Try to maintain a high “Personal Standard” every time you play. YOU agreed to in the first place. even though I was very busy working on a TV show at the time. That's it. and credibility as a Professional.) Here's a quick story of how this Saxophone Survival technique helped me: Back in '84. The session was over.. Make every gig work for you and your probabilities for Saxophone Survival will increase with every gig you do. A day or two later I was at the studio with him.credibility as a Pro regardless of the pay (which. the engineer. Dave paid me and after chatting a bit. a singer friend of mine in Rome. appeal and interest to the tunes. I left. The engineer and the arranger asked me for my contact info which I was happy to provide (I gave them each a business card). I saw Dave several weeks later and he thanked me again even though the people he had given the demo to had decided not to use the material (another common situation). So you see. He asked if I'd be willing to play on a “demo” project of some of his original songs. We started trying the ideas with different instruments. I kept my opinion to myself and started warming up over the track while the engineer worked on the sound and levels. Everyone was happy. they did not seem like “strong hit” material (to ME). The artist turned out to be Zucchero “Sugar” Forniciari (an Italian Pop star). There are no “little” or “stupid” gigs. Dave's arranger friend from before! He had remembered me from the demo session and had the Polygram people fly me to Milan for the sessions. It's YOU that make them “big” or “small” or “stupid”. They wanted to know if I could come to Milan to play on a couple songs for one of their artists. Two years later I got a call from someone in the Milan office of Polygram Records. Interesting… This session led to a 7 year period of touring and recording with Zucchero (see the “Credits” section for more info). The songs were Pop-Commercial material but. “okay ”.

or come out to see a group play somewhere. Look for occasions to “jam” with other musicians in clubs or rehearsal bands.. Nicer things will begin to happen for you. The other way of getting on gigs is by answering ads. jamming and meeting people or calling them on the phone to let them know who you are and what you do. You need a good teacher who can “bring you up” musically and professionally. These first contacts are often followed up by invitations to meet with people. Follow his or her guidance and direction. do an audition. they should recommend you to another teacher who is more specialized in the areas that most interest you. friendly and professional. The first way involves getting recommended by someone.Every gig is important to you. He or she knows your level and won't recommend you for certain kinds of work situations until he feels you are ready. Follow up on these calls and remember to be punctual. 36 . but feel free to discuss career strategy from time to time. Someone looking for a Sax player begins to ask around among their contacts for the names of Sax players and your name gets mentioned. Are you available for…. If not. church.Demosthenes) At this point. You then receive a call that begins something like. your teacher is your absolute best bet for a good recommendation for gigs. getting out. I'm Jumpin' Johnny Johnson and I'm calling because my drummer Sticks Stevens gave me your number. “This all sounds cool. and can really help you break into the local scene. but…How do I get on that first gig?” The First Gig There are two main ways of getting on gigs.etc?” Of course. you may be saying to yourself. Another reason to be with a good teacher who is respected and recognized as a pro player as well is that their opinion about you has a lot of credibility in the musical community. In both cases. and your employer so get used to giving out 110% all the time! The gigs will improve if you get in the habit of working this way. Your teacher will be able to help you prepare yourself for the type of musical career you desire. “Hello. your group.”. wherever you may live. Ask not only musical questions. Listen to the best players there and try to establish contact with them. and eventually get hired by them directly or recommended by them to others. show them what you can do. (“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises. jam. you need to put yourself in the right place to meet people. School. or community groups of all sizes are good places to begin to get experience playing and becoming more “visible” in your area. Here are a few ways to meet other musicians: Play in as many good quality amateur situations as you can find time for.

Decide on the music you want to perform. …. record labels. Once you've done this.etc) and eventually creating a fan base. The most important thing to do before you actually begin calling the musicians is to have a very clear idea in your own mind of what you want to play. easy to do method of becoming “findable” and at the same time. Nowadays. At this point you will also be creating a list of players you'd like to have in the band. it's very easy to set up a free website account .right? Well. etc which can go on and on for years (to everyone's mutual pleasure and benefit. you should also make yourself easy to find by establishing a presence on the Internet as and many others offer an excellent. You become more self-confident as you acquire experience as a Leader. etc You learn about the business side of things because you have to go out and “sell” the band to people like club owners and event organizers. It's becoming increasingly important for musicians to learn how to do promote themselves and their projects on the Web. “network” with other musicians.) You have more work options open to you: you go out and book your band while maintaining other sideman or section player gigs on a first come.. it's in your interest to find the right musicians for the music you have in mind. first serve basis. Once you have a clear idea it will be much easier to proceed. industry people (DJ's. Once you have established contact with other musicians you enjoy playing with. music stores. 37 . clubs. get it out again and start writing down everything you can about your group concept. with whom. The social networking communities such as MySpace. etc. Remember that notebook you used for focusing in on your Personal Goal? The one you used to develop your Action Investigate this area and use the knowledge your benefit. Of course. This is becoming a very effective way of meeting musicians and/or promoting yourself and any eventual projects you may be involved in now or in the future. clubs. rehearsal studios. You make new types of contacts and it's possible to develop good relationships with hotels. Let's get started! As a group leader. it could be time to… Organize your own band! The advantages of organizing a band or group of your own are numerous: You have more control over the type of music you want to play.Put up announcements on bulletin boards at schools. Facebook. where you want to play. prepare the materials necessary to begin rehearsing the (still hypothetical) group.

“stage plan”. so it'll be more fun for eve- ryone! It's the best way to get started off on the right foot! The players you choose should all be musicians you respect that like to play the music you are planning to perform and that know how to work harmoniously in a group situation.. too. or more complete parts. a diagram of your stage layout which includes info about eventual technical requirements such as microphones. (This is for the use of eventual local sound engineers. if you have them. Once you are rehearsing the band. . begin to search for gigs. gig info. and Curriculum) into a Promo-Pack. When they come to the first rehearsal prepared and find things well-organized. agents.e. otherwise you will have problems keeping the band together. and amps. Promote the band. Include a “tech rider”.) Assemble the 3 items listed above (CD. Photos. when you go out to “book” the band. Get this material to the musicians well before the first rehearsal so they can come prepared. This should also contain a brief list of credits of the individual members of the band. Take some digital photos (for eventual Internet use) of the band (group shots and individual shots) with and without instruments. They'll play better. Give a Promo-Pack of the group to club directors. drums. a tech “rider” i. photos.e. they will feel that you are serious about the project. you can refer them to the site and they can download whatever they need from there at their convenience!) 38 . Prepare a brief curriculum of the band. eventual press clippings. contact info etc. (When people ask you for info. If you keep the band working you will eventually begin to have a public that follows the band. i. The idea is to make it as simple as possible for the musicians you call to participate in your project. if you don't have written parts or are dealing with non-readers. record them onto a CD as best you can (either” live” in your rehearsal space or in an economical “demo” studio). bio. Keep these people informed about where you will be playing by creating an e-mailing list and creating a Website with all the latest band info on it: sound clips. You must find gigs if you want to keep the band together. This process of finding musicians usually happens naturally. It's also your responsibility to find gigs for the group. Create a Promo-Pack As soon as you have rehearsed at least four tunes well. monitors. so to speak. etc. Prepare CD's or audiocassettes of the arrangements. It gives everyone an extra incentive to practice if you have gigs coming up. you “find each other” because you are all tuned in to the same wavelength.If possible provide at least basic lead sheets for the rhythm section players.

