Saxophone Survival Kit

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THE SAXOPHONE SURVIVAL KITA Guide for Aspiring Professional Saxophonists …or just anyone!Eric DanielTHE SAXOPHONE SURVIVAL KITEric Daniel Dedicated to those of you who will do more than just read this book... .IntroThe purpose of this book is to help you better understand how to prepare yourself to become a professional Sax player. Hopefully, after reading this little book you'll have a clearer idea of how to proceed day by day toward your goal. First I'd like to share a bit of my per

Text of Saxophone Survival Kit

THE SAXOPHONE SURVIVAL KITA Guide for Aspiring Professional Saxophonists or just anyone!

Eric Daniel

THE SAXOPHONE SURVIVAL KITEric Daniel Dedicated to those of you who will do more than just read this book... .

IntroThe purpose of this book is to help you better understand how to prepare yourself to become a professional Sax player. Hopefully, after reading this little book you'll have a clearer idea of how to proceed day by day toward your goal. First I'd like to share a bit of my personal background with you. I began my musical journey back in 1961 as a beginning clarinet student living in a small town called Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA. I was fortunate because it was about an hours drive south of Boston, a great cultural center and home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Boston Pops Orchestra, Berklee College of Music, the World Champion Boston Red Sox, The Legendary Boston Celtics, Joe Viola, and Joe Allard! There were many occasions to play in youth orchestras, and big bands were very popular (many high schools had jazz big band, concert band and marching band, as mine did). It was much easier to find situations to learn to play saxophone in during that period. The Boston theatre scene was flourishing and there were lot's of musical shows in town at any given moment. Many Broadway shows use Boston as a place to tune shows up before opening on Broadway. The musicians are hot and the best players play like the best players in New York or Los Angeles. In fact many top players have spent a few years in Boston before moving to NYC or LA. Many have passed through the now world famous Berklee College of Music, as I did. Others attended the less well known but excellent and extremely selective New England Conservatory, which I attended briefly as a clarinet major in 1970. The Count Basie Band was still touring, as were the bands of Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, and Woody Herman. Many of the sax players in those bands were trained in Boston by the best sax teachers in town: the legendary Joe Allard (New England Conservatory) and Joseph Joe Viola (Berklee College of Music), not to mention seasoned pros like Andy McGhee (Woody Herman and Art Blakey veteran, Berklee staff). The list goes on and on. The point is that, when I was growing up as a musician around Boston there were lot's of opportunities for young players to get experience not only playing but working. There was lot's of competition (and lot's of great sax brothers, too) and you had to be hot just to survive, and not only on sax, but on clarinet and flute as well! A few rare monsters also played oboe (such as Joe Viola).


Things have changed a lot since then. You still need to be well prepared but the type of music has changed and changes continually. Unfortunately, many music programs in public schools have been hit by budget cuts. Big bands are almost completely extinct. Theatre orchestras are smaller Pop horn sections are smaller, string sections have been all but eliminated by synthesizers (for economic and logistical reasons). Recording has become digital and more decentralized geographically and many projects are being realized in personal studios all over the world, digital sampling of horn sections is on the increase, everything is changing fast. One year everybody wants horns, the next year hornless garage bands are in style. You must adapt. Its Saxophone Survival Kit time y'all! DJ's have taken over the dance clubs and discos. So what's happening? What's happening now is that you must either learn to adapt to the ever changing musical environment or risk extinction, career-wise. Now you still have to be able to perform in as many types of situations as possible, but it's more difficult to get live experience in some of these situations nowadays, and in some geographic areas, it's nearly impossible. Maybe I can be of some help What I'd like to do with this little book is to share my experiences with you. Give you insights into what I consider to be the most vital aspects of how to prepare yourself for Saxophone Survival in today's musical environment. I have been using these techniques for over 35 years of playing all kinds of music in theatres, clubs, discos, international Pop tours, Blues festivals, Rock festivals, TV bands, and recording studios in the USA and Europe, (see the Credits section for details.) Try these ideas for yourself.they work. Now this book does not promise that you will become a rich and famous Saxophone Idol, but if you want a satisfying career as a Professional Saxophone Player, you'll find it is a very useful guide. You need to learn how to survive before you can truly thrive. This is my personal view of what you should include in your.



