Plan to play saxophone after high school? Eight Essentials.

This is a short list of skills I encourage young students to target. Will this ensure success?eight Not entirely. Effective practice, performance experience and creative entrepreneurship will also be needed to be successful, but this is a great start.

  1. Play in ensemble settings. Good section players are very valuable.
  2. Sight Read accurately. Read new material as part of your everyday practice routine.
  3. Improvise. You don’t have to be Coltrane (yet), but you should be able to improvise in key centers and follow basic chord changes.
  4. Double at least one additional woodwind instrument proficiently. Pit orchestra work goes to players who can play multiple woodwind instruments. Saxophone/Flute – good combination. Saxophone/Clarinet – also good. Learning all three – even better. Once you have a good handle on these three, it is time for Oboe. I know a several Bari players who double on Bassoon.
  5. Learn Piano or Guitar. In addition to performing, you can use these tools to help with arranging and composition.
  6. Study as much Music Theory as your brain can hold. Knowing how this stuff works makes it much easier to learn and perform.
  7. Listen. Hear excellent music. Listen with your ears and your heart wide open. Always seek the emotion in what you are hearing.
  8. Feel deeply. Emote fearlessly. The audience will feel it. And that is what it is all about.