everyone must be united and dedicated to promoting the band. primarily to promote their independently produced CD. The agency books the hotels. paying everyone. The artist accepts any possible risk of losing money. A variation of this situation is when the tour is organized by a little-known or emerging artist who covers the expenses and guarantees the band a wage on a per gig or weekly basis. In this second case. the artist will try to sell the situation for as much as the market will bear. (Depending on the size of the group of course. or rented cars or rented 7-9 passenger vehicles. In this case. Otherwise. The tour manager takes care of handling the money for the gigs. This can be stressful and create tension within the band. This price may be “all expenses paid” plus a fee or a higher fee without “all expenses paid”.) These groups may have little or no financial tour support from their independent label so everything must be done as inexpen- sively as possible. At this point.Touring Situations There are many types of touring situations and many ways to be on tour. and finding economical places to eat. booking double rooms. some musicians may decide to book themselves into double rooms with ano- ther musician in order to save money on rooms. In a case like this. gas. some band members may become tired or feel they are not making enough money and leave the band. and hotels are paid by the band members. each musician negotiates a price acceptable to them. it's necessary to sell the band at a price which will allow the band to make an acceptable amount of money after expenses. Just in case… Medium Budget Touring: A medium budget tour situation is usually organized by an agency which has been engaged by an artist or band's Management. The differences usually have to do with the budget of the group or featured artist. 39 . keeping the profit after paying all expenses and the band. provides transport and is usually represented by one of their employees who occupies the role of Tour Manager. This means finding inexpensive but clean hotels. Let's look at three different levels of touring: Low budget. Medium budget. tolls. On a medium budget tour. making sure everyone knows about travel appointments. This arrangement is simpler for the band to understand as they no longer have to make calculations about how much money they will have “in pocket” at the end of the gig. What's left over after paying expenses is divided by the band. In this case. sound check and concert start times and any emergencies that may arise. This kind of situation requires traveling in personal. The expenses like car rentals. Others prefer the privacy of a single room which allows for precious moments of peace and quiet and privacy while on the road. band members must protect their interests by getting all details in writing in a contract. and High Bud- get Low Budget Touring: This kind of touring situation is common among new groups who have organized a series of concerts in clubs or small festivals.

There are sound. etc. Transport is usually a mix of planes and/or double-decker tour buses with sleeping cubicles in case of overnight travel to places that are inconvenient to get to. medical emergency calls or appointments. possible cash advances. possible wardrobe people. possible on-site catering staff. High Budget touring: This kind of touring is the most comfortable way to be on tour and happens when the featured artist is very popular.The variables are many but whatever deal is made between the agency and the musician should be put into contract form. and travel paid” by the organization. musicians. Often there is a smaller sum (known as “per diem”) agreed on in addition to the main wage agreement to cover daily expenses like laundry. and/or has good record label tour support. Once again. a tour manager and possible assistants of various types. as usual. vehicle drivers. Musicians receive no money but get “hotels. food. everything is set down in a very tight contract. lighting and instrument technicians. cabs. 40 . So how can I get on a tour? Here are some ways you can become involved in touring at whatever level: • You play on someone's album and receive an offer to tour with the artist. This is usually the least stressful touring situation for musicians as they are very well treated during the tour and can concentrate on making great music on stage. Often the musicians are paid by bank wires directly to their accounts and use the cash (per diem) they receive weekly for day to day miscellaneous expenses on the road. • You may be called to replace someone on a tour already in progress. Here there is usually a high level of organization involved because there are many more people in the entourage. and everyone has a single room. followed by a 2-week trial period during which you can be fired on very short notice. stage hands. In this kind of situation the tour manager oversees the whole tour and is in constant contact with the Home Office and all gig locations. and other miscellaneous expenses. • Theatre tours usually require a recommendation from a known musical director you have worked for and an audition. the hotels are deluxe. • Youth orchestras or other types of school or community groups sometimes do short cultural exchange tours. by plane. The road manager travels with the band and takes care of anything related to the band members: problems with hotels. An assistant of his may fill the role of Road Manager. travel time communication. in time. Musicians on this level of tour negotiate a price. • You or your band makes an album and you go on tour to promote it. All expenses are paid. is playing at large venues. or have one negotiated for them by their personal manager.

improvisation skills and musical taste. Time zone and climate changes can lower your resistance.Touring can be stressful depending on the length of the tour. Getting sick “on the road” is much more complicated than it is when you're “in town” (especially if you must find an adequate “sub”). patience and often diplomacy. and lodging factors which can vary widely according to the overall budget of the tour…and your personal contract. reading skills. and try be a good traveling companion. and take your vitamins! Bring something to do in your “free” time. It's extremely important to try to maintain harmonious relationships with everyone when touring because you will be together a lot every day. creative and interesting people • Your name goes in the credits (a great promotional vehicle!) • Your grandchildren can check it out! Playing on records. jingles. It's necessary to adapt to traveling and living “on the road”. Stay relaxed. and other Musicians. Everything is possible and there's always the element of surprise because you don't always know what you'll be expected to play. You have to try to be ready for anything! When you begin to play in recording situations you will become aware of defects in your pla- 41 . knowledge of styles. a laptop computer can become your home away from home. When you arrive at the studio. rest when possible. Along with a strong dose of professionalism. there may be conflicts going on between the Artist. good intonation. Be ready for anything! Be profes- sional. Arranger. Nowadays. Engineer. Taking care of your health is important. • You meet new.…or… Everything may be very relaxed with just you and the Composer in a home studio in the country. Try to eat well. Here are a few that come to mind: • Excellent quality-control of your Sound is possible • Professional atmosphere (most of the time) • You get to make a contribution to the project • Financially rewarding • It opens up the possibility of being approached to be in a video or go on tour. travel conditions. Many musicians are able to get work done. a flexible sound. meals. write music and even record demos in their hotel room while on the road! Touring with “name” artists can be financially rewarding: Take one giant step towards Saxophone Survival! Recording Situations Recording is an area I really enjoy! There are some good benefits to be had when you begin to be involved in recording studio work. Producer. TV and film soundtracks requires versatility.

