I have been thinking a lot lately about diversification. I should have begun diversifying myself more while I was still in college. However, it’s never too late.
What drew me to the saxophone in the first place was the pop/rock music of the late 1980s — which was when I started playing the saxophone in the 4th grade. I discovered jazz in middle school, which further cemented the saxophone’s hold on me. Once I entered college and discovered the classical side of the saxophone, I was immediately hooked and I focused all of my energy on that particular style, to the detriment of learning how to play jazz well.
Now that I have been out of school for almost 10 years, the value of playing jazz and doubling has come full circle. I have Oliver Nelson’s “Patterns for Improvisation” and some of Jamey Aebersold’s “Play Along” series on my music stand, in addition to Ruggiero’s etudes. I am doing my best to structure my practice time and divide it evenly between classical and jazz. I also have Klose’s Clarinet Method and Belwin’s “The Flutist’s Companion” to work on my doubling skills.
I encourage all saxophonists to study as much as they can while still in school, because it becomes much more difficult when you’re out of school and have many other things that need your attention: teaching, bills, house, etc.
Let’s get to work!