NASA 2010 Biennial Conference report

NASA logoI had a great time at the 2010 Biennial Conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance. It was held on the campus of the University of Georgia, my alma mater, so I got to see many old friends and colleagues.

A more poignant aspect of this year’s conference was the conspicuous absence of Dr. Kenneth Fischer, my former saxophone teacher and the intended conference host. After Dr. Fischer’s very untimely passing a few months ago, many among the NASA leadership made extra efforts to ensure that the conference went on as planned. Surely not the least among these was Dr. Stephen Fischer, Kenneth Fischer’s son, my old classmate, and a brilliant saxophonist in his own right. I noted that the conference program read:

Hosts
Dr. Kenneth Fischer
Dr. Stephen Fischer

I was in attendance Thursday through Saturday (the conference began on Wednesday). It’s such a big conference that lots of things are going on at once, and there’s no way to get to everything. But here are a few events that I caught that were highlights for me: Continue reading “NASA 2010 Biennial Conference report”

From The Savvy Musician: military gigs and the saxophonist

Dr. David Cutler’s The Savvy Musician blog is worth checking out for high-quality career tips.

In a recent post, he discusses careers as a military musician. A couple of highlights for the woodwind-inclined:

With the possible exception of saxophonists and euphoniumists, few musicians dream of a military career. Yet this path can provide a dependable income, solid benefits, and varied opportunities.

This no doubt refers to the problem of “classically-trained” saxophonists with shiny new BM degrees and no gigs. Symphony orchestras, if you haven’t noticed, don’t hire full-time saxophonists. Military bands are about the only regular “classical” saxophone performing gig out there.

The best candidates are solid and versatile players who read well and are comfortable with number of styles. Doubling on multiple instruments (i.e. a saxophonist who plays flute and clarinet) is also highly desirable.

Even in military bands, the most employable saxophonists are the ones with doubling skills and stylistic versatility (for saxophonists, read: “jazz/rock chops”).

Read the whole thing