You need to acquire experience before you can expect to crack into the relatively tight circle of professional recording musicians in your area. It is best if you discover these defects in a more low pressure environment at first though. (Sometimes a demo you played on actually gets heard by someone important in the industry and leads to interesting opportunities. However. (Always play like it's for real!) Don't be afraid to play for free on friends' projects. You'll feel much more relaxed and oriented going into a “real” session situation if you have first gotten some studio experience doing “favors”.) Collect copies of projects you play on into a personal archive for future reference and possible promotional use. 42 .ying that really become “glaring defects” when you hear them on the recorded tracks. try to play on as many “demo” projects as you can for others. it's a big advantage as you can hear yourself and discover areas that you need to improve in. like at home alone! Are you experienced? Playing on your own projects using hard disk virtual studio programs like Cubase or Nuendo is a great way to get used to recording. If you're not equipped to do this at your home. This is tough to deal with.

I said yes immediately. AND YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN! Keeping your goal in mind is like having an internal guidance system working for you 24 hours a day! Your eyes. a 9 month TV orchestra gig which I had been contacted to play on fell through unexpectedly due to problems beyond my control. to form a new band. I had been planning on improving my flute playing. Here's an example of what I'm talking about: A few years ago. you never know where your next opportunity will be coming from so it's best to keep your attention span opened up to 360 degrees. I had not made any other major commitments for that period because the gig seemed like it was going to happen up until the last minute. I began to see it as an opportunity to work more “live” and to study more at home. Only when you have a clear idea of the playing process will you 43 . I got together with my friend Tony Cerqua. ears and heart are your internal radar system keeping you informed of events happening around you which could be useful to you or other musicians you know. I never cease to be amazed by how events seem to fall beautifully into place in completely unexpected ways to produce “little miracles”…particularly when I'm practicing a lot and concentrating on new material or technical studies. We basically followed the method I described earlier in the “Organize your own band” section of this book. I got a call from the University of Music in Rome. We had an initial meeting to decide how to proceed in order to get the project up and running quickly. I was dedicating my morning practice time to working on my flute sound and technique. already imagining how good this was going to be for my flute playing.5. (When you teach you are forced to really observe yourself closely as you play. anyway. I was beginning to really see some good progress so I was feeling great. To make a long story short. In this business. Lot's of long tones and articulated scale studies! After a couple of weeks of this. a great funk and soul drummer. (Sometimes these things happen even in the best of families!) After getting over the initial disappointment about losing the gig. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GOAL IN MIND. Any opportunities which come to your attention should be taken into consideration as you continue working toward your goal. About that time. While that was going on. especially my sound and articulation. They wanted to know if I would accept a beginning flute student.

Alternate playing the 1st and 2nd flute parts. or force you even. by all means. and Become Friends with Your “Competition” Find out who the busiest players are and observe their strong points. Sit to their right or fa- cing them and listen to their sound and articulation. Expect the unexpected and try to turn all conditions and circumstances to your advantage. The Universe adjusts a bit to give you more “growing room”. or had not really dedicated much time to. Difficulties often serve as little “wake-up calls”. remembering always to be honest in your dealings with everyone as well.) Once I had begun to teach this one student at UM. What do they do to be so in demand? Check out their gigs when you able to explain it in a way that a beginning student can understand and apply. “Employ yourself ” Keep yourself busily “employed” working toward your goal anyway you can! It's amazing how many great opportunities will seem to just “come your way ” naturally. I can assure you that you'll never be “bored” again or complain about having nothing to do. without any particular effort on your part if you keep practicing and remain alert. Try to close the gap. try to study with them! Another good way to improve is to buy some good duets and work on them together with players that play very well. “unexpected” source of income at just the right moment! So you see. if you find yourself with extra time on your hands. which help you. Flute duets with “legit” flute players are great for getting into shape. Study. This is also a good way to make new friends that are also good players. I've seen this happen many times. My work load at the school grew quickly and became a new. Knowing your competition is stimulating and definitely keeps you from getting arrogant or 44 . We had fun trying to play together and arranging pop or jazz tunes for “live” performance. You have to keep your eyes open for them because sometimes they are hiding behind things we sometimes call “problems” or “difficulties”. Locate. Tune in By keeping “tuned in”. take advantage of it to sharpen your Saxophone Survival skills! Always do your best…there will be surprises! I'm convinced that when you are working hard on improving your playing. If they play things you like and would like to understand better. Are they much stronger players than you at the moment? Dig in and practice. I mean looking consciously and CONTINUOSLY for opportunities. to discover inner resources or talents you may not have been aware of. I began to get requests to “sub” for teachers in their Ensemble Labs Program.

life is just more fun this way! • Go around to all the recording studios in town. use your imagination. or better yet a CD and get it around to all the independent labels. clubs. (Find the best you can stand!). A lot of great friendships begin this way. They remember when they were the new kids on the block! Remember… • Find the best teacher for you (remember your goals).. • Analyze the saxophone market in general. too. Keep your horn handy. • Cross-index everyone you meet by 1) instrument. 2) where you met them. and get to know. Put yourself in his hands and try to become his best student. etc. like you. Try to always be ready to jump on opportunities. They are almost always willing to take time to talk and become friends with young highly motivated players. the best players in town and practice with the idea of eventually playing with these people. (to jog your memory) 3) style of music they do best. Try this idea out for yourself. Specialize in something! Become a more valuable player.. • FORM YOUR OWN SMALL GROUP! Make a tape. Here's what I mean: 45 . If you don't feel ready. Trombone players are great to add as well. Meet the engineers. this should be a true saxophone pro that has experience as a teacher and player. DJ's. and in your area specifically. • Treat every client and project seriously. Is there a void you can fill? Use your imagination. hotels. • Team up with a trumpet player for small section work. secretaries. . CREATE A NETWORK of musicians. agencies. • Increase your VISIBILITY by jamming whenever and wherever possible. Take time to make friends wherever you go. You'll soon discover that the best and busiest players are often the coolest people to talk to (once you manage to catch them in a free moment). listen to. If possible. Always remember that every situation you are involved in can become a step up or a step down. Create a website and start creating a mailing list. • Prepare business cards and exchange numbers with every one you meet. Try to create a niche for yourself. especially good rhythm section players.complacent. sometimes things just "Pop" up other words GET ORGANIZED! This will come in handy. musicians. • Get on the phone and INVITE PEOPLE to your gigs.

