Since I graduated with my DMA in 2009, I’ve had a few epiphanies about what it takes to be successful in the music world. Granted, I am still a novice in much of this; however, I’ve learned a few important lessons over the past 6 years, and I feel inclined to share them.

1) Networking — It goes without saying, but it is absolutely crucial to network within your chosen field. I began networking with other saxophonists back in early 2002, and I’ve continued to do so to the present. I’ve benefited from the process by being able to collaborate with new people, find new music, study with some amazing players, and be more in the know about the saxophone world.

2) Jazz and Doubling are Important — I never focused on studying jazz or doubling on clarinet until after my formal studies. This was a mistake that I’m still coping with. In college, my priorities were different–I was focused on becoming a classical saxophonist. Now that I’ve finished school, I believe it’s more important than ever to be adaptable to any musical situation. I’ve since bought a clarinet, listened to more jazz, and begun playing it on a regular basis with the Swing Shift Orchestra. I’ll never give up my classical playing, but I’ll feel more comfortable with a jazz side that I can tap into and use for the various musical and jazz/commercial performances that pop up.

3) Find a great repairman — This also goes without saying. Find someone who you trust with your instruments. I was fortunate enough to befriend Charles Gray at Paul Effman Music, and I send all of my instruments to him when in need of repair.

I’m sure there are some other things that I’ve forgotten to mention, but this is what was on my mind this week, as I prepare to perform in The Drowsy Chaperone next weekend.

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