Staying Active During the Pandemic

It’s been quite a long time since my last blog post. Since the pandemic hit last March, I’ve tried to stay as busy as possible in my music-making (especially since there are no concerts or other live performance opportunities for the foreseeable future). To that end, I’d like to describe what I’ve been working on since March.

The first thing I began studying was a series of etudes that I purchased a few years ago and never finished. I first heard about Giuseppe Ruggiero’s 16 Finishing Studies for saxophone when I attended The University of Southern Mississippi from my teacher, Dr. Gwozdz. I never had the chance to study them at that point, but I purchased the collection a few years later and began working on them. After studying the first two, I had to put the book back on the shelf for a couple of years and focus on the performances that I was committed to. Once the pandemic started, it was time to pull the book back out and get back to work. I studied and practiced the remaining etudes for a few months—these pieces are great for developing musical and technical skills in a very contemporary (and at times, fluctuating) music language. Due to their level of complexity, I would only recommend these to advanced players.

Next I began making a list of all of the unaccompanied works that I possess in my library. Since playing chamber music will have to wait for the time being, solo works will have to do for now. I rediscovered some gems that I forgot I even had! There are a few works that I’m going to study intently and then make video performances of, including those of Stefan Thomas and Fabian Muller.

I also bought a sopranino saxophone, an instrument that I’ve wanted to own for several years. It is a beautiful Buescher instrument, with an original mouthpiece. Once I become acquainted with it, I’ll also post some videos of myself performing on it.

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