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Interviewing Saxophonists

ProSaxTips

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Hello everyone :) Hope you are all doing well. For one of my series on my YouTube channel, I am going to be interviewing professional saxophonists. I will be going to professors at the University and, Colleges, Tour musicians, and Private lesson teachers...I would love to hear what questions you would want to know the answers to. Please post them below.

Thank you so much everyone,

Zach
 
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ProSaxTips

ProSaxTips

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My 1st interviewee, though, will be Professor Nicki Roman. Nicki is the most recent first prize winner of the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Solo Competition, the most prestigious saxophone competition in the United States. She has been a prize winner at the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist Solo Competition, William C. Byrd International Competition, and is the first saxophonist to be the recipient of the International Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship. Her research on the music of Bruno Mantovani has been presented at national and international conferences, including the most recent World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb, Croatia. She has been a featured concerto soloist with the Eastman Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, UW-Milwaukee Wind Ensemble, Illinois Wind Symphony, University of North Florida Orchestra, and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Roman is the Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts. At UW-Milwaukee, she teaches applied saxophone, and coaches chamber music. Nicki is a Conn-Selmer and Vandoren Performing Artist.

Any other questions, besides the ones above, you'd like answered?



Thanks,

Zach
ProSaxTips
 

s.mundi

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I wouldn't ask anything that pertains to music.
My interview would start like this:
Do you have friends? How long have they been your friends?
Are you passionate about anything other than music?
How do you gently experience silence or peace?
What does your daily diet consist of?
How would your peers describe you?
Have you ever taken dance lessons?
Have you ever hear voices in your head?
 

jbtsax

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Equipment and set-up including mouthpiece, ligature, reeds, and any extraneous doo-dads attached to the outside of the saxophone to increase "resonance". ;)

Players and/or teachers who influenced her the most.

If she plays or teaches styles other than classical.

Her thoughts on mouthpiece input pitch, embouchure, breath support, breathing, etc.
 

thomsax

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Some tips I use or try to avoid:
  • Listen carefully, You probably already know the answers. Be prepared to follow up questions.
  • Ask for breaks so you can write down the answers.
  • Write what they mean - not what they say.
  • Don't ask questions that can be answered with "Yes" or "No".
  • One question at the time.
  • Ask "What .... ?", "How.... ? " and "Why...?"
  • Ask questions that the reader can't read themselves.
 
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ProSaxTips

ProSaxTips

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Some tips I use or try to avoid:
  • Listen carefully, You probably already know the answers. Be prepared to follow up questions.
  • Ask for breaks so you can write down the answers.
  • Write what they mean - not what they say.
  • Don't ask questions that can be answered with "Yes" or "No".
  • One question at the time.
  • Ask "What .... ?", "How.... ? " and "Why...?"
  • Ask questions that the reader can't read themselves.
Wonderful! Thank you so much. I've never really interviewed anyone, so this will be a great journey.
 

Wade Cornell

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Since she's a "Classical" player I'd be asking questions that are more pertinent to that. A big topic would be the lack of repertoire for sax even in modern orchestral pieces.

A series of questions can then proceed from that such as which concertos or orchestral pieces she has performed and likes; the most challenging; technical aspects such as vibrato, slurs, and aspects of playing only found in Classical playing or never found in Classical playing.

A follow up would be to ask if she has considered commissioning a piece for her to play and what composer she would choose (if she had the funding).

What future does she see for professional Classical players (considering that she must be a very fine player, but probably couldn't survive as a professional unless she taught).

The more pointed your questions towards who and what she is as a player, the better your interview will be. I wouldn't ask many questions about gear...that's like asking a great architect whose pencils they use.

Interviews are about bringing forth the person, not just facts that are incidental. A good interviewer is a good listener who takes in what that person says then delves deeper. If you are just asking a list of questions and don't listen or follow up then I wouldn't do it. Check out the great interviewers and see how their technique works. Again, it's about bringing forth the person you are interviewing.
 
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ProSaxTips

ProSaxTips

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Since she's a "Classical" player I'd be asking questions that are more pertinent to that. A big topic would be the lack of repertoire for sax even in modern orchestral pieces.

A series of questions can then proceed from that such as which concertos or orchestral pieces she has performed and likes; the most challenging; technical aspects such as vibrato, slurs, and aspects of playing only found in Classical playing or never found in Classical playing.

A follow up would be to ask if she has considered commissioning a piece for her to play and what composer she would choose (if she had the funding).

What future does she see for professional Classical players (considering that she must be a very fine player, but probably couldn't survive as a professional unless she taught).

The more pointed your questions towards who and what she is as a player, the better your interview will be. I wouldn't ask many questions about gear...that's like asking a great architect whose pencils they use.

Interviews are about bringing forth the person, not just facts that are incidental. A good interviewer is a good listener who takes in what that person says then delves deeper. If you are just asking a list of questions and don't listen or follow up then I wouldn't do it. Check out the great interviewers and see how their technique works. Again, it's about bringing forth the person you are interviewing.
Excellent thought process here. Thank you so much. Much appreciated!
 

thomsax

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3,561
I'm a former NASA member. A 100 % rocksax player on hobby level !!! I joined the alliance beacause a person I had contact with was also a member. We had both interested in old saxes. So "The Saxophone Symposium" became a common thing. I often hear good rock sax players that are classical sax players as well. A stronger connection between rock and classic than there is between jazz and classic?
nasa.JPG
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,799
Since she's a "Classical" player I'd be asking questions that are more pertinent to that. A big topic would be the lack of repertoire for sax even in modern orchestral pieces.

A series of questions can then proceed from that such as which concertos or orchestral pieces she has performed and likes; the most challenging; technical aspects such as vibrato, slurs, and aspects of playing only found in Classical playing or never found in Classical playing.

A follow up would be to ask if she has considered commissioning a piece for her to play and what composer she would choose (if she had the funding).

What future does she see for professional Classical players (considering that she must be a very fine player, but probably couldn't survive as a professional unless she taught).

The more pointed your questions towards who and what she is as a player, the better your interview will be. I wouldn't ask many questions about gear...that's like asking a great architect whose pencils they use.

Interviews are about bringing forth the person, not just facts that are incidental. A good interviewer is a good listener who takes in what that person says then delves deeper. If you are just asking a list of questions and don't listen or follow up then I wouldn't do it. Check out the great interviewers and see how their technique works. Again, it's about bringing forth the person you are interviewing.
Yes, this is what I'd be interested in too. I'd also be interested in whether she thought that classical sax playing was evolving, or being influenced by the players of jazz for example. Some of the instruments of the orchestra (e.g. oboe, bassoon, french horn) are not represented in jazz and pop music - I know there are a few, but they are not at all mainstream so let's ignore them as far as having any possible lateral impact to orchestral playing - does this mean that the sax (and others with a jazz and pop history) has to be mindful of not going too far from the traditions of orchestral sound?
 

Alice

Psychedelic
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5,351
Zach, this is brilliant and I am really lookIng forward to watching your video once you’ve interviewed her.
Ivan’s suggestion may break the ice at the beginning perhaps with some lightweight banter but Thom, Wade and Pete have made some excellent suggestions for a very interesting interview.

I laughed so hard at that Python clip.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,799
@ProSaxTips - I am interested in one gear aspect - new or old. As a non-classical player, I like how my old "imperfect" horns shout on some notes, crack on others, purr or some - it's personality and helps with colour and nuance. Things that I would expect a classical player to run away from. Uniformity and homogeny is the game. I've seen players like John Harle, using a Mk6 (I think?!), and he obviously plays around the inherent difficulties. My question is, if using an old horn - why not the easier and more sorted newer horn?

When I played classical clarinet years ago, having such an instrument would have been a pain.
 
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