The emergence of the “woodwind doubler” in American music began in the 19th century. While many people first associate this type of unusually skilled performer with the players in Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra of the 1920s, multiple wind players have been in existence for centuries. The new sound reproducing inventions of the 20th Century (radio, audio recordings, movies); America’s changing musical tastes,; public dancing as a socially acceptable form of expression; and the emergence of the saxophone as a popular instrument helped provide a playing field for saxophonists. Those saxophone players who were equally adept on other woodwind instruments found themselves in great demand in the big bands, recording studios, musical theater, and symphonic world. That need for woodwind doublers still exists today. While very few schools offer degrees catering to this specialty, the need for saxophonists and other woodwind players to “double” is crucial in school and professional big band performances as well as musical theater productions. For many, it is often the deciding factor if one is to have a career in the music industry.
I have created a series of 8 master classes, each lasting several hours, dedicated to woodwind doubling on the three basic instrumental families required of all woodwind doublers—saxophone, clarinet and flute. They can be presented as a group or combined into fewer classes for shorter durations, depending on the needs of the school music director. The topics that are covered in these classes include: