The few, the proud, the woodwind doublers

I’m back from the the excellent Region VI conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance. I went to soak up some good saxophone playing and to deliver what is becoming more or less my standard spiel on woodwind doubling.

This time I gave away half of the handouts I brought with me. That’s a dramatic improvement over some of my earlier presentations. Unfortunately, it’s not because attendance has gone up, but because I no longer find it realistically necessary to bring extras “just in case.”

photo, Benson Kua
photo, Benson Kua

As usual, my presentation was scheduled first thing in the morning, in a distant corner of the conference venue, and conflicting with a masterclass by one of the conference’s most admired performers. But, also as usual, the stalwart few who came were there early and already bubbling over with questions. Some were people I had previously been in touch with through this blog. And, as usual, they were all extremely attentive, and many of them went out of their way throughout the day to offer gratitude and compliments.

I really don’t blame the conference hosts or attendees (of this conference or any of the various others) for giving a woodwind doubling presentation relatively low billing. Woodwind doubling is a niche topic. Most of the conference-goers are probably better served by attending a good masterclass on their instrument. Plus, it works out well to give these presentations to small but enthusiastic groups, with lots of opportunity for questions and discussion. I preach to the (woodwind) choir.


Handouts from NASA 2010 woodwind doubling lecture

Here are handouts from the lecture I gave at the 2010 Biennial Conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance. The lecture was entitled, “Woodwind Doubling for the 21st-century Saxophonist: Increasing Versatility without Sacrificing Virtuosity.” Woodwind Doubling for the 21st-century Saxophonist: Increasing Versatility without Sacrificing Virtuosity Problems Saxophonist-Doublers Have (Try Not to Sound Like a Saxophone … Read more

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:

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:

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Woodwind organizations

I recently renewed a few memberships in some of the woodwind-related professional organizations. I like to stay current with as many of these as I can, because I enjoy receiving their publications and attending their conferences whenever possible. Most offer some other benefits like score and book lending libraries, eligibility for a group instrument insurance plan, member directories, and exclusive website content.

Membership is especially useful for woodwind folks in academia—students and professors alike—who are hoping to build their vitae. There are opportunities to publish articles, interviews, reviews, and such in the organizations’ publications, and to perform, present lectures and demonstrations, and participate in competitions and masterclasses at the conferences. Students can usually join the organizations and attend the conferences at significant discounts.

The groups I’m listing below are the major ones that North American woodwind players ought to seriously consider joining. There are others, mainly regional groups, of which I list as many as I’m aware elsewhere on this site (see flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone organizations).

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