Did you know that many of the best saxophonists are also accomplished flautists? Many of them play the flute because they love it, but that's not the only reason to 'double' these two instruments. Playing the flute can offer numerous benefits to sax players, and it's even a requirement in many band, orchestra and studio circles. Here are two main reasons to become a woodwind doubler by adding professional flutes to your musical skillset.
Improves Your Saxophone Skills
One of the biggest benefits of doubling is that it improves your skill level in your primary instrument. The flute is a great choice for saxophone players because, while it's similar to the sax, it also has key differences that allow you to develop and improve techniques that you can apply to your saxophone.
On the similarity side, the flute has very similar fingerings and register to the saxophone. This allows you to play (and practice) the vast majority of your favourite sax pieces on the flute with ease. However, one key difference is that the flute doesn't have a reed. As a result, it requires greater breath control than the sax, teaching you the mechanics of how to manage and improve your breathing. The flute also doesn't have a register key, so it forces you to learn how to voice your notes more precisely.
Gives You More Opportunities to Play
Playing the flute alongside the saxophone will also give you many more opportunities to play, whether in the studio, in an orchestra or in a big band. One big reason for this is that, unlike the relatively new saxophone, the flute is centuries old and has far more music written for it. It's a key instrument in orchestral arrangements, so there are more positions up for grabs. The flute is also pitched in concert key, allowing you to play at any time without mastering the art of transposing in your head or preparing a transposition as you would have to with the sax.
On top of that, the flute both smaller and quieter than the saxophone. This means you can carry it around with you easily and play in places the saxophone would normally be too loud for, such as hotel rooms. Finally, the flute is also lightweight, so it is a great instrument to play if your body is starting to feel the physical strain of playing the sax too much.
Hi, my name is Andi, and I am the leader of a family band. As a kid, I always played music with my siblings, and as I got older, I really wanted my kids to have that same experience. Although it's beautiful and blissful on some levels, it is challenging on others. You have to peacefully deal with skill differences between children and mitigate issues like who gets to play the new guitar compared to who gets to play the old cow bell. I want to share my experiences with others so I set up this blog. It talks about family bands as well as other topics. I hope you enjoy reading it.