Fortunately. same deal…everything went great. I could see the engineer and Claudio in the control booth grooving so everything was going okay.Sometimes Life brings you to a point in which you may find it necessary to move to another city for any number of reasons. you'll be faced with the necessity of finding work as soon as possible otherwise you will exhaust your cash reserves before long. or Rome. engineers. helped with the translation and setting up times to visit the various studios. He happened to be recording some music for a series of TV specials that he was the musical director for. I met Claudio Simonetti. doing theater work. I played a nice. fortu- nately for me. (Nowadays. I made a list in my Action Plan notebook of all the addresses and phone numbers of the studios. except my Italian girlfriend (who spoke some English). and knew absolutely no one. including the names of people who had responded to our initial calls on the phone. was to get some business cards made with my name. I had just arrived in Rome. My main problems were the language barrier and not knowing anything about the music scene in Italy. loosening up. meeting secretaries. I always had at least my alto sax. using a computer) The next thing I did was to start going around to the live music clubs looking for opportunities to jam and meet the local musicians. a producer and film score composer. phone number. it's easy to make your own business cards and other promotional materials. An- gela. so it was much easier for us to communicate. Check out this little story: Let's go back to the fall of 1983. soprano sax and flute with me on these occasions (just in case). and a listing of my available instrumentation (doubles). I was playing well. such as a good curriculum. Claudio spoke good English. Fortunately. He was curious to hear me play so he said. and believe me. huh? My first TV gig in Italy! 46 . once I had a phone. I have changed cities a few times.) We started actually visiting the studios one by one. I began collecting numbers and passing my business cards around to everyone I met on these occasions. funky “Pop” solo over the track. and the studio owners. recording session work. liked it and it was in a good key for alto. I was 30 years old and already had a lot of experience playing in bands. I had to learn my way around fast! The first thing I did. etc. “Try playing on this tune…” It was a version of the tune “Maniac” from the film “Flashdance”. I was a bit nervous because I really wanted to make a good impression on him. (My girlfriend. spoke very little Italian. and actually beginning to have fun! He put up another track. it's not easy starting out in a new town! When this happens. musicians who happened to be around doing sessions. for me I had heard this tune before. I also went through the phone book to find all the recording studios in town. He immediately offered me a guest soloist gig for the 4 TV specials! I could hardly believe my luck! Nice break. This is the time when having your Saxophone Survival Kit close at hand and in good order can make all the difference for you. On one of these visits to one of the larger and busier studios in town.

and challenging for you. keeping your horn nearby. it's a lot of stuff to carry around. • GO THE EXTRA MILE FOR PEOPLE. cooperative. whenever possible. They are related in a way since they both have to do with doing or bringing something EXTRA to your gigs. but I'll bring the tenor also because I know that.home alone. tenor may be more appropriate for a given tune. clarinet and soprano for the same reason. Let people know about any additional instruments you play well. which keeps work interesting. I bring flute. and remember. Of course you must be well prepared to really take advantage of these “unexpected” opportunities. It also sets you apart from other musicians that don't think of bringing or doing “extra” things. at some point. Of course. Once people know your instrumentation. don't "bad-mouth" people. When Opportunity meets Preparation nice things happen! Expect the unexpected. Let's take a moment to look back over these last two reminders: “Go the Extra Mile” and “Bring Extra Doubles to Gigs”. keep your goal in mind always. Make sure everything is clear from “the top”. Over the phone. learn how to play them before you bring them! Where? You guessed it…. It's something I do automatically now. because I have experienced good results from doing this. but it will help you resolve certain situations. BE PROFESSIONAL. Mike asked me what 47 . and follow your action plan. try to be helpful and. you'll get more calls and more varied types of calls.This is an example of how going out and meeting people. Often an arranger doesn't know about the other instruments you play. The reason I always bring some extra instrument to sessions or gigs is because I know that certain instruments are more suitable to use on a song than others. can pay off for you. PUNCTUALITY COUNTS (a lot!). • BE POSITIVE. Here's another little story that illustrates the power of this Saxophone Survival Technique: Back in 2003. and you bringing something extra may help him or her resolve a musical situation in a surprising way (everyone loves a nice surprise!). • Always bring some extra double to the gig. This is particularly useful in film soundtrack recording where the various melodic themes return repeatedly and are often played by different solo instruments at different times. • Talk about money matters calmly and serenely BEFORE you accept the gig. I know. People won't know about your doubles unless you bring them along and play them. my friend and top lead trumpet player Mike Applebaum (first call for Ennio Morriconi filmscore sessions) and I were preparing to travel to Milan to record the horn tracks for Italian pop artist Alex Britti's album “3”. Often people call me to play alto. practice as much as you can.

focus your attention on him or her. and is a great composer/arranger)). avoid that “unemployed” problem. You never know… Becoming a more valuable player leads to more and better paying gigs! • Dress appropriately for the gig. it can really save you in a pinch. you have more time to practice. you will not be playing all the time... Alex dug it so much that he decided to add a piccolo trumpet solo to the last 20 seconds or so of the track! As it turned out. and via satellite to various other countries! A lot more nice things happened for my friend Mike because of this “fortunate” piccolo trumpet solo. we did the video. For example. etc. • Always keep emergency contact numbers for gigs. how you move when you play and when you're not playing. what's that?” Mike picked up the “picc” and blew some characteristic Bach phrases and the “Penny Lane” solo. he asked. “Even the piccolo trumpet”. getting lost. how much you smile. talking with Alex. Remember to keep your ever-present cell phone charged up and fully operational at all times. you must contribute to the show with your Stage Presence. groo- ving. and generally getting onto Alex's wavelength. start a band. After a snack while listening to the tracks.if you don't know what to wear. the tune became an instant hit. Keep yourself “employed” in activities that move you toward your goal. listen to and enjoy what they are doing. there are many artists that I've worked with that I would have gladly paid to listen to. and Mike played his piccolo trumpet solo many times on Italian national TV for an audience of millions in Italy. you never know. having fun. • When things are slow. write music. Actually. So what is Stage Presence anyway? To me Stage Presence means being truly 100 per cent “present“ on stage. etc… If the singer is singing. (Please don't tell anyone I said that!) When the audience sees you smiling. • Work on your STAGE PRESENCE Stage Presence is something that some musicians just seem to have naturally. This has to do with how you are dressed. “Hey Mike. When you are not playing. your level of concentration. listening to the tracks he wanted horns on. I suggested that he bring “everything”. saw the piccolo trumpet and said. if you are the only horn on the gig..trumpets to bring (he plays all the various trumpets and fluegelhorn.. and digging the singer. Alex came into the room as we were setting up our gear... This means actively participating and contributing to what is taking place at any given moment on stage. You act as a mirror beaming the audience's attention to whatever is the most important thing happening on 48 . the tour. etc. . We cabbed out to the airport and a few hours later we were at the Jungle Sound Studio in Milan with Alex. My reply was “…yeah Mike. he might dig it”. unexpected horns to sessions or live gigs. etc. their attention will return to the singer. ask the leader. we were ready to start recording. in case of car trouble. And so it goes…it pays to bring extra. Others need to work at developing their Stage Presence.. making notes.

