Frequently-asked questions about woodwind doubling, and their unpopular answers

August 12, 2018

Q. Should I be a woodwind doubler?

A. In most cases, no. If you already feel driven to do it, and have the time and resources to devote to it, then maybe.

Q. What’s the trick to getting in enough practice time on all these instruments?

A. Figure out what to de-prioritize in your life to devote more hours to practicing.

Q. What’s the trick to affording all these instruments?

A. Figure out what to de-prioritize in your life to devote more money to instrument purchases.

Q. What instrument/mouthpiece/etc. should I buy?

A. The one that you have carefully, methodically selected from among dozens or more high-quality specimens, without blindly following internet recommendations.

Q. What’s a good mouthpiece, instrument, etc. for a doubler?

A. Only buy things “for doublers” if you want to sound like a doubler. If you want to sound like, say, a good clarinetist, use what good clarinetists use.

Q. Which instrument should I learn next?

A. Whichever motivates you enough to devote the necessary time and money.

Q. Playing one instrument already means it will be easy to learn another, right?

A. If your goal is to develop only a superficial command of the instrument, then yes. 

Q. How do I know when I am “good enough” at an instrument to count it as one of my doubles?

A. You stop getting fired for how you sound.

Q. How do I get gigs?

A. Sound great, behave professionally, and be liked by the right people.

Comments

  1. Ron Nelson

    All good thoughts. In terms of instruments, the more you have and play well, the more you work. If you are not relying on woodwind doubling as your main source of income (like me), then I think it’s best to chose the ones you really have a passion for,work hard on them, and don’t worry about the rest. I regularly play Bb clarinet, flute and alto saxophone, occassionally piccolo. I also own a soprano and tenor but they spend most of the time collecting dust. And I have borrowed an alto flute and bass clarinet when absolutely needed. But 3 the primaries are all I truly have time for.

    Reply

Leave a comment

Commenting policy

If you are a new commenter, please check your email after submitting, and use the verification link to complete the commenting process.