Woodwind Doubler Census results, part 2: instruments

In the previous installment of results from the Great Woodwind Doubler Census of 2011, I shared some basic demographic information about the 187 survey respondents. In this installment (and those to come), we’ll dig into some real doubling stuff.


Q: Which woodwind instruments do you play, and at what levels?

The top results are unsurprising: saxophone, clarinet, and flute being the most widely-played, with oboe in a distant fourth place. I was a little surprised to see folk/ethnic/period woodwinds edge out the bassoon.

Q. Which was your first major woodwind instrument?

As I expected, most doublers start with a single reed instrument—I was a little surprised to see that even 20% come from a flute or double reed background.

Q. Which instruments do you own?

Clarinet, flute, and alto saxophone are the most widely-owned, with piccolo and soprano and tenor saxophones also common. I was interested to see that there are a lot of recorders out there, as well, with pennywhistles not far behind. These are instruments that can be had for not much money, and played at a beginner level without significant time investment, which may contribute their popularity over, say, the double reed instruments, which are, arguably, more useful for getting gigs.

I was pleasantly surprised to see respondents in every category, even contrabassoon and “other” oboes.

Q. How do you primarily identify yourself as a musician?

The complete answer options read:

  • as an instrumentalist on one specific instrument (or family of instruments, such as the saxophones)
  • as a woodwind doubler

Q. Do you have “primary” and “secondary” instruments?

The complete answer options read:

  • One instrument is a “primary” instrument, and one or more are secondary instruments. For example, you play the flute well, and the clarinet at a noticeably lesser ability level.
  • Two or more instruments are “primary” instruments. For example, you play the flute and the clarinet about equally well.

I was surprised that a majority of respondents claim at least two “primary” instruments.

More to come

Check in again soon (or even better, subscribe via RSS, email, or Twitter) for more results and analysis from the Great Woodwind Doubler Census of 2011.


One response to “Woodwind Doubler Census results, part 2: instruments”

  1. Ron Nelson Avatar
    Ron Nelson

    Am enjoying the results. Absolutely no surprise that clarinet, flute and alto saxophone lead the way. I think if you consider yourself a doubler or should I say “multi-reedist”, then those 3 are part of your arsenal. Others are added after the basic 3.

    Looking forward to Part 3.

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