. the public is unaware of little things that can happen on stage. do it with class and as much style and taste as you can muster. Remember. make the star and the other musicians look good. This looks very bad from the audience.. Make a habit of working this way on stage and you will become more in demand for live gigs of all kinds.stage at any given moment: soloists. If you clap your hands. I mean look at everyone. which is not cool at all from the audience point of view. You never know who's checking you out in any moment. last but not least.Big! (I don't want to be reading about you in the chronicle pages! Anyway…) Avoid being seen checking your watch on stage as people will probably get the impression that you are not having a good time. dancers. Don't tip them off with a strange facial reaction. Mr. Once again. they will get more into the groove. or…. whatever. Who you make eye contact with is completely up to you! (I mean. Have a good time for real! If you are listening to a comedian for example. If you are in a smaller space like a club. Of course when it's time to play. That's your job when you are not actually playing. and some of them will begin to clap their hands with you. If you must check the time. The audience has more fun when they see you having fun! Avoid making unpleasant facial reactions to mistakes or unexpected problems on stage.. sometimes they're married to someone in the band. not just the most physically attractive ones. remember that every gig is important. too.. even if you've heard the joke a million times before. Be a more valuable player on stage. or the club owner. do so discreetly.……SMILE….and thank God you're workin'! Put these ideas to the test for yourself! 49 . you can make eye contact with a few people around the room and get them more into the show. I don't wanna know about it!) (Be sure the eye contact bit doesn't get too out of hand. where the people are up close. Most of the time. Oh yes.. smile (at least) at the punch lines. you are part of the show from the moment you set foot on stage.

rehearsing. or anything at all for that matter. The difference between not surviving. great or small. your audience. especially in the relatively small circle of professional players. fellow musicians. meeting and interacting in many ways with all kinds of people with all kinds of attitudes.6. It's very difficult to succeed as a professional musician. If your attitude is positive. a reputation for having a bad attitude. Depending on it's nature. the public. On the other hand. and it's not a pretty sight.. producers and contractors. or reactions. constructive and open you will be more likely to see new oppor- tunities hidden behind the difficulties you will inevitably encounter along your path to your goal. I know I have. Think about this a moment. when faced with unexpected conditions or difficulties. going to school or work. CAN WE TALK? IT'S ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE Attitude plays a major role in “Saxophone Survival”. if your attitude is “out of tune”. a generous. i. On the other hand. you move about doing your daily activities. Day after day. You've undoubtedly seen the results a positive attitude can bring. or hindering you in your affairs and relationships with clients. or life in general. Your attitude is always there helping. or being difficult to work with can take a very long time to shake off. because “bad news” travels fast. Cheerfulness and warmth in dealings are always welcome. If your reactions to difficulties are positive. How often have you seen seemingly intelligent and talented people blow wonderful opportunities because of a bad attitude? You may have had this experience personally. it will be your predominant attitude that will condition your responses. and of course. The main reason I feel attitude is so important is that. This is a very important area to get under control as it can “make or break” you in the music business. positive attitude can be the winning secret for Saxophone Survival. it can be your best friend or your absolute worst enemy. not reaching your goal. they will help you to keep moving forward and greatly increase your chances for Saxophone Sur- vival.e. and success in the achie- vement of your goal lies in your reactions. See what I mean? 50 .

All it takes is turning your attention toward this matter and running an “Attitude Check” on yourself. Observe your reactions and those of the people you come in contact with. Check out your reactions to situations and people during the day. This is a very common situation. ”Don't ask” and then begin rattling off a list of your latest problems? • Do you respect other people's time by trying to be punctual for appointments? • Do you come to rehearsals prepared? • Do you make negative comments about other players behind their backs? • Do you accept criticism or advice graciously? • Are you afraid to send a good sub to a gig because you're afraid he might do a better job and take over “your” gig? • Do you do favors for people without expecting a “payback”? • Do you express your gratitude to people who do things for you? • Do you listen to the other soloists when you play? • Are there people you consider your “enemies”? If so. Have a look at the list of questions below for starts… • Are you a chronic complainer? I mean if someone asks you “What's up?” do you say something like. It's also sad because it's an avoidable problem. There a lot's of folks around who can play well but many of them don't work as much as they could because of their unprofessional attitude. embarrassing situations and in general become a nicer person to be around. especially in large cities where the competition for gigs is intense. and work with (with much better chances for “Saxophone Survival”!) Be sure your mind is engaged and your goal is in mind before putting your mouth. You'll discover that by simply becoming more observant about your attitude you'll be able to avoid many conflicts.So… How is your attitude? Let's go to the bottom line for a minute. why? • Are you gossipy or are you discreet? • Do you try to impress people with your latest hot licks while the string players are trying to tune up? Get the idea? Ask yourself questions like these. 51 .

