For many years classical artists have tended to dismiss their doubling counterparts as inferior seeing them as saxophonists with a secondary instrument. This is changing however as college jazz departments now expect woodwind students to approach all their instruments as primary as far as performance standards are concerned. One of the principal movers in this effort has been woodwind specialist Chris Vadala his book Improve Your Doubling has been an essential source for students looking to improve these skills.
Focusing equally on flute clarinet and saxophone Vadala presents a series of etudes that require the student to switch between the three instruments while addressing fundamental performance issues--intonation articulation dynamics--technical challenges such as fingering choices register contrasts vibrato formation etc. and stylistic contrasts encountered in the various repertoires associated with each instrument. Acoustic differences between the instruments are explored along with exercises to create uniformity of technique among them. "Extended" techniques are examined along with studies in extreme ranges. One feature that I especially like is that Vadala requires the student to deal with the kinds of demands that working musicians encounter on a daily basis outside the confines of symphony orchestra or chamber ensemble such as requiring the student to transpose at sight or harmonize a given line. Vadala is nothing if not thorough. He has put years of practical experience into these exercises and it shows.
In the introduction Vadala writes "To be a woodwind artist in this day and age is to be a doubler . . .versatility is more of a necessity than an option." That being the case Improve Your Doubling should be an indispensable part of every woodwind player's training.