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Woodwinds Continue Winning Over Would-be Students

Mike Lawson • Performance • October 13, 2010

Gaining a national perspective on trends in the woodwind world can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are several prominent organizations dedicated to promoting the awareness and popularity of particular woodwind instruments, among them the North American Saxophone Alliance, International Double Reed Society, and National Flute Association. SBO recently reached out to leaders of these three national and international groups, who were happy to share their thoughts on the goings on in the reeded world from their uniquely informed vantage point.

School Band & Orchestra: What’s your impression of the popularity of woodwind instruments these days? Has it been affected by the increased access to music via iPods, the Internet, social networking sites, and so on?

John Nichol: The saxophone continues to be very popular. I believe that music performance has been impacted in a very positive way by the quick and easy availability of digital downloads. Sigurd Rascher told us, “Music is not something you need, but it is something you want,” and that is very true. When meeting with parents, I often list equipment that I think their children will need, and one of the things I list is an MP3 player or iPod and a budget of $7.00 per month to pay for downloads. People are listening, but their taste is often eclectic. We music teachers need to appreciate the various music our students listen to, but also guide them toward the music we want them to listen to.

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