You've met them. they're usually the people you can't wait to get away from because they drain your energy after a while. not talking at all is much better than complaining.”…count your blessings”. When the conversation is finished and you part company with the person you were talking to what impression will they be left with? I think you already know the answer to this…might be something like: “Wow. or just anything at all. the “Big G” I'm referring to is probably one of the most important elements in the Saxophone Survival Kit. into gear! Now let's go back for a closer look at the questions listed above. Basically you find what you look for so search for things to be grateful for. you know.or your saxophone. If you complain. 52 . I'm talking about…. They can be found hanging out with each other complaining about how tough the work situation is and how come everyone else is getting all the gigs! Fortunately there's a survival technique available that will protect you from falling into this extremely unhappy category. I'm talking about using the “Big G”. Become friends with Life…being grateful for your life and the possibility of pursuing your musical interests is a good place to start. But what a lot of people don't consider is that it takes a good deal of energy to listen as well. Really! They can always find something to complain about. It takes energy to talk. I'd like to share some thoughts with you… Are you a chronic complainer? We all know that it takes energy to do anything. opportunities you might have seen if you had not been so busy finding things to complain about! Some people seem to actually specialize in the art of complaining. Interesting. not only are you wasting your energy but also the energy of the person or people you are complaining to. As they say “Birds of a feather fly together…” and I've noticed that this is true with complainers as well. no not the James Brown tune. sing. Take a minute to reflect on this. and drive your car. Just as it's true that complainers seem to always find things to complain about. that cat is such a drag!” Just nod if you know what I'm talking about… In fact. people who cultivate a feeling of gratitude in their lives seem to find more and more things to be grateful for as they go along.…. play. Complaining is not going to get you anywhere and could possibly ruin some good opportunities for you. anywhere they go.Gratitude. making a list of things to be grateful for is a way to get started. You won't have to look very far once you get started. Focus on gratitude for a moment.

there is something better than being punctual . • Lessons. Now.” Plan your travel appointments well and leave a safety margin for unexpected problems. • You get a chance to relax into the new setting instead of jumping straight into the gig. etc. The benefits of being punctual are endless…to be well-placed in the moment.. being early offers some interesting advantages. it's free as air. Things go much more smoothly when everyone involved is punctual.being early. the musical di- rector. • You get to check out the parts in advance. rehearsal. • When you plan to arrive early you create a “safety margin” which can save you in cases of unexpected traffic jams or other adverse circumstances. • Project-related meetings.…. Somebody said “….. It's much better to wait than to be waited for. aside from being a sign of respect for the people you're dealing with ….If you persevere in your effort to keep your goal in mind constantly. your actions and attitude will fall into line. and. In the music business.. (Did I say that?) Do I even have to mention the possible complications of missing trains or flights? Don't even go there. the production.. all the time.. the usual appointment agenda contains items like: • Rehearsals. it will and at the worst possible time. so we have no excuse for not doing everything in our power to be on time. (In this case you may not get there early. • Travel related appointments. Actually. By a long shot. and the public. and they get to meet you. but all the money in the world can't buy you time when your time is up. Remember Murphy's Law: “If anything can go wrong. to mention a few: • You have time to check your instrument(s) and warm-up. I mean you can make money with your time. Use your time wisely and respect other people's time. • You get to meet the other “early people”. Punctuality is a musician's way of contributing to the general positive flow of the work situation. but at least you'll have a better chance of being on time!) 53 .Time is money ”. but I think we all can understand the idea that Time is infinitely more valuable than money. Punctuality in a musician shows respect for his fellow students or doesn't cost a dime.. in my book anyway. . It's definitely an ideal to be strived for continually. • Performance situations. Do you respect other people's time by being punctual for appointments? Punctuality is an essential item in the Saxophone Survival Kit.

(Very important item). It's not a good idea. If. Do you make negative comments about other players behind their backs? This is definitely unprofessional behavior and can lead to unfortunate conflicts with colleagues and clients.” This is some very good advice. pad glue. • Some blank sheets of music paper for creating emergency parts or inserts. (for parts writing or corrections a #2 point hardness is good). • A good quality pencil eraser. Do you come to rehearsals prepared? For rehearsals and lessons it's best to bring the following items: • Your instrument. If you want to work well with as many people as possible it's best to avoid getting into di- 54 . elastic bands and extra reeds( that I've tried out already at home ). you see that you are going to be late. Note: Never carry these things in your carry on luggage on flights. a pocket knife. by all means call the leader or a trusted colleague at the gig to advise them of your situation. • A pencil sharpener. early. don't say anything. and other groupings of people. *In addition to the above items I also carry small screwdrivers. The metal detector will go berserk and you may cause a panic in the airport. “Eighty per cent of success is showing up…” (Woody Allen) Next question…. pieces of cork. • Pencils. never ink pens. You make a much better “first impression” if you show up on time. “If you don't have anything good to say. “Silence is Golden”. Some musicians are friends with musicians that are not necessarily your favorite people. If you find that someone is trying to draw you into a negative conversation about a colleague. work teams. My Mom used to always say. in good operating condition. • More pencils. • A chromatic tuner to check your personal intonation. These items can help you do quick instrument repairs or reed substitutions at rehearsals or gigs. (To loan out to colleagues who forgot to bring a pencil!). The music business is full of little cliques. try to change the subject or find an excuse to leave. or better yet. for reasons legitimately beyond your control. super-light lubricating oil.Punctuality is even more important when meeting people for the first time.

B. but don't participate in this uncool activity as it definitely makes a negative impact on other people (and yourself). be diplomatic. If the source is the client. Maintain your professional integrity by carefully considering advice based on your experience (which is hopefully why they called YOU instead of someone else). If the advice is coming from someone with musical authority or experience superior to yours (teacher. In these situations. based on your own musical intuition and expe- rience. If you must comment.e. Giving advice…. you must remember. section leader. etc). by all means be diplomatic and friendly. musical director. or funny. Understand this. they will probably do the same to you when you are not around. Receiving advice…. i. articulation. This approach will pay off in the long term as you will be able to function within various work teams that may be in competition or conflict with each other in some way.scussions about other musicians (who they make like or dislike). In the end. it is best to consider following their advice. teacher. or someone from the public who has been listening to you play.”it's their project”. The client pays to have things done according to his/her vision of the project. intonation. Rest assured if people “bad-mouth” colleagues behind their backs to you. religion. decide if it's good advice or not. colleague. Being professional is your best defense always. the person paying you. In any case. overall concept. Situations may arise in which you find yourself being offered advice by a musical director. dynamics. be gracious and thank them for the sug- gestion. Do you accept or offer criticism. It's not necessary to comment or contribute to all conversations. consider their point of view as objectively as possible and. Your advice may not be received well or may lead to a personality clash or a defensive reaction. accents. and by all means don't get offended or defensive. Try to remain above the level of gossip and remain concentrated on your musical mission. 55 . politics or other potentially sensitive areas. consider the source. take the advice into consideration by all means. suggestions or advice gracefully? A. The advice usually has to do with items such as repertoire. If you feel the need to give suggestions about interpretation or intonation to a colleague. however. or whatever. Thank them for the advice. If the source is a colleague of less experience or a member of the public. section leader. and how they imagine using a sax may not always coincide with yours.