ContentsThe Saxophone Survival Kit 1. Goals 2. Musical Preparation 3. Section Playing 4. Finding Work 5. Always keep your goal in mind, and your eyes and ears open! 6. Can We Talk? It's About Your Attitude 7. "Eric Aftab Daniel... from Before to NowThe Scenic Route" 8. Sax: Eric Daniel Credits 3 6 12 29 33 43 50 58 61


Consider well the words of advice and concepts you'll find within the pages of "The Saxophone Survival Kit". Read them; reflect on them, and of course......Put them to use. Let's get started!

1. GOALSDesire Anything and everything you've ever accomplished in your life began as a desire. Consider this well. Before you could walk you had the desire, an inborn natural desire to walk. Through repeated efforts, which strengthened your hands, arms, and legs and helped you to develop your coordination (your "technique" so to speak), you eventually arrived at a point where you could pull yourself up to an upright position and stay up for a few moments before falling back down. Your family and friends helped you with encouraging words and smiles when you succeeded. When you fell, maybe you cried or laughed at first, more from surprise than anything else, at the discovery that an invisible natural force, you know "The Big G", Gravity, could sit you down on your little baby butt very quickly indeed if you lost your balance! Your parents, friends and relatives (your first Teachers) helped you understand it was no problem and encouraged you to try again (..and this time, smile for the camera!) Before long you began to get the hang of it. You enjoyed the experience, the freedom, this new possibility of standing up on your own two feet, just like all those big people you saw moving around you, coming from and going to places from beyond your immediate field of vision. You worked on it all the time, day in and day out. It began to be a top priority item, along with eating, sleeping, and of course, trying to communicate. Finally you began to take your first toddler steps. You crawled and toddled your way around your home, discovering areas new to you, places you'd never been able to get to on your own before; the kitchen, a hallway, and other rooms full of new sights and sounds. There was the world outside as well. With your new increased mobility "chops" (i.e. Technique), it was possible for you to explore nature, play games, get into trouble, have fun, sometimes get lost and learn many, many more new things about the world around you. Question: "So, what's all this got to do with Saxophone Survival?" Answer: "Everything!"6

Learning to play the saxophone and, if you're up for it, making a living in the music world are the same as learning to walk or talk or anything else you know how to do NOW that you didn't know how to do BEFORE. The same principles apply. It all starts with DESIRE. DESIRE is what gets everyone moving. I mean, without DESIRE it's highly unlikely that you'll be successful or even survive in Saxophone Land. Strong DESIRE is a necessary ingredient for Saxophone Survival. The next question which comes to your mind may be; Okay, but a desire for WHAT? Very good question, bravo! But I'm afraid you'll have to fill in the answer for yourself. No, I'm not abandoning you so soon on our little journey; it's just that, you see, at this point, it's fundamental that you formulate YOUR PERSONAL GOAL. I'm mean, DESIRE WITHOUT A GOAL IS MEANINGLESS. Desire, to be of use to you, must have an object of desire. Take time and give this a good think because without a well-defined goal, a destination, it will be much more difficult for you to make this journey, if not impossible altogether. It's difficult enough already so, trust me, make it easy on yourself and dedicate as much time as it takes to create a well-defined GOAL. Write it down. Fine tune it from time to time as you begin to better understand your more intimate, deeper desires. Always keep your goal in mind. This is of the utmost importance! You must concentrate on it and work toward it continually until it becomes your Center of Gravity. I think of it as a kind of gyroscope in a spaceship's guidance system. It will keep you on course to your target.

Setting Goals The earlier in your musical life you begin to set goals for yourself, the better your chances for Saxophone Survival will be, but fortunately, it's never too late to create a worthwhile goal. Just the idea of having a goal and finally knowing WHAT you want to accomplish will be stimulating and energizing for you. It gives you a sense of direction. This will eventually help you cut through the crowd of less oriented musicians. It's a great feeling to know WHY you are doing something. To KNOW you're doing it because you really want to do it. All the necessary hard work seems lighter and even fun because it is YOUR goal, your personal OBJECTIVE that you are striving to achieve. Someone said, if it's worth having, it's worth working for. This goal, this burning desire will help you to keep going and overcome the inevitable difficulties which will arise to test your determination to succeed. There are different time fram