Here’s a question sent to me recently [edited lightly]:
Do you have any advice on getting gigs on doubles? I play all the major modern woodwinds, but I’m definitely an oboe/English horn player first, and saxophone is my strongest double. I wouldn’t say I’m the best flute or clarinet player, but I’m good enough to gig or perform solo repertoire. I never get gigs on anything but oboe/English horn or saxophone, which makes me feel like I’m wasting my time practicing anything else.
Here are a few things to consider:
Firstly, hopefully it goes without saying, but continue developing your skills on your doubles.
Developing a reputation in your local market takes time. Plus, your local ecosystem of musicians and gigs is a factor outside your control. For example, if there is already an abundance of well-established clarinetists in local contractors’ contact lists, then it may just take time before you get a shot.
Get to know the players in town who are doing the kind of gigs you want, and establish professional acquaintances with them. There’s also a time-honored tradition of taking a “lesson” or two with top local players so they can see what you’re capable of, and potentially recommend you for gigs (plus you might learn something).
Check in with contractors or other hirers you may be working with already. You could say something like, “Hey, I’ve been doing so much oboe and saxophone lately work that I’m not sure people realize I’m a strong flute and clarinet player, too. Just wanted to make sure you have that info in the back of your mind. Thanks!”
Also consider what you are or aren’t doing to sell yourself convincingly as a doubler. I checked out your web presence, and found social media usernames and profile pictures that identify you very clearly as an oboist, plus some vague, apologetic hints that you are also woodwind doubler. Some humility is good, but if you want to work as a flutist then it helps to tell people you’re a flutist.
You also do not have a personal web page, or not one that I could quickly find. That’s your digital-era business card. (Consider getting some actual business cards, too.) It should state clearly what you bring to the table, and ideally provide some evidence. If I visit your website and it doesn’t mention the bassoon, or it mentions the bassoon but has audio/videos of you playing everything but the bassoon, then I’m unlikely to consider you a hireable bassoonist. If your bassoon playing is only so-so, I might still need you for a gig that has less-critical bassoon parts, but hearing you play something gives me some reference point for what you can do. As a next-best thing, you can provide an easy-to-find, easy-to-skim list of some gigs you have done in recent memory.
Find appropriate opportunities to offer your services on additional instruments. “Hey, I have my flute with me today, and I can cover that third part if you like.” “I was thinking maybe this passage would sound good on clarinet. Mind if I give it a try in rehearsal?” Don’t push it to the point of being annoying, and be a good sport if the person in charge wants you to stay in your lane.