Are you afraid to send a good sub to a gig because you're afraid he might do a better job and take over “your ” gig? There will come a time when you will need to send a sub to a gig or rehearsal because of conflicting appointments or illness. section leader. Some of these players return the favor because they feel I'm best for certain kinds of situations. diplomatic. The idea is to see to it that the gig continues to go smoothly in your absence.Remain calm. then you may be disappointed because things don't always go according to our little calculations. other times they will recommend their closer friends who may be very well-sui- ted for that gig. Then. It's important to maintain a harmonious atmosphere around you if you want to work well together with people. etc). If you send an inadequate sub. or you may recommend someone for a gig. send a good sub and take your chances. It's all okay to me because I trust in the Universe enough to know that the good we do comes back to us multiplied many times. you see. info about what to wear. Provide your sub with all the info necessary to do the gig well (important contact phone numbers. you may discover that when someone asked them about who to call for a gig they recommended someone else instead of you. later. Many times you are approached by people for favors. etc…) Players who send inadequate subs because of insecurity are not getting the point at all! Be secure. this is perfectly okay if you were sincere in recommending that person in the first place. Furthermore. Remain positive. however you recommended that person in the hopes of getting a recommendation in return. possibly someone you know and can trust to do a professional job. and ask for input from a higher authority (teacher. so I try to help players who can really play by recommending them when people ask me for advice. The most professional thing to do is send the best available sub you can find. If. I believe that there is more than enough room for everyone in this great. The quality of your sub reflects on you. swingin' Universe. the composer/arranger. the gig will suffer and you will probably be held responsible. This requires “give and take” on everyone's part. parts. Well. list of songs and keys. you should be happy for your colleague that did actually get that particular gig. It will pay off as you will leave a very good impression as being a musician who knows how to take care of business (even when you're not there!) Do you ever do favors for people without expecting a “payback” from them? This is an interesting point to consider. Often our actions may return to us 56 . bandleader.

Do not give material that may have been entrusted to you such as music. more introspective level. Never violate this rule. build on it. you can build your solo from this new quieter. never discuss confidential matters with anyone not directly involved in any given project or work team. and professional. very driving guitar solo. Do you really listen to the other soloists when they play? I touched on this point in the section about Stage Presence. Avoid unethical behavior. or playing quietly to bring the rhythm section volume back down to earth. at this point I'd like to underline the importance of listening to the other musicians and especially their solos. CD's or other audio supports to anyone not directly related to the project.from a completely unexpected direction and may seem unrelated to something we have done or said or thought. The important thing is to be sure our actions are sincere. come into possession of new uncopyrighted material. for example. Discretion is your absolute best defense. and create even more momentum. Are you gossipy or are you discreet and trustworthy? Sometimes when you are involved with many projects. cameramen. This is always a great crowd-pleaser as it creates more of a show and gives a sense of focused continuity to the overall group performance. playing a few long notes. you may overhear private conversations about marketing strategy. Of course the main reason I listen to the other soloists is because I really enjoy listening to the other musicians play. the rest will take care of itself. Make it a point to keep your attitude open and positive until it becomes a habit that works for you and not against you. Now that you have everyone's attention. etc. so to speak.. Be aware and considerate of other people who are trying to work. Other times you may want to interrupt the momentum by playing in a contrasting way. you may want to let the smoke clear a bit by waiting slightly.. You can latch onto an idea in the finale of their solo. Apart from the observations I made there. or other types of sensitive material or information. positive. You may hear something in a solo that will inspire you to play in a certain way or to respond directly to a phrase played by a soloist who directly precedes you. if you are following a burning. find a place where you can warm-up without creating problems around you. I think you've got the idea. 57 . This is just plain common courtesy. light people. Do you try to impress people with your latest hot licks while the string players are trying to tune up? Be considerate of your colleagues. especially in recording studios.

Pat... later. mentor and "musical second father" for the next ten years. Oppermann. had a beautiful wife. Paul Hindemith's "Elemen- tary Training for Musicians" (check Hindemith's foreword if you can find the book.) We would pass on to my assigned scale study which progressed gradually through all the Major and Minor Scales ALWAYS WITH A METRONOME. suggested that I would be better off studying privately with an excellent professional clarinetist and teacher by the name of Pasquale "Pat" Prencipe. etc. FROM BEFORE TO NOW…THE SCENIC ROUTE" I began studying clarinet at the age of nine in a group class sponsored by a local music store in Bridgewater.. "Crisp. I prepared the scales in varied ar- ticulation groupings with the STACCATO notes "al dente" as he would call them. The emphasis was always on keeping the fingering CLEAN and PRECISE while NEVER forgetting about DIAPHRAGM SUPPORT and a big. I also participated in auditions for clarinet chairs in regional and state competitions and began playing in the 58 . Jay Arnold Swing Etudes. We went through the Klosè books. a blind Cocker Spaniel."That was dull. a flute player. Paul Jean Jean Etudes. lively"... Whenever it seemed I was just going through the motions.. He was a very classy guy and was to become my teacher. This all started back in 1961! The lesson always started out with some Chromatic Scale Exercises involving various com- binations of articulations.after a few years. and my favorite (which was for "fun" at the end of the lesson. bless his soul. it was perfect! Now play it again like you MEAN IT!" (It was a terrifying experience for me at first. bouncy. full SOUND. They were very jazzy sounding. (Shelly). Fully supported "succulent chunks of sound". and very wimpy sounding. Massachusetts He lived in a big house in the country. It's a kil- ler!)We spent a lot of time on rhythm work. he'd shout something like. boring. (I could almost taste them!) Our scale work included intervallic studies in diatonic 3rds and 4ths as well. "ERIC AFTAB DANIEL. Later I got used to his ways and. of course. conducting and singing. insipid.7. were a few of the ways he described how a good series of staccato notes should be. it was my desire to play these exercises the way he wanted them so these episodes became less frequent as time passed. We worked on solfege with the Bona book and. …other than that. Massachusetts It came easily to me and the instructor. He also played bari sax. and always drove a new Ford Thunderbird convertible. dead. clarinet and bass clarinet in the theaters in Boston and was the contractor at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset. played second clarinet and bass clarinet with the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Feidler. Robert Corbert.

my free time was filling up with musical activities. at least for my family in those days. etc. con- certs. All I had to do was to learn the technique of the instrument and apply my increasing knowledge of music to the new instrument. I was so stupid at that time because I was convinced the flute playing was “for girls”. at the age of 12. drive me around to all these rehearsals and lessons. I began playing lead alto in my high school's stage band. Looking back on my 9 year relationship with my first real Teacher. I thank God for leading my parents and me to him for clarinet lessons at the age of 9. who lived in a beautiful house in the woods near Newton. the flute-playing leader of the band “Jethro Tull” came to my attention. rehearsals. a sax player and dedicated music educator. led by Al Borzamato. and in a community jazz band led by Vince Gannon as well. Massachusetts What an atmosphere to study flute in! I started studying flute seriously with him. 59 . I began improvising on blues tunes. always with "Pat". and lessons.. Pasquale “Pat” Prencipe.. I began studying alto saxophone. auditions. I also was now practicing 4-5 hours a day 5-6 days a week! Fortunately. Bill Grass (what a guy!). a wimpy instrument. . I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my parents for paying for. he gave me the extra sax lesson free! He was a beautiful teacher and friend. At a certain point. He taught me so much about music and clarinet playing. Pat explained to me the advantages of learning how to play flute. expression. He took me under his musical wing and began preparing me for a professional career (I wasn't thinking much about a career yet. While this was going on. I also found out about Eric Dolphy. the importance of dedication. So now I was doing three lessons a week. being responsible and professional. Believe me. I changed my mind about flute playing. I just enjoyed playing in the various musical groups). It was kind of expensive taking two private lessons a week. As you can see. Eventually. They were and have always been very supportive of my musical activities. when I was about 15 I began to prepare more seriously for Saxophone Survival. I'm constantly amazed by the good fortune I had of finding him so early in my musical life. Herbie Mann. but Pat was cool. Since I had been studying clarinet for a couple of hours a day for 2 years.Junior division of The Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra which rehearsed once a week in Boston. Ian Anderson. myself. What a goofball I was! I didn't want study flute also because I was beginning to feel loaded down with things to practice. my reading "chops" were pretty good. and started listening to Stevie Winwood's band “Traffic” which featured flute and sax solos by Chris Wood. (The plot thickens!). thank God! Pat sent me to a great flute teacher and busy classical player. Fortunately.

Pat began inviting me to rehearsals for the “Boston Pops” (then conducted by Arthur Fiedler) concerts or musical shows he was playing in. I became a kind of ma- scot to them. Their seriousness during rehearsals made a big impression on me. I won the 1st Clarinet chair in the Massachusetts All- State Band competitions. who were all good friends of Pat.. It was a kind of fraternity feeling that happens when players who play together a lot get together after a gig... and started a rock band with some of my friends. I sat quietly in the empty theater listening to and watching how a real professional rehearsal was run. I was kind of shy. Lots of nice things were happening. You could hear a pin drop during those rehearsals…very nice atmosphere. in the dressing rooms. I love that feeling. It was becoming evident to everyone that I was headed in the direction of a musical school grades were good so everything was okay. but everyone made me feel at home. performed in a couple of big bands. . I heard the level of the musicians and began to know some of the great players there. When I was 16. became 1st clarinet in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orche- stra (Sponsored in part by Boston University). those days really opened my eyes to what really professional musicians actually did. I joined the American Federation of Musicians and was therefore eligible to work …. it's one my favorite parts of being a musician. 60 .music was becoming my Center of Gravity. Afterwards I would meet some of the players.

Rodney ("no respect!")Dangerfield. Trent' Anni Della Nostra Storia"('86). Mia Martini. "Miss Italia nel Mondo" ('99."King"Solomon Burke. Thelma Houston. A Guide for Aspiring Professional Saxophonists…or just anyone”. Giorgia. Gazosa. Gino Paoli. "Caramba Che Sorpressa". Gil Evans. Martha High. '98.and many others. "Live at the Cremlin" in '90. Sammy Davis. Agostino Penna. Frank Vinci. Tom Jones. Mike Applebaum. Massimo Ranieri. Roberto Ciotti. Thelma Houston. Donatella Rettore. Geraldina Trovato.Jr.. Joe Cocker.Valeria Rossi. Jim Porto Co-Founder with Silvano Melgiovanni of EMI/Loft recording artists " Positive Power ". Founder of Eric Daniel & Friends Co-producer with Luca Cucchettiof the Nu-Soul album “Old Sax Nu Soul” for Quarto Miglio Quality Music Author of “The Saxophone Survival Kit. Frank Vinci. '96). Andrea Bocelli. Tosca. Roberto Ciotti. 61 . Paul Horn. Mimmo Locasciulli. and many others. Corrado "Rod" Rusticci. Raffaela Carrà. Lara Martelli.'00. and Commercial jingles form another area of my professional activities: "Fantastico 5"( '84)Staff musician RAI-TV network(Italian National Network. Film soundtracks. "Toots" Thielemans. Lena Horne. I feel privileged to have been able to meet and work with these people! More Credits TV Productions. Carl Anderson. Gladys Knight and the Pips ..'00.'99). 2004-07). Randy Crawford. "Blues". "Scomettiamo Che"('93. Eduardo DeCrescenzo. Crystal White. Mercuzio. George Benson. Astrud Gilberto. Rosario Jermano.Amii Stewart. Tony Cerqua. Lew Soloff. "Mercuzio" ( Marcello Modugno). San Remo Song Festival ('94' '95.'84-'87).'01). Natalie Cole. Marco Armani. Michele Zarrillo. Chaka Khan. Alex Britti. English lyrics for projects by: "Positive Power". "Rispetto"). "La Corrida" ('88 to '93.'01).SAX: ERIC DANIEL Credits I've had the pleasure of performing with many wonderful artist in the USA and Europe such as: Zucchero (Woodstock '94. Jerry Lewis. Paul Young. "Domenica In" ('86.

by P.Good starting point for clarinet resources Well.Another great magazine to check out. that’s it for now… .Highly Recommended Books and Websites The Art of Saxophone Playing .dornpub.Taffanel & P.html .Great magazine! .org/clarinet/ .by Joseph Viola Improvising Jazz . Gaubert Complete Method for Clarinet .remember your goal and… HAVE FUN!!! E.Very complete flute resource Skip Spratt (excellent resource site) Jerry Coker L’Arte della Sonorité . Eric Daniel © 2007) 62 .by Harri Rautiajnen (huge site!) www. Marcel Moyse (flute) 17 Grands Exercices Journaliers de Mecanisme . (Back cover photo by Daniela Grassi…Thanks Dany!) ( All rights Larry Teal Rhythm Studies . .html .woodwind. Klosè www. and Apple iTunes Store ! You can visit me at: www. .it HAVE FUN!!! E. By all means check out … “OLD SAX NU SOUL” The new and super-cool CD from Eric Daniel & Friends … Available now at or www.